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Convenient truths about rainforests.
- Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s surface. Now they cover just 6%. Nearly half of that loss has occurred in the past 30 years.
- Deforestation causes one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than every car, truck, train and plane on earth. It’s roughly the same amount of CO2 the US emits every year.
- The largest rainforest on the planet is the Amazon. It provides 20% of the world’s oxygen, contains one-fifth of the world’s fresh water and covers over one billion acres. By 2030, 60% of this area may be lost.
- More than half the world’s plants and animals are found in rainforests. We are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to deforestation.
- The oldest rainforest in the world is in Southeast Asia. Between 2000 and 2005, Indonesia had the fastest rate of deforestation in the world, destroying an area the equivalent of 300 soccer fields every hour.
- Large-scale palm oil plantations are replacing the forests of Indonesia. One in three food products on the supermarket shelves contain palm oil.
- 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients. As the rainforests disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Less than 1% of tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
- If developed countries spent the same amount preventing deforestation and the destruction of peatlands as they do on biofuel subsidies ($22 billion), this would halve the total costs of tackling climate change.
- In June, the biggest ever fund to tackle deforestation was announced for the Congo Basin, the second-largest rainforest in the world. The fund is to provide alternative employment to logging, mining and felling trees
- Many of the things we use in our daily lives come from the rainforest: timber, paper, medicines, fruit, chocolate, coffee, latex. Look for logos that indicate a product is benefiting the rainforest.
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