Earth’s rainforests are vital for human life and are a crucial ecosystem that help regulate atmospheric composition, climate and precipitation patterns on a global scale.

These tropical biomes that extend over millions of square kilometres, are the most biologically diverse biomes on this planet, and are home to over 427 species of mammal and 2.5 million different species of insects. Rainforests are also essential carbon sinks. Nicknamed ‘the lungs of the earth’, they store huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with the Amazon basin storing up to 140 billion tonnes!

Our actions inside and outside these rainforest havens are negatively impacting the planet and its wildlife. As the global population rises, demand for goods and resources mirrors this rise. Timber, meat, and palm oil are just a few of the products in high demand. In order for these demands to be met, more land for agriculture, grazing, and plantations are needed.

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Slash-and-burn and deforestation are two of the large-scale processes that are used to clear huge areas of rainforest. These human activities, on top of many other, contribute to the Greenhouse Effect, subsequently raising temperatures around the globe and negatively impacting our rainforests.

Warmer temperatures leads to the higher probability of natural wildfires, which are becoming more common and widespread. This in itself is leading to larger areas of rainforests being destroyed on a more regular basis.

Palm oil that is used in items such as beauty products, chocolate and instant noodles is another detrimental factor destroying the “Earths lungs”. The creation of oil palm plantations, at the expense of rainforests in Indonesia, is a primary force driving large-scale deforestation. It is estimated that 4 million hectares of oil palm plantations have replaced what would have previously been areas of lush rainforest.

Due to the destruction of this land, the threat to the rainforests inhabitants increases every day. Endangered species such as orangutans, tigers, and elephants, is increasing, yet we continue to take.

We can help change this…

It can be difficult to comprehend how you and I can make a difference and help our rainforests when many of us live so far away from them. However, our behaviour and choices we make can lead to significant positive changes. The individual actions of the many can be a great thing!

Go paperless: Reducing the amount of paper we use makes a significant impact in rainforests. In Indonesia, large sections of rainforest are cut down and converted to acacia plantations. This wood is then turned into paper. Encouraging employees to work on digital resources, sending questionnaires and documents via email and placing informative signs located near printers discouraging workers from unnecessary printing are methods that can help reduce paper usage within the workplace.

Look at the labels: Products that we consume on a daily basis are something that should be given more thought. Ensuring that products such as coffee is Fairtrade and paper is FSC approved, ensures that these products are sourced from sustainably managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits within these rainforests.

Support rainforest conservation charities: Charities like WWF and the Rainforest Trust help protect the rainforests and the wildlife within them. Financial support for ranger training courses and for educating local populations on the actions they should and should not be taking are vital for the survival of our rainforests.

Workplace Awareness: Recognising what is and is not sustainable in the workplace is crucial. Purchasing second hand furniture rather than buying new products reduces primary materials. Recycling processes within a work space along with including sustainability commitments in onboarding packs and training programmes incentives sustainability in the workplace, whilst also encouraging workers to do the same at home.

With the implementation of a carefully thought out and constructed sustainable approach, companies and individuals alike will be able to significantly reduce their negative impact on our rainforests, the entwined ecosystems, and our wonderful world.

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