Thursday, October 21, 2010

Amazon Rainforest

Our blog group topic for this week is the Amazon Rainforest. I have to admit that if I had to tell you what I knew about the Amazon Rainforest, unfortunately it wouldn’t be much. My answer would not sound too intelligent: “I know there are many important animals and plants that live there, and that it is being cut down at an alarming rate.” So much for my knowledge.

So, I decided to gain a little information about it, and found out what I know is pretty correct, although basic. I was surprised to find out what a large area the rainforest covers 1.4 billion acres, in a region that includes nine nations (Brazil containing 60% of it, followed by Peru, then Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana). The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s rainforests, and has the largest tract of species and tropical rainforest in the world! It has currently become a candidate for the New 7 Wonders of the World.

As a wet tropical forest, it is very rich in species and has a tremendous amount of biodiversity. One in ten known species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest. Yet deprestation is occurring in the rainforest. As human expansion continues, and as humans seek to develop land, more and more of the rainforest is being cut down to make room for this expansion.

This deforestation is causing a wide variety of problems. Environmentalists are “concerned about loss of biodiversity that will result from destruction of the forest, and also about the release of the carbon contained within the vegetation, which could accelerate global warming.” One computer model of future climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions shows that the Amazon rainforest could become unsustainable under conditions of severely reduced rainfall and increased temperatures, leading to an almost complete loss of rainforest cover in the basin by 2100. This has not been fully substantiated, but shows that there is concern with the loss of rainforest.

In Genesis 1, after God had created the world, he gave Adam charge to care for the world. This is an important charge from God to man, and one that I believe is not being followed today. We are not caring for our earth as we should. I believe that God has provided on this earth all that we need to sustain life. But we must treat our world with respect. There is an important balance between all the parts of our world, and when we don’t consider the impact of one part on the other (i.e. the deforestation of the rainforest), then we will cause long term harm to our world.

The challenge is that problems like this often seem too big for one person to deal with, so we just ignore it because we can’t solve it alone. I challenge you and myself to be diligent in finding ways that we can care for our world better, and know that as we take these steps, they WILL make a difference.