We've all heard the horrors of deforestation and know that rainforests directly impact the condition of our world's atmosphere, but it turns out they affect a lot more than we might expect.
For instance, rainforests contain the necessary materials for almost a quarter of modern medicine, as plants provide us with many medicinal compounds. They also act as "carbon sinks," removing almost 40% of man-made carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
But the exploitation of the rainforests also helps prevent poverty since many of the poorer communities depend on its resources for their livelihood. For example in Indonesia and Malaysia, around 4.5 million people work in the palm oil industry. So how much of our rainforests have disappeared? Data collected from over the past 40 years has shown that an area the size of Europe has been cleared out in order to make way for plantations, cattle farming and urban development. Many also speculate that the loss of the earth's rainforests could lead to sickness, poverty and even war.
With all this considered, what exactly would a world without rainforests look like? And is it too late to prevent one?
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Scientific American: Stop Burning Rain Forests for Palm Oil
National Geographic: Deforestation