Climate change is one of the greatest threats against our planet. According to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, climate change is the most systemic threat to humankind. Over the years, steps have been taken to slow the progression of climate change; however, in recent years, things have changed. The President of the United States refuses to believe science and the experts, and he claims that he believes that climate change is fake. This stupidity is what will destroy our planet.
While we are in the middle of the most significant climate crisis our world has ever faced, our forests are disappearing. Deforestation is a huge issue because we need trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that get trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. Experts say that if deforestation were a country, it would come third to America and China in a tally of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
According to the World Bank, there are over half a million square miles of forest that were destroyed between 1990 and 2016. To help you understand this better, this area would fit into South Africa easily. Even before deforestation began, humans had already cut down over 45 percent of the trees on the planet. The rainforests are most affected. The Amazon lost about 17 percent of the rainforest over the last five decades. Sadly, this trend isn’t slowing down. Every year, 18-million acres are being destroyed.
Deforestation occurs so that we can remove the trees to make way for farming, homes, and businesses. Trees are also removed so that the wood can be sold for building materials. The effects on our planet have been catastrophic.
When the trees are removed, we are also taking away the places that animals on our planet call home. Certain types of tigers, the Bornean orangutan, and the giant panda are all animals who are at risk of becoming extinct because we are taking away their homes. The damage that we are causing by removing trees from the forests is insurmountable.
Deforestation also has a serious effect on the Earth’s water cycle. Trees absorb rain and then release water vapor into the atmosphere. Even a small change can have a negative impact on our weather patterns. Already, deforestation has caused a 4 percent reduction in land
Considering everything that is happening to our planet due to deforestation, it is no wonder that NASA has been monitoring the changing foliage from space. To gather this information, NASA uses two satellites. The satellites have shown that vast areas of forests in Brazil and Indonesia are gone. Fortunately, the information that we have received isn’t all bad. Recently, it was discovered that there are now more trees on Earth than two decades ago, and the new greenery has an unlikely source.
The Green-Leaf Area
Since the year 2000, the green-leaf area on Earth has expanded by 5 percent. This equals to about a couple million square miles. Amazingly, we may have humans to thank for this. At first, we believed that global warming was responsible. It was believed that the warmer, wetter climate and fertilization for the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is what caused the change. A NASA researcher named Rama Nemani had another explanation.
NASA uses a system called MODIS to determine what is causing the increase in forests. The information from MODIS is very detailed; therefore, they are able to see things the way they are. The MODIS data showed that the increased foliage occurred in certain countries, which suggests that human activity was responsible. The two responsible countries are China and India. This is surprising since China is one of the most polluting countries on the planet and are responsible for 30-percent of the overall emissions of gas worldwide. The reason China’s forests are thriving is that they have spent over $80 million to plant trees.
Considering that China and India were able to turn things around, it gives us hope for our planet. If every country in the world were to make the same changes that were made by China, our planet has a chance. If we don’t make these changes, generations to come won’t have a happy and healthy place to call home. Unfortunately, it is not easy to get everyone on board. There are countries, like the United States, who don’t believe that climate change and deforestation are dangerous. Until every country gets