Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good News on the Environmental Front

I suspect environmentalists don't get invited to too many parties. After all, its hard to have someone over to drinks and hors d'oeuvres when they will only sit there, or stand and remind you how bad things are going and the fact the we humans are on the verge of destroying all life on the planet. This is not a fun group. I mean you try to get to them to commit to a date and all they tell you is , 'why bother, the world will end soon'.

Today, I am pleased to comment about some good news that I discovered recently in my readings.

The first is from BBC News and it has to do with forest loss. It seems that there are attempts to change this and while there is a long way to go, it seems deforestation is starting to slow. The lead paragraph of the article states:
The world's net rate of forest loss has slowed markedly in the last decade, with less logging in the Amazon and China planting trees on a grand scale

There are marked signs of recovery; for example, China has begun a process of massive forestation, which is better then massive deforestation that's for sure. I suspect China has learned a hard lesson on the dangers of moving fast into industrialization without concern.

The Food and Agricultural Organization reports that:
Brazil and Indonesia, which had the highest loss of forests in the 1990s, have significantly reduced their deforestation rates. In addition, ambitious tree planting programmes in countries such as China, India, the United States and Viet Nam - combined with natural expansion of forests in some regions - have added more than seven million hectares of new forests annually. As a result the net loss of forest area was reduced to 5.2 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2010, down from 8.3 million hectares annually in the 1990s.

The world's total forest area is just over four billion hectares or 31 percent of the total land area. The net annual loss of forests (when the sum of all gains in forest area is smaller than all losses) in 2000-2010 is equivalent to an area about the size of Costa Rica.

Obviously, there is still work to do, Brazil, while slowing down, still demonstrates a attitude towards cutting timber from the Rain Forest at an alarming rate. The land is cleared to provide room for livestock and crops, as well as exploration and exploitation of mineral wealth in the region. Mining does cause a great deal of destruction. Still it is good to see there is a slowingn down of the rate, perhaps as things develop this may be reversed the Brazil will actively end the cutting down of the Rain Forest and leave it alone.

The report points out that the reforestation program of China will end in 2020, however that's not to say if the results are positive, it won't be renewed and even more land will be reforested. As well, one has India and Vietnam engaged in the same program.

Another problem is Africa, it still suffers greatly from deforestation and I suspect there are problems from the expansion of the Sahara, encroaching south and killing the forest, as well as deforestation that is uncontrolled because there are, in some regions, no effective government to police these matters.

Still this is good news. After the disaster that was Cop Out 15 it's good to see things are beginning to improve on the planet. One might say we have a long way to go, but still let's celebrate the victories where they are and encourage ourselves to think we can actually do better.

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