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It is a vicious circle and we have to stop it

It is a vicious circle and we have to stop it

This summer’s high temperatures and the major weather events should have persuaded everyone but the most hard-headed that global warming is happening. If that wasn’t bad enough, at the same time as we are pushing out gasses which heat our atmosphere, we’re working hard to diminish the natural resource that helps with the issue. I mean, how dumb can you be?

Here’s how it works

Plant and especially big ones called trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. It is a convenient arrangement, because we, along with all of the other animals, breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.

This is known as a symbiotic relationship, where both sides get benefits from the other. We help them, they help us. It appeals at the level of logic, doesn’t it?

Cutting trees down doesn’t make sense

This mutually dependent relationship needs a critical mass to maintain it. There has to be plenty of trees to breathe out the oxygen we need. Reducing the number of trees on earth – each year we reduce the forests by an area about half the size of England – is going to have two long-term effects.

In the first place, it means less carbon dioxide will be taken out of the atmosphere which will increase global warming. Secondly, it means there’ll ultimately be less oxygen to breathe. This is not a good recipe.

Fire!

Sometimes fire sweeps through forests like it is currently doing in California. In the past this was a natural process – some trees were lost to fire – but it was part of the life and death cycle. The trees which were burnt provided minerals and richness back into the earth from which new trees grew.

Fires the size of the ones currently raging in California are well beyond that stage. The earth there is dry and the wood is parched. Fires spread rapidly and can’t be controlled. But the reason they are spreading so fast and furiously is there has been no rain, which is a symptom of global warming.

Slash and Burn

Although the amount of forest we lose to fire is scary, the amount we lose to agriculture is many times more frightening. Slash and burn is the name we give to the way in which some farmers are destroying the forest. Their need is for more arable land and so trees are chopped and then the wood is burned to ash and ploughed back into the earth.

The effects

There are too many effects of deforestation, and it doesn’t just affect humans. Most of the world’s wild animals are forest-dwellers. As we remove their habit, there’s less and less space for them to live. We put creatures together in a way they shouldn’t be. We also force them to the edge of extinction when they cannot adjust to an alternative habitat.

The only solution is to plant

The amount of planting is growing, but not by nearly enough.

Becky Day