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Elie Barbar

Professor Ludwig

English 101H

9 October 2017

Forest, Forest, Where Art Thou?

In a word, when the forests fail, the daily life of the average citizen will inevitably feel the pinch

on every side -Gifford Pinchot

Often times, human beings do not consciously evaluate the consequences of their

everyday actions. They often consume unnecessary products for their own pleasure, or even

instant gratification; but they do not grasp the fact that these products are ruining our home:

Earth. One of these main issues is deforestation. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

deforestation is the action or process of clearing of forests; also :the state of having been cleared

of forests. Unfortunately, in our current world, economy is always placed above ecology. It

satisfies needs temporarily, but when the permanent damage is done, our world will turn into

chaos. Although many people overlook deforestation as a consequential environmental issue,

many researchers have proven that human beings are exhausting the use of wood, causing

greenhouse gas emissions to go up, and wiping out hundreds of endangered species.

Many people in the past, such as Theodore Roosevelt, understood the importance of

preserving natural resources for our future generations. Despite their various warnings, people

took them for granted. Some historical figures have even predicted the increasing consumption

of a natural resource: timber. In the text Prosperity, which was written in 1910, Gifford

Pinchot states that, the present annual consumption is approximately 100 billion feet, while the

annual growth is but a third of the consumption, from 30 to 40 billion feet (Pinchot 177).
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Pinchot asserts that the rate of consumption is much higher than the rate of production, and that

soon enough, we will be looking for other resources of timber. After appealing to logos, Pinchot

appeals to pathos by stating that, it is certain that the rate of consumption will increase

enormously in the future (177). With the increased population, it is inevitable that human beings

will increase their selfish consumption. To be quite frank, Pinchot could not have been further

away from the truth.

Unfortunately, human beings do not take action until the damage is done. Years later, the

World Wildlife Fund Organization has stated that, approximately 24.7 million acres of fast-

wood plantation-or commercially planted forests-exist worldwide. Each year around 2.5 million

acres of land is converted to fast-wood forests (Timber). It is obvious that this issue has gone

from being a United States issue, to a worldwide conflict that even world leading nations are

ignoring. Clearly, converting 2.5 million acres of land to fast-wood forests out of 24.7 equals to

10% the first year, but as the number of acres available decreases and the number of acres

converted increases, the percentage will rise greatly, causing more damage. Pinchot appeals to

pathos when he claims that once the forests fail, not only will the lumbering business disappear,

but building industries, railroads, water powers, house prices, transportation, and many more

everyday luxuries, that have become necessities, will suffer greatly (178). Failure of forests

would cause a chaotic world. Sadly, people still to this day are not taking any actions to prevent

further destruction in the world; in reality, recent studies have written the same exact thing,

which only proves that the issue has not been touched. The World Wildlife Fund Organization

states that, the worlds natural forests cannot sustainably meet the soaring demand for timber

products under current forest management practices (Timber). If the leading nations dont
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emphasize the cruciality of managing wood consumption, human beings will irresponsibly

continue believing that there could be an endless source of resources.

Even though the issue of sustaining forests is predominantly an economical and societal

issue, another angle from which the issue can be investigated is the environmental side. Not only

would the lack of wood disturb the daily life of an average human, but deforestation does

contribute to greenhouse effects and CO2 emissions. In the article Can Carbon Trading Save

Vanishing Forests? the author, William F. Laurance, states that, Destroying these forests

dumps vast quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (Laurance 287). The release of

greenhouse gases causes many environmental issues that affects various species, especially polar

bears. The population of polar bears is already decreasing, and a huge factor is global warming,

which is causing the north and south poles to melt. In addition, in the article The effects of

corruption control, political stability and economic growth on deforestation-induced carbon

dioxide emissions, Gregmar Galinato claims that, In developing countries, the dominant

contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is land conversion...forests in developing

countries...retain large volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2), ranging from 100 to 250 metric tons

per hectare (Galinato 67). It is true that greenhouse gases help absorb heat, but if vast amounts

of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, it would cause the heat to rise

uncontrollably. In reality, this issue could be prevented easily; stop cutting down trees

unnecessarily. Laurance states that, tropical forests, which copiously transpire water vapor into

the atmosphere as they photosynthesize, are major driver of cloud formations. Clouds cool the

planet by reflecting solar energy back into space (287). Maintaining a law that balances an

