11 Ways to Help Save Our Forests

Santa Cruz Grows Green


Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Using less paper can save our forests

Reduce the amount of paper you use. Millions of trees are felled each year to make paper and cardboard products. Many companies replant trees, but these can take decades to grow. Some plant different species than those they’ve cut down, species not in tune with the ecosystems and not of the kind the local wildlife need to survive. Many times they replace trees by planting in completely different areas. Producing paper also requires large amounts of water, which is then contaminated, and chemicals that pollute our air, land and water.

* What you should know:

- it takes about 12 trees to make one ton of newsprint paper
- it takes about 24 trees to make one ton of printer paper

* What you can do:

- Buy use books, exchange books with friends, use your library, donate or sell old books
- Donate or sell used cardboard boxes in good condition, buy used boxes when you move
- Don’t print when it’s not necessary, write or print on both sides of your paper when it is
- Recycle as much paper as you can, buy recycled paper products whenever feasible
- Don’t use paper, use cloth towels and shopping bags, reusable lunch boxes, and others

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Eating less beef can save our forests

Cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation in our forests. Huge areas of forest are burned to clear them for pasture. Additional enormous areas are cleared for planting the massive amounts of soy and other grains needed to feed cattle. Cattle often overgraze areas making it necessary to clear even more forest for new pasture. Most cattle companies do not practice reforestation. Bovine methane emissions make up a large part of greenhouse gases emissions.

*What you should know:

- 80% of Amazon deforestation is due to cattle ranching, more than logging and mining
- 1kg beef = C02 emitted by average car over 250 kms
- It takes about 2,500 gallons (9,375 liters) of water to produce 1 pound (1/2 kilogram) of beef
- It takes about 8 kilograms of grain to produce 1 kilogram of beef

* What you can do:

- replace beef in some meals with poultry, pork or fish
- skip eating meat completely 1 or 2 days every week
- choose to live a fully vegetarian lifestyle

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Using fewer soy products can save our forests

Soy is used in thousands of products and is also one of the main plants grown to feed livestock. Soy is used in oil, butter, flour, candles, soap, cosmetics, plastics, clothing, home insulation, and even ink. Soy is also a source for biodiesel fuel but the amount of land that must be cleared plant it far exceeds the benefits of using it as fuel. Our forests are being destroyed to grow soy. There is growing concern over some health hazards to eating soy-based products as well.

* What you should know:

- It takes 8 kilograms of grain to produce 1 kilogram of beef. Much of Bolivia’s livestock is fed soy
- Approximately 12.5 million acres of soy are used to generate 500 million gallons of biodiesel, less than one day’s worth of liquid fuel consumption in the U.S. alone
- Soy is the single most important export crop of Bolivia
- The demand for soy is expected to increase by 60% to over 300 million tons per year by 2020
- Most soy cultivation in the future will take place in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay
- The U.S. FDA lists the soybean plant over 280 times in its Poisonous Plant Database

* What you can do:

- Reduce the amount of soy you eat. Consume more vegetables, protein and Omega-3
- Avoid purchasing products manufactured with soy

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Using less wood can save our forests

The most obvious way our forests are destroyed is deforestation for lumber, furniture, the paper industry and firewood. Some hardwood species can take hundreds of years to grow. Important ecosystems are being decimated along with food resources forest animals need to survive. Deforestation leads directly to the extinction of many species each year. Road construction, which is necessary for logging, exposes the forests to unplanned colonization, agriculture, illegal mining, hunting, fishing, and other activities that lead to further destruction.

