OPINION: ‘Speak for the trees’: Humanity should be more concerned by the alarming rate of deforestation

Roughly 2.5 million trees are cut down in a single day, according to National Geographic, and climate change is getting worse because of it. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, ocean levels are rising, ecosystems are getting warmer and natural disasters are getting worse. Despite the threat of imminent danger, humans continue patterns of rampant deforestation, destroying the habitats of millions of organisms. Atrocities toward nature persist, and many people continue to show gross ineptitude and apathy towards this crisis. In order to combat climate change, humans must first fight deforestation in order to slow down the path of destruction climate change is taking.

Humanity continues to destroy all forests it puts its hands upon. More concerningly, most humans fail to acknowledge what they lose with tree loss. This is especially the case in the Amazon Rainforest. In 2020, the Amazon Rainforest’s wildfires were unparalleled. 

Reuters reported that climate change was the culprit of the fires; however, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, referred to the wildfires as a “lie,” despite overwhelming evidence of the surging fires. Reuters reported that last year’s fires were at a nine-year high. Even though there was evidence that discredited Bolsonaro’s claims, he and others doubled down, denying all evidence entirely. This attitude is in part responsible for the increasing threat of tree loss, as many humans – especially political figures – do not care about this crisis. 

Trees produce oxygen using carbon dioxide, so deforestation directly leads to rising carbon dioxide levels, which fuels climate change. According to Reuters, the world lost nearly 49 million hectares of forestry between 2000 and 2013, and carbon dioxide will amount to more than “six times previous estimates when additional emissions caused by changes to the forest up to 2050 are included.”

This is a worrying statistic as every carbon emission into our environment, humanity is increasing the likelihood of global calamity. To combat climate change, humans must not only decrease carbon levels and to fight carbon emissions, humans must fight deforestation. 

In the previous and current years, apathy towards climate change has continued to grow in the face of danger, citing that the fight against climate change is “pointless” and “not worth it.” Corporations and powerful individuals continue to destroy all forestry they touch and get away with it due to ineptitude. Even countries are refusing the call to action despite programs such as the REDD+ program, which stands for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program, compensating countries for preserving forests. 

In an independent study, agricultural reporter Georgina Gustin found that only “one-third of the countries that have signed on to the Paris Agreement have included REDD+ in their national emissions reduction plans.” The rest of the countries refuse all attempts to preserve forestry. 

It is incredibly disturbing that even modern governments are refusing to preserve forestry and is a clear violation of nature. Humans must hold others accountable, as well as governments, in order to protect forestry.

To combat tree loss, humans must denounce all those who actively deforest, regardless of political affiliation. Many have been quick to rise to the call of action in the face of deforestation through organizations such as Greenpeace, the Canadian Forestry Association and the Green Belt Movement. If more and more humans seek to fight climate change, carbon dioxide levels will drop. More importantly, countries must take extra initiatives to protect forestry and the environment. No longer should humans elect officials who will seek to destroy forests in the means of personal interest. These actions against deforestation will slow climate change, leading to a more glorious future for all.