Janine Licare-Andrews: Saving the Rainforest

By Cline, David; Van Leuvan, Denise | Social Studies Review, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

Janine Licare-Andrews: Saving the Rainforest


Cline, David, Van Leuvan, Denise, Social Studies Review


Many of us have heard the mantra "Save the Rainforest" without understanding the multiple ways that rainforests nurture the lives of humankind. Saving the rainforests is an urgent international responsibility and will rely on the collaboration and cooperation of people in all nations. What do rainforests offer us and why should people be concerned about saving them immediately? Rainforests provide medicine, food, essential plants, trees and animals, homes for indigenous people, and a multitude of other treasures. AU people depend on the resources of the rainforests for survival. The problem is that as these valuable resources diminish, humankind loses them forever.

Rainforests are located in many parts of the world. While the rainforests cover only 2% of the Earth's surface, they are home to two-thirds of all living animals and plant species on the Earth. Some researchers think our current number of known species may vastly underestimate the Earth's actual total, and that millions more may existespecially in tropical rainforests- waiting to be discovered. For example, Costa Rica is a very small country in Central America, with its widest point being only one hundred and eighty-five miles across. It is smaller than West Virginia but contains approximately 500,000 species of animals, birds, and plants.

The rainforests and their species are being destroyed at an alarming rate. A recent estimate suggests that two hundred and forty square miles of rainforests are being destroyed daily. An average of 137 species of life forms are becoming extinct daily. Rainforests are a critical part of our global ecosystem. They help to stabilize the world's climate. They protect against flood, drought, and erosion. Twenty-eight percent of the world's oxygen is produced in rainforests. They are rich with plants, insects and animals, many of which are the source for medicines and foods. Almost half of the prescribed drugs that are used in the USA are derived from rainforest plants. From leukemia to heart disease to malaria to cancer, the rainforest holds valuable knowledge to help us heal and cure.

Indigenous people have lived in rainforests for thousands of years. They help us to learn what we need to know about the rainforest. Many of them are facing extinction as the rainforests diminish. As we lose rainforests, essential resources begin to slip away and the quality of life is diminished for everyone.

Why are the rainforests disappearing?

Rainforests are quickly disappearing due to development, tourism and agriculture. Farmers burn areas of the rainforest to make way for the planting of crops. The first few years the soil is healthy, but soon the soil loses its rich nutrients and is no longer good for the crops so the farmers move on and repeat the cycle. Ranchers clear cut areas of rainforest to graze animals. Developers cut down rainforests to build homes and businesses. Loggers cut down trees for industry and construction. Miners seek gold, iron and oil deposits and destroy rainforests to profit from their discoveries. When the rainforest is burned, it releases carbon, which causes changes in wind currents and rainfall around the world. It adds to the greenhouse effect by carbon dioxide trapping heat in the lower atmosphere, which may contribute to global warming. What happens to the rainforests carries a global impact, so everyone needs to be concerned about the disappearance of the rainforests.

It is amazing that a child could take on a challenge like saving the rainforest. This article provides an example of a child who has made a difference . Her actions can serve as an inspiration for other children who could also make a profound impact on the quality of life for everyone around the globe.

A Child Takes Action

One young girl, along with her friend, made a decision to act - to preserve the rainforest and raise awareness. Janine Licare- Andrews was born in Connecticut in 1989. …

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