Forests are essential for existence on Earth. Beyond giving us physical resources like timber, they provide clean air, safer water and animal habitats whilst counteracting climate change. Indigenous people living there rely on them even more. Yet sadly, we continue to put all at risk, with loss occurring at the rate of 50 football fields a minute. Responsible forestry is crucial in order to prevent the damage caused by issues such as illegal deforestation, implacable demand for goods derived from their finite supplies and inadequate forest management practices.
It is important to learn about our forests because cultivating connections with nature can become inspiration for looking after our natural heritage. Knowledge about the effects humans are having – especially those endangering its future – could be transformative. Nearly every single aspect of daily life involves taking from this world and that rarely includes giving back to equivalent levels. One of the challenges with encouraging more sustainability focused thinking, which turns attitudes into action, seems to be that we do not get to see or consider the consequences of particular actions. After all, how are you going to care about something if it feels altogether too separate from your usual concerns?
Whilst certain forests within South America, Asia and Africa are notably most affected, the first step to making a difference internationally should perhaps be finding out what to do locally. Afforestation programs, and drives that raise awareness about the scientific mechanisms that make forests promote balance is probably a good start. For the good of our planet let us ensure forests, and those who call these beautiful places home, have a sustainable future ahead of them.
Keenly observing natural heritage and learning about it by experienceprovides educational experiences for visitors, groups, families, schools and colleges. If we integrate the principles of conservation into tourism at national parks and biodiversity reserves, the effort to spread awareness will mitigate considerably. Altering science textbooks to explain the mechanism of the water cycle in a manner that talks about consequences rather than just ‘processes’ might also be a way to ignite the minds of young souls towards striving for a more sustainable future.