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OpenInvestigation: 5 Fast Facts About Deforestation

Published on

August 10, 2017

Did you know that one of the main drivers for climate change is deforestation? And if so, then the state of our forests should be a red flag. Forests cover 30% of the earth’s land but they are disappearing at a rapidly alarming rate.  Think about it this way: every minute, a forest the size of 20 football fields is cut down. One and a half acres of forest is cut down every second.  At this rate, it’s estimated that within 100 years, there will be no more rainforests. Completely. And while there are natural causes that lead to forest destruction, the leading cause of deforestation is man-made: agriculture. Here are 5 other facts about  deforestation that you may find surprising.

  1. Loss of forests contributes between 12 percent and 17 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. (World Resources Institute)
  2. According to Rainforest Action Network, the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population yet consumes more than 30% of the world’s paper.
  3. 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon forest.
  4. Soil erosion, floods, wildlife extinction, increase in global warming, and climate imbalance are just a few of the effects of deforestation.
  5. Deforestation affects the water cycle. Trees absorb water from the ground and release it into the atmosphere during transpiration. When deforestation occurs, the climate automatically changes to a drier one and also affects the water table.

If this inspires you to act, make sure to divest your finances from the corporations driving deforestation.

Most of the deforestation impacts of large companies are in their supply chains, where there is very little public transparency. Forest 500, a project of the Global Canopy Programm, identifies the 500 global companies who have the most power to combat this issue in their operations and supply chains. Forest 500 then ranks each company on a scale of 1-5, depending on their anti-deforestation policies and actions (or their lack thereof).

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