How You Can Help
Simple Tips to Help Create a Beautiful World
- Take shorter showers and don’t let the water run while you shampoo or condition your hair.
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.
- Use re-usable cloth bags for shopping. If you own a vehicle keep a supply of bags in your car.
- Use rechargeable rather than disposable batteries.
- Turn off all lights and electronic equipment when not in use.
- Use rags or hand towels instead of paper towels or napkins.
- Avoid disposable plates, cups and utensils.
- Do not buy pre-packaged fruit and vegetables, instead purchase loose fruit and vegetables.
- Spend less time in front of the television and aim to read more.
- Recycle paper products (newspaper, office paper, cardboard, etc.) as well as aluminium, glass, tin, steel, plastic, batteries and more.
- Use non-toxic, environment-friendly products for cleaning.
- Use re-usable containers to store food in your refrigerator, rather than wrapping food in toxic and environment-unfriendly products such as aluminium (tin) foil or plastic wrap. Try to avoid using Zip-Loc (c) bags, but if you cannot do so, wash and re-use them.
- Mend and repair, rather than discard and replace.
- Pick up litter when you walk, and support litter pick-up days in your neighbourhood.
- Dispose of food scraps, yard trimmings and weeds by starting a compost bin or pit in your backyard. Use the decomposed contents (compost) as mulch for plants, vegetables, etc.
- If your family celebrates Christmas, buy a living Christmas tree, and plant it somewhere after the Christmas season.
- Plant trees in your garden and community.
- Avoid using a tumble dryer and instead hang your clothes out to dry whenever possible.
- Before you throw plastic bottle holders/packaging into the garbage, make sure you cut each circle with scissors to prevent animals from becoming trapped in these "loops".
- Put plastic bottles filled with water and rocks (for weight) in your toilet tank to conserve water each time you flush. If you have a toilet that has a half-flush facility, then use this whenever possible.
- Try to find alternative means of transportation as often as possible to conserve gas, and decrease air pollution, or car-pool wherever possible. Ride the bus, the subway, the train, a bicycle or simply walk at least once a week.
- Avoid supporting fast-food restaurants.
- Buy a water bottle, preferably glass, and carry it around with you at all times. If it is a plastic bottle, do not re-use more than twice, as the plastic is toxic and more toxins leech into the water the more often it is washed and re-used.
- Strive to buy only recycled (and preferably organic) products.
- Organize a beach, lake, river, or creek clean up.
Courtesy of Global Response 
Measures by Governmental Agencies and Groups
A number of measures aimed at solving the problem of tropical deforestation have been introduced by governments and international development and aid organisations. These initiatives are often based on the assumption that poverty or overpopulation are the primary causes of deforestation.
Tropical Forest Action Plan: One of the main organisations that has been working to address deforestation is Tropical Forest Action Plan (TFAP). TFAP was formed in 1985 and operates with the assumption that giving forests an economic value will provide motivation to governments and industry to protect them. The TFAP therefore gives money to projects that are aimed at stopping deforestation. The main activity of the TFAP is to promote awareness on the large scale destruction of forests and the global impact. Despite this, the efforts of TFAP have not been successful to date.
Sustained Yield Forestry: There is a lot of disagreement about what this actually is. It most likely refers to control over what percentage of trees are cut down. If fewer than a certain percentage of mature trees are felled, then in theory the forests will to be able to regenerate. This activity is controlled by government officials, by setting the volume of trees that may be cut in order to maintain the stability of the forests. This is claimed by many to be a pointless operation, because logging is so destructive that there is little chance of a forest regenerating even if only a few trees are cut. Government corruption also means that these percentages are not adhered to.
The International Biodiversity Program: The IBDP intends to create large reserves and also plant small forest trees in open land. Where most of the forest trees are still alive, birds and animals are introduced to the reserves. This may actually help deforestation and global warming on a very small scale, however, at the rate of present day deforestation, creating small reserves is not going to make much difference. In other words, every day much more forest area is destroyed than reserve area is being planted.