acceptable amount of trees to cut down while still having enough trees to form clouds would be

the most productive way to reduce the emission. Galinato partially agrees when he states that,
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political stability is likely to reduce land clearing and increase rural road building if rural

development projects and environmental protection policies continue across successive

administration (Galinato 68). Although I agree with Galintos point that environmental

protection policies would be a huge helping hand to fight the issue, I cannot accept his overall

conclusion that it is a political issue. In my opinion, it is totally an economical issue. It is true the

government is needed to create the law, but the law can only be created once the economy finds

a way to sustain forest consumption without disturbing the species, the environment, and our

everyday life. Most of the CO2 emission in the atmosphere is unnecessary, and it can be dealt

with easily if nations cooperate together to solve the issue.

Not only does deforestation cause economical and environmental problems, but it also

causes a major ecological issue. Millions of species are endangered, and many are going extinct,

largely due to one issue: deforestation. Many species are vital to maintain a healthy life cycle.

William F. Laurance agrees when he writes, rainforests sustain an astonishing diversity of

species and they are vital for keeping our planet livable (286). Although not many people

realize this, but as more and more species go extinct, the food pyramid is damaged. In the section

Loss of Wildlands in the article Encyclopedia: Environment, the author states that scientists

estimate that more than 100 species become extinct each day as the rain forests are cleared

(Encyclopedia). The loss of 100 species per day would amount to 36,500 species per year,

which is astonishing. Nonetheless, those species that survive have it even worse. As the World

Wild Life Organization states, wildlife can lose their shelter, food sources and migration routes,

and become more vulnerable to human-wildlife conflicts (2). Before we call species nuisances,

we should remember that we destroyed their home to build our own superficial luxuries.
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Protecting biodiversity should be a priority for every leading countries, and we should stop

considering humans as a superior specie, because it allows them to destroy our planet guiltlessly.

Fortunately, there have been options proposed before to help reduce the effects of

deforestation. One of these options is REDD, also known as Reducing Emissions from

Deforestation and Degradation. Laurance explains in the concept in his article saying, the idea,

known as REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation), is simple in

concept...participating nations agree to reduce their carbon emission below a certain level.

Nations that struggle to meet their emission target can buy carbon credits from other countries

(286). Although many nations, especially European nations, opposed the idea of REDD fearing

that it is ineffective, in my opinion, it is the best way to resolve the issue. To begin, Laurance

states that the, brazilian foreign ministry feared that long-term commitments to protect forests

could potentially limit its future development options (286). In reality, even without

implementing REDD, the United States is already one of the biggest contributors to global

warming and emission of greenhouse gases. Instead, what leading nations do is, divide the

countries into two sections: factory nations and preserved nations. The factory nations should

include the nations that already are leading nations in producing items made from wood, while

the preserved nations should be the nations that hold the national tropical forests with the most

species, especially endangered species. Preserved nations should be allowed to consume wood,

but a lot less than factory nations. It may seem that preserved nations will not be able to ever

develop, but factory nations should have the duty of helping preserved nations make progress.

REDD is our best chance of saving the environment and our endangered species.

Despite all the beliefs, it is undeniable that deforestation is a serious environmental issue

that has to be addressed more. Whether one looks at the issue from an economical,
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environmental, or an ecological way, deforestation is always the root cause. Not only do we

unnecessarily over-consume wood, we are destroying our atmosphere by releasing greenhouse

gases that could be trapped in the forests, and we are endangering more and more species every

single day. Even though an average human cannot do anything physically to stop the issue, we

vote with our dollar. Next time a person is buying an item, I hope he or she consciously think of

the consequences and votes for the right cause.

Work Cited

Encyclopedia: Environment. Issues & Controversies, Infobase Learning,

2017, http://icof.infobaselearning.com/icofencyarticle.aspx?ID=7559

Galinato, Gregmar. The Effects of Corruption Control, political, and economic growth on

Deforestation-induced carbon dioxide emission. Galinato, Suzette P, Environment and


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Development Economics, Feb 2012, 67-90.

Laurance, William F. Can Carbon Trading Save Vanishing Forests? Bioscience. April 2008.

286-287.

Timber. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/timber, WWF, 2017.

Pinchot, Gifford. Prosperity. American Earth, McKibben, Bill, The Library of America, 2008,

173-180.