When we talk about air pollution in Singapore, we often think about the massive haze we experienced around June 2013. Many of us were decked in masks and there was a rapid increase of demand for air purifiers. The incident was impactful to me as the Ministry Of Education had announced that if the Pollution Standard Index continue to be at hazardous levels, school would be cancelled. (Which also meant that our exams in July would be cancelled) Everyone around me - students of course- was thus hoping that Indonesia will continue burning forests and the haze would continue.
These are some of the viral pictures i saved into my photo album during that period of time :
However, we were probably part of a minority that treated the series of air pollution as a 'joke'. As i have already briefly mentioned, the 2013 Southeast Asian haze was caused by large scale burning of land in Indonesia and Burneo. The practice is also called 'slash-and burn', an agriculture practice which involves burning down forest and woodlands to make space for land. This leads to my topic for today; deforestation. Below is the set of definition i acquired from World Wild Life organisation.
Deforestation is the conversion of forest to another land us or the long-term reduction of the tree canopy cover. This includes conversion of natural forest to tree plantations, agriculture, pasture, water reservoirs and urban areas.
Stop and think. How do forest impact our daily lives? Most of our newspapers, tissues, wooden tables, medicine and cosmetics etcetera come from the forest. Yet, over the past 50 years, about half the world's original forest has been lost. Consumerism and human's desire is exactly the reason why we are losing our forests at such a rapid rate. In order to satisfy our needs for fuel, for wood products, and for land, we chop down forests and disregard the impacts to the eco system and to the environment. Another reason why deforestation occurs is due to agriculture. Similar to the 2013 Haze, farmers practice 'slash and burn' in order to provide land for their crops or grazing livestock. 'The world's rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation.'
Have you ever thought about how deforestation would impact climate change?
Forests act as natural carbon sinks; they are a massive source of carbon-dioxide capturers since photosynthesis would allow them to take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is extremely important as we are all aware of how carbon dioxide is one of the main green house gases that is causing climate change and global warming.Yet, we make the situation worse by burning down forests, which itself releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. With fewer forests to act as our carbon sink, climate change will only occur faster and deadlier.
What could we do, however, to stop deforestation as individuals? Perhaps we could tackle the idea of consumerism, to cut down usage of wood products (as well as plastics as mentioned in my previous post). But another idea is that we could ensure forest environments still remain intact even after we cut them down. By planting trees in place of those trees we cut down, it reduces the carbon footprint and promises sustainable living for our future generations. I see it as a viable option and i think the idea of planting trees, not only in once-forested areas, but in new land areas, is a good way to address the problem of deforestation! What do you think?
Ending my post here, bye!! :)
Bradford, Alina. 'Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects'. LiveScience.com. 4th Mar 2015. Web.
National Geographic,. 'Deforestation Facts, Deforestation Information, Effects Of Deforestation - National Geographic'. 2015. Web.
Naware, Rucha. 'Forests, Climate Change And The Role Green Giants Play | Stories | WWF'. World Wildlife Fund. 07 july 2015. Web.
'Deforestation' | Our Earth | Forests |WWF. World wildlife Fund Global, 2015. Web.