Timber Labelling: The (FSC) Forest Stewardship Council has created a timber labelling procedure. Timber labelling is where all the timber bought and sold is certified. Certification of timber traded internationally has been seen as a tool for the protection of primary forests. Consumers are able to buy timber which has been certified by the FSC instead of that which has no certification. If there is enough support for the FSC-certified timber, i.e. people only buy certified timber, then demand for timber that has been logged in an environmentally unsound way will decrease and the rate of deforestation will decrease. While the FSC has been very successful in getting agreement among groups and organisations, it may be too early to tell whether it can have a significant effect on global deforestation.
Indigenous people and their Rights: The governments of countries with tropical forests have started to think differently, recognising that the rights of indigenous people are neccessary for the protection of forests. These people are the occupants of the land, having lived there for centuries. The idea behind this scheme is that these indigenous people know how to manage their land well. It is important to know that the most promising projects to preserve rainforests have been carried out in cooperation with indigenous people who are the rightful owners of the forests. In 1990, the Colombian Government gave back half of its Amazonian territory to its rightful indigenous owners, acknowledging that they were the best guardians of the forest. In Papua New Guinea and Ecuador, the Rainforest Information Centre and other organisations have been involved in projects which support the realistic development aims of traditional land owners on small scale projects which are under the control of the landowners themselves.
Initiatives by Developed Countries
Carbon Footprint: Carbon emissions and carbon footprints are becoming a "hot topic" in developed countries. There is a lot of information and emphasis on understanding and reducing your carbon footprint. The carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere in order to supply the energy for your house, car and appliances in daily or monthly living. Large carbon footprints are seen as "bad", and in some countries taxes may be imposed if your carbon footprint exceeds a certain set limit for the size of your family and property.
Taxes to Discourage Carbon Emissions: Additional taxes are being imposed on businesses which release carbon into the air. These vary from country to country and in New Zealand there is even a tax that farmers must pay per ruminant (cud-chewing) animals that they own because these animals release methane gas (a carbon-based gas) into the atmosphere.
Subsidies for Efficient Heating and Cooling: Subsidies are offered by governments for those home owners who install cheaper water heating, for example solar panels or heatpump cylinders. Governments and local government bodies also offer subsidies for installation of more efficient heating and cooling systems, such as reverse-cycle air conditioners and high efficiency boilers and gas/wood fires.
International Agreements: There are a number of countries who have signed up to the Kyoto Protocol which is a global agreement aimed at reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (carbon-based gases). Each country that signs this agreement, agrees to cut their carbon emissions by the amounts specified in the agreement, although in some cases countries are allowed to increase their emissions (such as Australia).
Design of Efficient Cars: To combat the rising fuel prices, car companies have designed new cars called hybrid cars. These cars still run on petrol or diesel but use much less fuel. Some cars are completely electric. Just plug them in to charge, and then drive - just the same as charging a laptop and using it outside your home. When the car's electric battery is recharged, they run like a normal car without petrol.
Getting more Physical Exercise: Students are encouraged to walk to school if the school is within a reasonable distance. Parents are encouraged to take a walk to the dairy or shop nearby instead of using a car. Not only is this good for our planet, it also saves money.
Transit Lanes and Car-pooling: Car-pooling schemes are encouraged in most developed countries, and in many areas there are special lanes on the road that may only be used by cars with more than one passenger. Using these lanes (if you have more than one passenger) generally results in faster travel, because most cars on the road only have one occupant and are therefore not allowed to travel in these lanes.
Man-made Forests: The costs of establishing and maintaining man-made forests are high. These forests may be created for the purposes of conservation of soil, water and wildlife and/or the creation of recreational facilities. The biggest limitation to afforestation (the opposite of deforestation, i.e. planting of trees), is money. It requires large sums of money and many other resources (including people) to replant trees in an area. The main reason for afforestation is to increase the amount of plant life growing on the earth in order to provide a healthier supply of air for breathing (cleaner air with more oxygen).
Canada is considered to have developed one of the largest man-made forests. After the trees mature, they are cut and the new trees are planted to replace the cut trees. New Zealand is considered to have the second largest man made forest.
So where can we go from here? There is no one easy solution as deforestation is caused by many different things. One option is decreasing the need for the amount of products that are harvested from the rainforests. If all countries, especially developed ones, enforced recycling programs, there would be less need for wood-based products. This, in turn, would significantly reduce the demand for timber - if the demand is cut then there is no need for the supply.