* What you should know:

- The felling of one 'selected' tree, tears down with it climbers, vines, epiphytes and lianas
- If deforestation continues at current rates, scientists estimate nearly 80-90 percent of tropical rainforest ecosystems will be destroyed by the year 2020
- According to projections by James Alcock, a professor of environmental sciences at the Abington campus of Penn State, Amazonian rain forests could reach a "point of no return" by 2011-2016 if deforestation continues at the present rate of about one percent a year
- Distinguished scientists estimate an average of 137 species of life forms are driven into extinction every day, or 50,000 each year

* What you can do:

- Avoid purchasing furniture made from endangered or threatened forest species
- Don’t purchase products made from wood unless they are made of certified wood
- Ask in your stores where the products they sell come from before making a purchase
- Choose products originating from sustainable sources
- Well-made wood products can last a long time. Share, exchange, donate and buy used

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Expanding protected areas can save our forests

Local communities that are able to generate income from forest resources and tourist services in a sustainable manner will have a vested interest in ensuring forests will be protected. Community surveillance is the most effective way to patrol a protected area. Education and training of local scientists and guides is also important to ensuring forests are not destroyed. An educated community can see the value in creating and maintaining protected natural areas.

* What you should know:

- Protected areas are the world’s most cost effective tool for biodiversity conservation
- The global network of protected areas stores at least 15% of terrestrial carbon
- Bolivia’s Noel Kempff National Park is one of the 25 largest UN natural world heritage sites
- We have to know what we have, to protect it. See the World Database on Protected Areas
- The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the most important international legal instrument addressing protected areas

* What you can do:

- Lobby your national, state or local government to create more protected areas
- Join a reforestation campaign and help plant trees in areas where they’ve been cut down
- Support initiatives that help local inhabitants generate income while protecting their forests
- Support research on native species and ecosystems to increase interest in protecting them

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Not buying exotic pets can save our forests

Exotic “pets” are wild animals that do not adjust well to a captive environment. They require special care, housing, diet, and maintenance that the average person cannot provide. Exotic “pets” purchased as infants are abandoned by their keepers as they age and become impossible to control. Sanctuaries cannot accommodate the large numbers of unwanted “pets.” As a result, the majority of these animals are euthanized, abandoned, or doomed to live in deplorable conditions.

* What you should know:

- The illegal wildlife trade is second only to the illegal drug trade in terms of profitability
- International wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually
- Countless young wild animals are orphaned when their mothers are captured or slaughtered
- The wildlife trade involves 100s of millions of plants and animals from tens of thousands of species
- Operators are unscrupulous and do not care how they damage the environment
- Wildlife traders often introduce invasive species that prey upon, or out-compete native species
- As authorities crack down on drug trafficking, traders may switch to wildlife trafficking

* What you can do:

- Don’t purchase exotic or endangered wildlife species, including plants and animals
- Don’t purchase fur, ivory, or other body parts that require the killing of wildlife
- Join or support campaigns and causes that help educate others about the consequences
- Help enforce the law by reporting vendors of exotic pets and illegal wildlife products

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Using less water can save our forests

Physical alteration, habitat loss and degradation, water extraction, over-exploitation, pollution and the introduction of invasive species threaten the planet’s freshwater ecosystems and their associated biological resources. More than 20% of the world’s 10,000 freshwater species have become extinct, threatened or endangered in recent decades. Today, 41% of the world’s population lives in river basins under water stress.

* What you should know:

- Agriculture claims 70% of all the freshwater used by humans
- It takes 3,000 to 5,000 litres of water to grow just one kilo of rice
- By the year 2025, 48 countries will be affected by water stress or scarcity
- Since 1900, more than 50% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared
- Water demand already exceeds supply in many parts of the world
- Only 3% of all water on Earth is freshwater

* What you can do:

- Read the links below for 1000s of easy lifestyle changes we can all make to save water
- Buy less stuff. It takes unbelievable amounts of water to make most everything
- Encourage your local authorities to pass and enforce better water conservation laws
- Clean up. Ensure your daily activities don’t contaminate any water sources
- Give the gift of water by supporting non-profit organizations that donate water
- Be aware of how much water your lifestyle actually requires. Use a water calculator
- Don’t participate in activities or forms of entertainment that waste water for pleasure

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Dams are destroying our forests

When dams are built ecosystems downstream suffer because the nutrients normally carried by water are no longer transported to the area. People who depended on water now held back by the dam are forced to uproot their towns and villages and move. Waterborne diseases increase. Dams flood vast areas of forest which eventually rot, causing the water to become acidic, eventually rusting the turbines.

