Save the Rainforests

The destruction of the rainforests is one of the most crucial environmental issues of our time.It is also one of the most misunderstood and neglected.There has been so much propaganda and publicity attached to this crisis that "Save the Rainforests" is becoming almost as cliche as "Save the Whales."Why don't we take this problem more seriously?Is it because we, as Americans, simply don't understand the devastating, long-terms consequences that continued deforestation of the rainforests would have?Is it because our own government is involved in the deforestation, either directly or by financing its development?Or is it because we live in a society of excessive consumption, oblivious to the problems that don't directly affect us in some tangible way?The facts are out there, and the results of continued deforestation of tropical rainforests are very real and becoming more evident everyday.It is a tremendous global concern, one that we can only resolve by popping our protective bubble of ignorance and taking action.
Rainforests are the Earth's oldest living ecosystems.They cover only about 6% of the Earth's land mass, yet they are home to more than half the plant and animal species in the world (de Blig, Muller, 228).A typical four square patch of rainforest contains as many as 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 of reptiles, 60 of amphibians, and 150 different types of butterflies (National Academy of Sciences, 1997).In the Amazon Basin, 18,000 square miles of rainforest is lost per year due to logging, mining, oil drilling, and clearing large tracts of land for cattle ranches and highways.There are dozens of beneficial reasons for protecting this land from deforestation, but I will touch on a two that I feel are particularly critical.
Medicine – The abundant botanical resources of tropical rainf…

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