In Five Months Over 1,000 Miles of Forest Gone!

It was recently reported that the rate of Amazon rainforest deforestation saw a huge rise in the last five months of 2007. This news comes at the heels of celebrating a deforestation reduction previously seen in the region. What does this mean? Well, in numbers it means that in five months, 1,250 miles of forest was lost to land clearing, largely from Brazilian farmers inspired by the rising prices of raw materials and commodities.

According to reports from BBC News though, Brazil’s Environment Minister Marina Silva, suggests that these reports may even be worse than they appear and the numbers may even be double the preliminary assessment. It won’t be clear until more detailed satellite images are reviewed.

Perhaps my choosing paper over plastic at the grocery store was not so beneficial after all. And in the height of global warming, can the earth really afford to lose over a thousand miles of trees every five months?

Yes we recycle, but how efficient at it are we really, because I distinctly remember having at least six or so bottles thrown in the trash when I went to recycle my beverage bottles from home. Okay, I work at a chemical lab and I understand that certain types of polymers don’t blend well with others therefore making them less desirable to recycle, but come on! Why are we then even making these less desirable/ recyclable plastics? We’re smart. We can figure this out.

I reclined on my couch two nights ago in half darkness trying to figure out the benefits of using paper towel in our homes. In public, I completely understand it, and quite frankly, would be repulsed with out them. However, in our home we have towels and mops and linen napkins – and if we don’t we can get them. I say linen napkins should make a comeback – even at the T.V. tray. Hey, anyone who knows me personally, you’d better look out, because that may just be my next gift item to you.

And though it’s not as pressing, I thought about wedding invitations, and how much paper it wastes just to look elegant. Like luxury. You know what I’m talking about; the envelope inside the tissue paper, inside the envelope inside the tissue paper inside the envelope. What is it all for? For show. To give the illusion of decadence and privilege. For now on, it should be seen as a symbol of waste and irresponsibility. Surely we can do better.

While unraveling the coiled paper in my mind, my daughter was talking to me – rambling on about some topic I deemed less significant than wasted paper. Then I brought her into my thoughts and asked her what she thought people wasted paper on. She volleyed some ideas around until she came to grocery store bags. I kind of lit up with the idea.

Now many stores already offer take-home reusable bags and encourage the use of canvas bags, but not nearly enough. Perhaps if bags weren’t offered at all in the grocery stores, it would force us to be more responsible about taking along a reusable bag or at lease keeping one in the trunk. Oh sure, some people will be hot under the collar about it, but should we really care about their anger over it?

For the first time in history, polar bears are drowning because the distance between ice blocks are so far apart, forcing them to swim for food at further distances. Something extreme has got to be done, and chopping down our carbon vaccums for cheap land to offset prices driven by man, should not be acceptable. Our planet is wilting and we are steady chopping it down.

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