Saturday, August 30, 2008

Without the rain forest, life on earth is unsustainable.

The Amazon. Wouldn't a Wal-Mart look great here?

A few months ago, on a whim, I picked up a pre-publication copy of a children's book my last place of employment was publishing - it was called You Can Save the Planet.

It was the evening before I was getting on a plane for Los Angeles (after being a good psychotic hippie and buying carbon credits to make my trip carbon-neutral), and I was bored. I flipped to a page and started reading. This book, mind you, is for kids. I opened it to a chapter on the rain forest. It started (and I am paraphrasing) - "Did you know that without rain forests, life on earth would be unsustainable? Did you also know that an area of rain forest the size of a football field is cleared EVERY SECOND?"

Well, needless to say, my evening was shot. This shit is ridiculous. I KNOW they're poor and doing what they have to in order to survive. I KNOW a lot of them don't know any better. But, Jesus Fucking Christ. We have to teach them how to farm sustainably. We HAVE TO.

It can't be that difficult.

And now there's this trinket of news:
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Amazon deforestation jumped 69 percent in the past 12 months — the first such increase in three years — as rising demand for soy and cattle pushes farmers and ranchers to raze trees, officials said Saturday.

Some 3,088 square miles of forest were destroyed between August 2007 and August 2008 — a 69 percent increase over the 1,861 square miles felled in the previous 12 months, according to the National Institute for Space Research, or INPE, which monitors destruction of the Amazon.
We need to figure this shit out. And we need to do it NOW. Land-raping has to stop - at the rate we're going, there won't be anything left to plunder.

What can we do?

Donating money to some "fund" that emails me on a daily basis, wastes god knows how much paper and fuel sending out annoying bulk mailings on a weekly basis, gives away "premiums" like stuffed dolphins that I'm sure were made in China - that's obviously not working.

We've got a cute little movie called Madagascar - it shows lemurs and sifakas and aye-ayes frolicking in the beauty and wonder of a Paradise on Earth with rivulets and food and baobab trees and fruit a-plenty. But did you know that only ten per cent of Madagascar's rain forest - yes, that's correct - TEN PER CENT - remains, and even that is teetering on the brink of being clear-cut?

All those cute little lemurs and chameleons and tenrecs and aye-ayes kids are going to be cheering when Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa comes out in November - they're dying out really, really quickly because Malagasy need to know how to farm sustainably.

I would volunteer my services GLADLY if I could find an organization that would teach farmers how to work without clear-cutting. I would work for FREE as long as I could have the knowledge that I was helping save the rain forest from complete and utter destruction.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm not kidding.

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