Although rainforests only cover roughly 7% of the Earth’s dry land surface, they have unmatched biodiversity and are home to more than 50% of all animal and plant species, including 225 amphibians. We also depend on rainforests for our food, rubber, medications, and climate regulation as one of the Earth’s primary carbon sinks. Roughly 80% of the natural foods we eat originated in rainforests, including rice, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, black pepper, pineapples, coffee, and chocolate.
Unfortunately, the deforestation of the rainforest is happening at an alarming rate, with farmers slashing and burning the rainforest for cattle, which accounts for 80% of the deforestation, along with timber, soy and palm crops. Deforestation accounts for the loss of 137 plant, animal, and insect species each day (50,000 species per year). About 1.5 acres of the Amazon Rainforest is disappearing every second and if it continues at its current rate, the Amazon and other rainforests will be lost within 40 years. As lovers of the Earth, we can apply pressure to change the way we protect our planet’s most beautiful and important places for all life on Earth.
Challenge yourself to reduce consumption of beef, soy, and/or unsustainable palm oil products for 30 days. These three items cause most of the deforestation in the Amazon, Indonesia, Sumatra, Borneo, and other forests around the world. Eighty percent of all deforestation of the Amazon has been to clear and unsustainably convert land for cows. An area the size of Ireland has also been cleared for growing soy, which is then exported as cattle feed to further support the beef industry around the world. Since 1980, palm oil production has also increased tenfold with estimates that production will increase 50% by 2050. Up to 50% of items on a grocery store shelf now contain palm oil. Indonesia is the largest producer of palm oil, followed by Malaysia - both countries account for 84% of the worlds palm production and forests are getting destroyed to make way for palm plantations at an alarming rate.
For this challenge, choose which of the three items you'd like to give up for a month (you can choose one, two, or all three). Beef is the easiest, while palm oil is the most difficult. During the challenge, educate yourself about how our choices impact the rainforests around the world and ways to find alternatives. Check out this list of alternative names for palm oil on Orangutan Alliance's website as well as tips on Earthlove.
Our choices matter and have an impact!Take on our 30 day Rainforest Challenge here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/30-day-rainforest-challenge/