Waste Not – Want Not

The continuing destruction of the world’s rainforests is a subject that we continually hear or read about but the problem can sometimes seem to be happening so far away from our own doorsteps that we do not realise the sheer scale of the problem or the implications of the situation on everybody’s lives. How can we make any difference?

The largest of the world’s rainforests can be found in the Amazon Basin in South America, the African countries that are situated on the equator and some of the South Pacific countries. Scientific research into fossils discovered in some rainforests has revealed that they have been in existence for between 70 and 100 million years. This length of time is a concept we find difficult to grasp. In comparison, humans have been estimated to have inhabited the earth for only six or seven million years.

The temperature of a tropical rainforest remains fairly constant at round 80 degrees Fahrenheit with an average monthly rainfall of between one and three feet. If Britain were to receive this amount of rain in one month, the country would suffer extensive damage and loss of life.

Our rainforests are being destroyed at an alarming rate, it is estimated that only half of the world’s original four billion acres of rainforest remain. The rate of destruction is equal to the area of two football fields disappearing every second.


Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tauntingpanda/14782257/

The facts and figures we learn every day about the destruction of our rainforests makes for shocking reading but if we are to address the situation, we need to know how. There are many ways we – as individuals – can help and here are just a few examples:

  • Re-use paper products wherever possible: envelopes, boxes, scrap paper etc.
  • Recycle waste paper in the office or home
  • Use pottery mugs or drinking glasses instead of paper, plastic or Styrofoam cups
  • Buy energy efficient appliances and wash your laundry at a lower temperature
  • Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth
  • Buy (or make) wood furniture which is made from reclaimed wood
  • Recycle wherever possible – newspapers, glass, jars, cans, foil, batteries, scrap metal, garden compost
  • Walk or cycle wherever possible instead of taking the car
  • Don’t waste food – get creative with using leftovers

If we all take responsibility for our own household and workplace, we can all make a difference. Remember, the more we consume, the more the world’s manufacturers will produce, so maybe that old saying ‘waste not – want not’ is a rule we should all try to abide by.

Julie Donnelly is passionate about spreading the word on the destruction of our rainforests. Julie is an advocate of wood furniture made from reclaimed timber.

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