Earth's Rain Forests This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


      What do you think of whenyou hear the words "rain forest?" Maybe you associate rain forests withlarge trees bearing lush green leaves. Or you might see them from a differentpoint of view - from the bases of the trees where it is very dark because foliageblocks the sunlight, as little monkeys dance around and play. How you picturethem is your choice, but the real question is, how will people imagine rainforests in the future? It all depends on our actions today.

The rainforest is one of the most complex ecosystems that exist. The number and types ofspecies living there is unknown. Rain forests are packed with life; within afive-mile radius there can be up to 700 species of trees and 600 species ofanimals. Scientists have speculated that within rain forests there may even be aplant with the capability to fight AIDS, an idea that certainly should beresearched. Rain forests contain more than 50 percent of all life forms. They arealso a significant source of oxygen (as are plant life and marinemicroorganisms).

The rain forest is a very old ecosystem that is currentlyonly about 20 percent of what it used to be, and takes up two percent of theEarth's surface. The rate of destruction is alarming. Scientists have estimatedthat 120 life forms become extinct every day because of deforestation. Everysecond, a tremendous two-and-a-half acres of the Earth's rain forests aredisappearing. That's 214,000 acres daily and 78 million acres each year. Thisprocess clears the land for housing and cattle farms or to sell material to makewood products, ammunition parts, phone books and cellulose. Although wasteful, itis hard to take action. Many governments have outlawed deforestation, butcompanies ignore the laws and farmers continue to clear the land. It is hard tobelieve there will be any rain forest left in 100 years. Something has to bedone.

Many solutions have been presented, but none has stopped thedestruction, and few have slowed it. The rain forest does grow, but only upward,and not nearly at the pace it is being destroyed. If we tried to grow more plantsnear the edges, it would not work because the soil has become infertile. It isnearly impossible to regrow what we have destroyed, so the only way to keep ourrain forests is to protect them. A few possible solutions are to investigatecompanies' sources of lumber, create a satellite net to watch areas suspected ofsuffering from deforestation and boycotting and imposing tariffs on companiessuspected of deforestation. However we find a solution, it better befast.

If you want future generations to see rain forests, something mustbe done, otherwise future generations will only know about them throughtextbooks. We control the future, and it is up to us to make the rightdecisions.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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