Other solutions involve money. One that could help to alleviate deforestation is providing aid to foreign countries so that they will give homes to those who are at high risk of becoming "shifted cultivators" i.e. migrant farmers who destroy forests to grow crops. The trick is convincing tax payers to reach into their pockets in order to fund this.
Another option would be to appeal to the public to settle for higher prices on the cash crops that are imported, instead of insisting on the lowest prices. If the public is willing to pay more, corporations such as those in the fast food industry would stop petitioning other countries to farm the rainforests for the manufacture of the materials they need to make their products.
The immediate effects of deforestation may not yet be felt, but if this generation doesn't feel them, then almost surely the next generation and their children will be the ones to suffer. It is through the action of the human race now that we will either have a better future or none at all. In the end, everyone loses unless the problems can be solved. This is easier said than done because overcoming greed is the key challenge, but the choices that lie ahead carry with them severe consequences that will forever change the way that all things live - if they are able to live at all.
|Knowledge||What are the benefits of turning off your lights when they are not in use?|
|Comprehension||Compare the different ways you can help prevent deforestation. Determine which would be the easiest for you to implement in your own home.|
|Application||List five ways in which to prevent deforestation.|
|Synthesis||What habits can you change to show that you are aware of deforestation issues?|
|Evaluation||Do you think you can make a difference to global deforestation? Justify your answer, using the previous readings to support your arguments.|
|In this column outline the ways in which the strategy was effective.||In this column outline the ways in which the strategy was ineffective or less effective than you initially thought it would be.||In this column add any ideas about what could be better/changed in the way the idea was implemented or suggest new ideas.|
A Good Report Plan
This is an example plan to give you an idea of what you may include in your report outline.
- TITLE AND ILLUSTRATION: What is the topic? Is there a photo?
- CLASSIFY IT: What is it?
Orangutans are different to their other primate cousins. What you may not know about orangutans is that there are two different types of these mammals. Both are of the genus Pongo. One is the Pongo pygmaeus and the other is Pongo abeli.
- DESCRIBE IT: What does it look like? (size, shape, features)
Orangutans are reddish brown in colour and have long arms. They stand at over a metre tall. These primates have opposable thumbs like humans but unlike humans have opposable big toes too.
- WHERE IS IT: Where is it?/When is it?
Orangutans live in rainforests of two different countries. The two geni of orangutans come from different islands. The Bornean Orangutans, from the island of Borneo, has greater numbers than the Sumatran orangutans, from the island of Sumatra. Within the genus of Pongo Pygmaeus (Bornean orangutans) there are three sub species.
- WHAT ELSE DO YOU KNOW: What does it do?
The orangutan is aboreal which means it swings through trees to get around.
Its diet consists of fruit, shoots, leaves, seeds, honey and insects. All of these foods can be found in the rainforests where they live.
Orangutans are very intelligent and have done language programmes.
- SUMMARISING COMMENT: Summarise what you have said - make a point
The rainforests are habitats for endangered species and should be preserved so animal are not made extinct.
- REFERENCES: List all your references
|Dinosaurs to the Rescue: A Guide to Protecting Our Planet||Laurie Krasny Brown & Marc Brown||Little, Brown & Company||The creators of Arthur suggest many ways that young children can protect the Earth.|
|Fernando's Gift||Douglas Keister||Sierra Club||You can read this book in English and Spanish. Find out what Fernando and Carmina, children who live in the rainforest of Costa Rica, do when Carmina's favorite tree is cut down.|
|I Want to Be an Environmentalist||Stephanie Maze||Harcourt||Meet people—such as botanists, economists, organic farmers, biologists, and scuba divers—who work to protect the earth.|
|Kid Heroes of the Environment: Simple Things Real Kids Are Doing to Save the Earth||Catherine Dee, Ed.||Earth Works Press||Read about what kids across the country are doing to help the environment. Find out what steps to take to complete a volunteer project and get contact information for environmental organizations.|
|The Lorax||Dr. Seuss||Random House||The Once-ler greedily chops down the Truffula Tree tufts to make Thneeds. Will he listen to the Lorax's warnings before all of the trees are gone?|
|The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest||Lynne Cherry||Harcourt||This lushly illustrated book is a plea for the rainforests of the earth.|