I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Deforestation = Crime Against Humanity

I know I'm continuing on tangents further and further from promised updates on my recent South Asian trip, but these things must be said now while we still have the air to say them. I believe the earth has precedence over just about anything else at the moment. America, put your petty sandbox tiffs in the middle east on recess and your campaign money where it is needed.

Click here for an article at CNN.com: Forests and Carbon Trading

How is it that, according to this article, our world economy does not factor in the Earth's largest and most vital assets?: trees, the atmosphere, and although not mentioned in the article water.

" 'It's insanity that a single service company, Google, has a market value of $200 billion, while all the services of all of the world's great forests are valued at nothing,' Hylton Murray-Philipson, head of Rainforest Concern, recently told the Independent newspaper."

Meanwhile, the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) raised a measly $160 million, funded by only 9 countries. Is that all that our trees are worth? Not only is this insufficient, the aid offered by the World Bank is suspiciously two-faced. Who's interest is the Bank really working for? In the end money, of course; and hacking up trees is apparently one of the ways the benevolent Forest Carbone Partnership Facility endorsing World Bank has been increasing their own stock pile of glorious money.

It's pathetic that people in the world are only going to start caring about the environment if it proves to have monetary value. Even so, when put on the scales gold is always going to weigh heavier that forests. Maybe only in the short run, but that seems to be the only profit line that our globalizing pirates are after these days anyhow. Despite the fact that predictions show that damaging the world's forests now will cost several thousand times over in the future, we are not changing our ways.

And carbon credits? Who are we fooling? Not only have we reduced the respect for nature by making her a tax write-off, or tradeable commodity, we've tied it to a spineless, hopeless cause like the Kyoto Protocol. Here's a newsflash, but for all of the big talk Kyoto gets, very few of the countries who have agreed to it are actually going to be able to meet and uphold the standards set back in the 1997. Japan even (#4 in CO2 emissions), will not hold its promises to maintain Kyoto's to return to pre-1990 standards. America and China, the world's largest polluters, are not even trying. The Kyoto Protocol is like the UN during Rawanda or worse, Darfur. Weak, cowering in the corner, hiding behind high-minded yet gumptionless politics and philosophies that don't stand a chance in the real world.

Is nothing sacred? Perhaps, sustaining the means of all life on Earth?

I believe this is more than just insanity––it is, and it should be a crime. If we are going to have a chance for a future, we are going to need some realists to take charge and impose vigilant laws on the polluting, destroying, and abusing that we are doing to our Earth. This help is clearly not going to come from any government of coalition of such, whose dawdling, tepid actions reflect a lack of seriousness and sincerity. What else is there? Well, you, me, us, we. We are the people, are we not? If we do not have faith in our contracts with authorities do deliver where clout is needed, do we not have the power to strike with our own hands? What I am saying is that we have to take certain measures into our own hands and make the world what we want it to be. I, personally, am infuriated by the greediness that dominates our authorities and has subdued them into money-dreaming slumber. They are selling our lives short, and we need to do something about it if we hope to have a future on this planet.

The numbers:
Every year around 32,000,000 acres of rainforests are bulldozed. 32 million is a pretty large number, so difficult to imagine just how great that magnitude of damage is. Allow me to make use of comparative geography:

32 million acres = 50,000 sq mi = 129,472 sq km
Georgia (the US State) = 59,425 sq mi = 153,909 sq km
Japan = 145,883 sq mi = 377,873 sq km

That means that almost the equivalent of Georgia, or, 1/3 of Japan in rainforests disappears everyday for the paper for your hamburger wrapper. Enjoy your meal.


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