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Conversations with My Kids: Disappearing Forests and the Lorax

deforestationA few months ago, I was driving to the store with my kids. We passed a stretch of highway as we had hundreds of times before, but this time my son gasped as he surveyed the property. What was once beautiful rolling hill country dotted with native trees and plants, and untouched by human hands, was now barren wasteland. The vegetation had been wrenched and scraped from the earth by a team of bulldozers and backhoes.  It resembled a war zone, a picture of complete desolation.

My son’s shoulders slumped and he said, “Another forest…gone.” Then my son, a Discovery channel junkie, started to quote statistics about the disappearing rainforests. “Did you know we lose over 100,000 acres of rainforest every day?”

We had talked about preserving the world’s rainforests and protecting the environment, but I hadn’t expected him to quote the statistics. I knew that the rainforests were being destroyed at an alarming rate but I didn’t realize just how much. The statistic was shocking. “100,000? Really?”

“Yeah,” he turned in his seat to look at the destruction and said, “all so we can have something like a Walmart.”

My daughter’s face turned solemn and she said, “It’s just like the Lorax, Momma.”

LoraxI had no idea I was raising such environmentally conscious kids. The consequences of deforestation on the earth’s ecosystem is devastating. At the rate the rainforests are being consumed, they could be completely destroyed in less than fifty years. The main causes of deforestation are as follows:

  • commercial logging (furniture, paper products, building materials, etc.)
  • clearing land for grazing animals and farming
  • fuel wood to power industrial plants (such as steel and pulp mills)

Now consider these two statistics:

  • More than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen is produced by the Amazonian rainforest, and
  • One-fifth of the world’s fresh water can be found in the Amazon basin.

Air and water: basic necessities for human life. What kind of world are we leaving for our children?

How you can help stop deforestation:

  • Go paperless
  • Recycle
  • Buy recycled products
  • Eat vegetarian
  • Create consumer demand for renewable rainforest products (tropical oils, fruits, nuts, medicinal plants, chocolate, etc.)
  • Plant a tree

To learn more about the consequences of deforestation and how you can help protect the rainforests click here. Please take the time to read this.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~Dr. Seuss, The Lorax