Want to know how to help save the rainforests? It’s good to protect England’s but of course the rainforests are ‘the lungs of the planet’ and once lost, difficult to grow back again (the land is not that fertile). If it were a country, the Amazon rainforest would be the 10th largest country on earth (it’s around the same size as Russia). It’s also the world’s main defence against climate change, as there are so many trees that absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. This keeps our temperature stable and play a role in maintaining fresh water (if trees are cut down, this removes the moisture released to the air, so it rains less).
Yet rainforests cover just 3% of our planet. And we are losing them at the rate of 40 football fields a minute: mostly due to rainforest beef farming, soy (often used to feed livestock) and timber logging. Here are ways to help:
- Give up palm oil (food & beauty products)
- Use recycled stationery, greetings cards and gift wrap.
- Buy recycled furniture (or at least FSC-certified)
- Buy sustainable perfumes (without rosewood oil)
- Ensure eucalyptus oil (toothpastes, cleaning products) is from certified organic and koala-friendly resources, as some koalas have been harmed, during harvesting in Aussie rainforests.
- Eat meat? Choose certified organic meat or make fakeaways instead of supporting companies that farm livestock or soy in rainforests.
- Buy shade-grown coffee that protects songbirds & native tribes (same for chocolate and nuts).
- Buy recycled jewellery (ensure crystals are sustainably-mined)
- Use green building materials to build new homes (straw bale, cob).
- Choose coffins made from willow or banana leaf (instead of mahogany)
- Ensure musical instruments are from sustainable wood.
- Ensure ‘native crafts’ are free from fur, feathers, tortoiseshell etc.
- Report suspected bones (rhino, tiger) in herbal medicine to National Wildlife Crime Unit (you can do this anonymously).
- Over and Under the Rainforest is a lovely book for children to meet slender parrot snakes, blue morpho butterflies, toucans, pale-billed woodpeckers, capuchin monkeys and slow-moving sloths.
Fun Facts about Rainforests
- ‘Veiled stinkhorn’ fungi smells like rotting food!
- Asia’s durian fruit (loved by orangutans) smells so bad that there are laws not to take it on public transport. People differ in describing its taste – from vanilla caramel cheesecake to vomit-flavoured custard! Food writer Richard Sterling says the odour is like ‘pig-sh*t, turpentine and onions – garnished with a gym sock!’
- South East Asia’s rhinoceros hornbill bird has a horn so big on its head, it looks like an extra beak.
- Black howler monkeys (Latin America) can be heard miles away.
- The ‘Jesus lizard’ is so-called, because he can walk and run on water!
- The capybara is the world’s largest rodent. If you’re scared of rats, wait till you see this guy: he’s about the same height and weight as an older child and roams in groups of 20!
- Aye-ayes live in Madagascar. These lovely creatures are unique, yet do no harm (their main predator is humans).
- The glass-frog is so-called, because he has a see-through tummy. Dart frogs often wrestle each other, for 20 minutes.
- Pink dolphins get their colour from blood capillaries, near the skin surface. They have 40% more brain capacity than us. Still social, they do gather in much smaller groups than most dolphins.
- Sloths are not really lazy, more they have no energy as it takes a month to digest one meal. So they simply can’t be bothered to do much, especially after eating. They even stay in the tree, after they die.
- Green anacondas are some of the largest snakes in the world. Although clumsy on land, they quick and nifty underwater. Even the babies are 2 feet long. Yet although they could – apparently there is no evidence of this snake ever eating a human.
- Mountain gorillas live in African rainforests. The giant silverbacks are pretty solitary, but make excellent parents.