National blog day for the environment

15 10 2009

My Global Event Reports could not miss today. Today is national blog day for the environment, so I’m adding my tuppence worth to the thousands of other blogs on this crucial subject and debate.

In harmony with the climate change campaign, there is a pressing need to stop the deforestation that is occurring around the world.
• Our rainforests are the world’s lungs.
• Less trees means more pollution and climate change.
• Millions of species will be lost forever
• Seventy-five percent of plants found in the rainforests contribute to medical solutions.
• Of the many endangered species one is the Orang Utan. Unless we do something today, UN scientists have stated they could be extinct by 2012.
• The orang utan population is declining because the jungle environment is burnt and logged and their food sources lost.
• Ideas to tackle the problem of rainforest destruction are being discussed by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
• It may take 10-15 years to make a real difference. By then it will be too late – that’s why we need to take action today!

OrangFruitMy particular interest is to help the island of Borneo, as within their rainforest they house some of the most rare and unique animals in the world. Their world is changing fast. Logging and timber trade as well as farming such as palm oil plantations are destroying their home while illegal hunting and animal trade is killing them. Many rainforest animals will be extinct in the next decade.

Orangutans have lost 90% of their habitat in the last 20 years. They’re an endangered species, declining at a rate of around 4,000 a year. There is a total remaining population of less than 45,000, in the wild. In Sumatra, the situation is even worse, with numbers amounting to only 7,000.

As mentioned above, illegal logging and the deliberate starting of forest fires in order to convert virgin forest to timber and palm oil plantations are the main factors responsible.

Orang utans breed more slowly than any other primate, producing a baby on average once every 7-8 years. This makes the population extra-vulnerable to loss and accelerates the decline in numbers.

Orang utans are an important species for conservation. They play an key role in the forest’s regeneration through the fruits and seeds they eat. Their disappearance, via extinction, may represent the loss of thousands of species of plants and animals within that ecosystem.

There are many charities campaigning to stop clearing the rainforest for palm oil plantations. They are also working to stop the illegal hunting and selling of baby orang utans but it is all taking time, and it may be too late for the orang utans and the other animals and people living in these forests.

This is where technology can play a vital role. Via the internet information and education can quickly be disseminated. Many charities are leading their own education in schools and also the much needed fund raising to save these animals.

I believe learning about the rainforest is now part of the existing UK and some international curriculum requirements. However, I hope any school worldwide will have an interest to consider a rainforest/orang utan project.

On a broader scale, there is a lot of teacher support material available on the various orang utan charity websites as well as the Prince’s Rainforest Trust focus at rainforest preservation. One rewarding campaign is that of raising funds to adopt an orang utan. Children at schools can help raise funds, learn about the issues facing orang utans, and then receive regular newsletters from the various charities that provide updates. The project can assist children in English (writing protest letters, developing stories, debating issues etc), Geography and ecological studies.

I hope teachers and parents will use the opportunity to extend their children’s knowledge and appreciation of the orang utans and world’s rainforests and how their future affects the future of our planet.

The world’s remaining forests are essential to the well being of the planet. The key to a healthy planet is biodiversity – saving orang utans helps to conserve the countless other amphibian, bird, mammal, reptile, insect, plant and other species that live in the rainforest.

“Future generations are depending on us. ” Prince of Wales

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