This month we celebrate World Rainforest Day, on Monday June 22. Here are some fun facts about our beautiful rainforests and how we can help preserve them.
Rainforests only cover around 2 per cent of the Earth, yet are essential to our existence. They provide us with air, water, medicine, food, shelter and they also absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, making them essential in the fight against climate change and global warming.
Tropical rainforests are also home to more than half of the planet’s terrestrial animal species, including bengal tigers, orangutans, jaguars and mountain gorillas. Many of these species are sadly in danger of becoming extinct, but their existence is vital to help maintain delicate rainforest ecosystems. Here are seven ways you can help support rainforests.
1 - Try a plant-based diet
Did you know that beef production is the largest cause of tropical deforestation in the Amazon? Every year millions of hectares are cleared to be converted into ranch land. Try swapping beef for plant proteins or chicken and fish. Even doing this one day a week will help slow the pace of deforestation. Visit meatfreemondays.com for some great recipe ideas.
2 - Get educated
This World Rainforest Day, take time to discover more about the ways in which rainforests benefit us. Apart from helping keep our air clean, rainforests also play a vital role in maintaining the Earth’s supply of fresh water. Some of our favourite foods and drinks also come from rainforests, including coffee, tea, cocoa, Brazil nuts and bananas. To find out more, visit rainforest-alliance.org.
3 - Reduce your carbon footprint
Our tropical rainforests absorb a whopping 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. To help ease the strain reduce your carbon emissions by opting for carpooling, biking or walking to get around. If you’re going on holiday, embrace slow travel and take a road trip or hop on a train. If you’re booking flights, purchase a carbon offset when you buy your plane tickets.
4 - Buy rainforest-friendly products
There’s a few simple tweaks you can make to your shopping list which will add up to make a big difference. Where possible, opt for fair-trade, organic coffee and chocolate, avoid products containing palm oil, and buy tree-free toilet paper.
5 - Use social media for good
Spread the word about the importance of our beautiful rainforests by letting your friends and family know about World Rainforest Day and what you’re doing to support and protect rainforests. Use the hashtag #WorldRainforestDay
6 - Make a donation
Take action on World Rainforest Day by donating to organisations which support the preservation and protection of our rainforests through conserving wildlife, fighting deforestation and developing sustainable economies. You can find a list of NGOs at worldrainforestday.org
7 - Plant a native garden
If you have a balcony or garden consider planting native trees, plants and flowers to help create a sanctuary for native wildlife. Many birds migrate to the rainforests every year, by creating food and shelter for them you’ll be helping them on their journey.