Did you know that deforestation causes 15% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which is a massive contributor to climate change? But it’s not hopeless.

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Our efforts can reverse the damage already done and stop more from happening in the future.

Today is World Rainforest Day (22nd June), so we thought we’d tell you a bit about rainforests and how you can help them survive.

Why should we care about rainforests?

As most of us don’t live in or near a rainforest, it’s easy to forget about them when thinking about what we can do to protect the planet.

Rainforests are essential contributors to a healthy world. They absorb carbon dioxide and give us oxygen; the trees uphold soil and provide homes and shelter for many animals and plants – some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems call the rainforest their home.

Not just animals and plants, though; many indigenous communities have inhabited rainforests for centuries. In Brazil’s portion of the Amazon rainforest alone, the indigenous population is estimated to be 310,000.

What Can We Do?

Rainforests have been around for millions of years and used to cover most of our planet, but every minute, we lose 40 football fields of rainforests for wood, agriculture, land, and more. Rainforests now take up just 6% of Earth.

Here are five things you can do to help the rainforest:

1. Reduce your carbon footprint

In 2017, it was reported that rainforests now emit almost twice as much carbon as they consume due to deforestation. That’s scary. Driving less, unplugging electricals when they’re not in use, and keeping the heating turned down are all small habits that you can put into practice at home, which will reduce your carbon footprint.

2. Avoid products with palm oil

Palm oil isn’t just high in saturated fats; it also contributes to deforestation. Vast amounts of rainforest land – especially in Malaysia and Indonesia – are cut down for palm oil plantations.

Unfortunately, it’s one of the most widely used vegetable oils on Earth, so we need to try and cut it out of our lives. If the demand stops, the supply will stop. That’s where you come in…

Now you know what to look for on the ingredient labels; you’ll be shocked to see that palm oil is everywhere. You’ll find it in approximately 40-50% of household products! Look out for it in your food, sweets, even shampoos, and toothpaste! There’s always a sustainable alternative; it might just mean looking a little harder.

3. Support organisations that help

Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, Rainforest Alliance, Cool Earth, and the Rainforest Foundation are just some fantastic charities that work towards protecting the world’s rainforests. Organisations like these help in many ways, such as working with indigenous leaders, planting trees, finding climate justice solutions, or restoring ecosystems. You can help by donating money to them and spreading awareness of what they do.

4. Ditch the burger

Cattle farming is a huge contributor to deforestation. Rainforests get destroyed to make room for farms. Cows also contribute to climate change because they emit methane, a strong greenhouse gas.

The demand for beef is only growing; a burger or a steak is no longer a rare treat but a regular part of our diets. It’s estimated that global demand for beef and other meats could grow by 88 percent between 2010 and 2050. This will put massive pressure on our rainforests and will exhilarate climate change.

Meat lovers, don’t panic; we’re not about to ask you to turn vegan. But cutting down your meat consumption in any way you can would have a considerable impact (especially beef). You could try just eating beef as a once-a-week treat or just on weekends. Any small change can help.

5. Learn more and share your knowledge

Now you know how to help the rainforests, shout it from the rooftops! Well, not really, you might fall off, and we don’t want to be responsible for that. So instead, share it on Facebook, drop it into conversations with friends and family, educate children.

There’s much more to learn, so keep researching. Knowledge is the first step towards a healthier planet.

Rainforests are hugely important for our planet, and celebrating World Rainforest Day reminds us of that. We must begin to find ways to reduce our impact on Earth and save rainforests from drifting away. This precious natural resource requires our protection for not just the land but all living in it and reliant on its resources.

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