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  • Rain Forests


    Length: 1159 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

    The Destruction of the Rain Forests (and the Earth)

    Rain forests are disappearing at a drastic rate. Industry is usually at the root of this destruction of one of natures resources. Land is needed for highways, agriculture, livestock, or to expand a city. Other times the trees themselves are needed by lumber companies of countries that themselves lack to forests necessary to meet their countries demands such as Japan. Environmentalists are deplored by this destruction refuting that bio-diversity is being lost, an ancient way of life is being lost as “people of the forest” are being forced out of their homes, new diseases are being stirred up and that the earth is a living organism and man is behaving like a virus.

    Some third world countries clear cut the land with a slash and burn technique to build roads or highways such as the massive Brazilian superhighway. This highway stretches to one end of Brazil to the other. However as with many of these roads it leads into the jungle and just ends. Billions and billions of trees and animals are killed for these roads to nowhere for the sake of progress.

    Simple farmers have always cleared the land for their crops. This damage is only minute compared to that of what happens when large plantations are planted. Such companies as Coca-Cola clear hundreds of acres to grow orange crops. These oranges are then sent back to the United States to be used in Minute Maid orange juice. Coca-Cola isn’t alone, Tropicana, Ocean Spray, and most concentrates contain rain forest oranges. The problem with using this soil for agriculture is that all the nutrients are depleted within one to two years and is dead from that time on. The land is dead for centuries to come.

    Other times the land is needed for large herds if cattle. Without trees to protect the land from erosion from the cows, this land is trampled continuously with the cattle consuming all of the grasses as well. Once it rains the soil is further eroded away leaving the land barren and dead with more trees needed to be cut down so that the process could start all over again. The sad thing is that this is cone to cut livestock prices. Such restaurants as Burger king use rain forest beef since it is so cheap. Burger King is the better known of all rain forest beef users but not the only one. Most fast food chains are suspected of using rain forest beef along with some supermarkets. However since companies are not required to state where their product originates it makes it very difficult if not impossible to trace who is using what.

    Other times theses lesser developing countries need land to support their own growing populations. These countries are unable to build sky scrappers so they spread their cities into the jungle. These homes are merely shacks not really like a home though.

    All of these matters are from the direct concerns of money. Developing countries hope that these highways will bring in foreign businesses as well as help there own commercial businesses expand and become more efficient. These projects also help in tourism promotion. In regards to agriculture and livestock, developing countries cost less to use that modernized countries such as the United States. These countries cannot afford to build expensive housing so they build tiny shacks for their people but expand into the forest.

    Environmentalists on the other side of the fence argue that animal diversity is being lost. Currently about one species a day is lost from the forest. This could have a drastic affect on the food web. If a certain species of animal becomes extinct then another species dependent on that animal for food will also become extinct and so on. These forest contain the most bio-diversity over any other type of biome in the world.

    An ancient way of life will also be lost as these forest go. These forest are inhabited by the last of the hunting and gathering tribes left in the world. One example of this is the Penan. These people live on the island of Borneo in the Province of Sarawak under the Malaysian government. These people live in tiny huts that extend a few feet off of the ground and live on grubs and local plants with an occasional monkey for dinner. These people are forced from this peaceful way of life to live in dirty government shacks filled with diseases never before encountered by these people. Other times hunting and gathering tribes resist moving and face direct confrontation with logging companies. Here common practice is to call in the military. Luckily these people know the forest so well that they can hide and not be found easily. One such case is that of Joseph Maler. This Swedish environmentalist has been living with the Penan for eight years while being persued by the Malaysian government and well as the Mitsu Corporation, Mitsubishi. However it appears that hunting and gathering people will lose their way of life much as did the American Indian.

    These rain forest are home to many diseases as well as animals. These diseases range from malaria to ebola. Many new and deadly strains of malaria are being released as logging leaves pools of water to breed mosquitoes that spread the disease. Yellow fever is also mutating from these practices. Other diseases such as ebola are released as man digs deeper into the heart of the jungle. These diseases are a way for nature to defend itself which leads me to the last point to be made about rain forest destruction.

    The Gaiia hypothesis states that the earth is a living organism and humans inhabit that organism. Such as cancer invades the human body slowly killing a person. Or as a deadly virus raises your body temperature as that person feels as if his or her innards are being ripped out. This is what is happening to the earth as man destroys these rain forest. These are the lungs of the earth and may have a drastic affect if lost. Global warming, ozone depletion, new and more deadly diseases, and loss of rainfall all may be a direct cause of rain forest destruction.

    In conclusion, Rain forests are a valuable resource and should not be squandered away by man. These forests should be preserved as a critical balance in nature. But the modern age is that of money. It doesn’t matter what is done as long and money is either saved or earned. However, the human race does not take into consideration of what happens if these forest are destroyed. It affects the earth and may lead from a green planet to a dead planet in the end. After all, once gone these forest can never grow back.

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