* What you should know:

- Dams and other infrastructure have caused the fragmentation of 60% of the large river systems in the world
-Only 64 of the world’s 177 large rivers (1,000km and longer) remain free-flowing, unimpeded by dams or other barriers
-There are more than 45,000 large dams in over 150 countries
-About 1,500 are currently under construction
- Some 40 to 80 million people have been displaced by dams worldwide
- But not all dams are bad, it depends how and where they are built

*What you can do:

Encourage your government to consider every positive and negative aspect before approving a dam construction project. Support organizations that inform about the destruction dams cause.

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Mining operations are destroying our forests

The world has a voracious appetite for metals, precious metals and gems. Many of these are found in or near our forests. Mining operations clear large portions of forest and also contaminate rivers with chemicals and sludge.

* What you should know

- Many mining operations often blast river banks, eroding them and killing fish
- An estimated 2.91 pounds (1.32 kg) of mercury is released into waterways for every 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of gold
- Sulfides and cyanide are also byproducts that contaminate our water and forests
- Large-scale open pit mining techniques result in significant deforestation
- Mining leaves behind toxic waste and hazardous scrap materials
- Roads constructed for mining leave our forests open to further colonization

* What you can do

- Reduce your use of metals, precious metals, and gems
- Consider purchasing products that have the Fair Trade or Forest Stewardship Council trademarks

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Supporting native peoples can save our forests

Native peoples have inhabited our forest areas for thousands of years. They have a great wealth of knowledge about forest resources, their properties, medicinal values, and ecosystems. They typically use only what they need and are good stewards of our forests. As cities and industrial or agricultural project overtake their lands, they lose their homes, their culture and their wealth of knowledge.

* What you should know

- Latin America’s 50 million indigenous people make up 11% of the region’s population
- Indigenous peoples are not always in the minority. In Bolivia and Guatemala indigenous peoples make up more than half the population
- Worldwide, indigenous peoples have some 4,000 languages
- The Amazon River Basin is home to about 400 different indigenous groups
- While it accounts for just 7% of the world’s surface area, the Amazon River Basin harbours more than half of the world’s biodiversity
- Two centuries ago indigenous people lived in most of the earth’s ecosystems. Today they have the legal right to use only about 6% of the planet’s land - More than 100 pharmaceutical companies are currently funding projects to study indigenous plant knowledge and specific plants used by native healers

* What can be done

- Involve indigenous people who live near protected areas, in park management
- Learn about, and support, the demarcation of indigenous lands
- If people are displaced, they will need support to find new long-term income opportunities
- Promote ecotourism to minimize environmental impact and maximize benefits for local communities
- Support laws that require previous consultation with native dwellers prior to initiating industrial projects in forests

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Santa Cruz Crece Verde

Learning and teaching can save our forests

Education is one of the most effectives ways to conserve our forests. By learning all you can about steps you can take to live a greener life, and by helping to teach others, or supporting organizations that do, about the importance of our forests, you help ensure a healthier tomorrow for future generations.

* What you should know

- We form our habits at an early age. Children learn most of their habits by age 8
- One person can make a difference. Many small changes add up to big changes
- What you do does matter. It’s easy to feel unimportant in view of such big issues you aren’t

* What you can do

- Learn everything you can about our forests and how they benefit us, then share what you know
- Teach children early on about greener living and making good choices. Habits are formed early in life
- Support others who teach at schools, through organizations, and online
- Visit a zoo. Not everyone can travel to a forest. Learn about wildlife at home. You can’t love what you don’t know
- Travel to a forest. Practice eco-tourism and help support local forest peoples
- Support or adopt a rainforest project through one of many conservation organizations
- United we stand, divided we fall. Be active and encourage others to take action too
- Share this page by clicking on the buttons below to upload it to your social profile. You can also get the link to this page and paste it into an email. Share!

Sources



11 things you should know about Bolivia’s forests

11 ways in which our forests are being destroyed

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