If you’re anything like me, you probably thought you were going to grow up and become a hero. But as you grew up, you realized that the probability of making a lasting, memorable impact on the world was slim to none. Maybe you’ll become a renowned scientist that finds the cure to cancer, but probably not. And if you’re like me, that realization probably bummed you out.
There are a million charities and causes out there to support. Finding the right one to give to is a huge project on its own. And right now, you may not even be in a position to help others financially. Fortunately, there are ways to do your part to save the world without donating a ton of money that you don’t have in the process.
There really are a million things in the world that need your help, your money, your attention. But there’s only one you. There’s no way you can fight to end world hunger, pollution, domestic violence, poverty, social injustice, and global warming all at once. But if you focus on one or two causes to give your time and effort to, then you can start making a real difference.
So what’s a cause you should invest in? It’s simple: rainforests! If you want to prevent climate change and save the environment, save rainforests. If you want to help poor people or fight to help people keep their land and culture, save rainforests. If you want to support a cause that’s in desperate need of attention and will have long-term, positive, world-wide affects, save rainforests!
I’ll spend a moment explaining why rainforests should get your attention. If you’re already ready to save them and just want to know how (or if you don’t have a ton of time to read this giant post), scroll down to the big letters that say “How Can We Save the Rainforest?”
I wrote a post about why rainforests are important, so if you want to know more, click here. Here’s the short version:
- They’re a big reason you’re breathing!
- They seriously affect the water cycle, so no rainforests, lots of droughts
- They absorb CO2, therefore keeping global warming at bay
- Coffee, bananas, nuts, avocados, lemons, grapefruit, pineapples, mangos, chocolate, cinnamon, black pepper and much more all come rainforests
- MEDICINE-we’ve only tested 1% of the plants in rainforests, but that 1% provides 25% of our modern medicine
- Oil and charcoal come from rainforests
- 50% of the plant and animal species that exist on Earth live in rainforests and most of them cannot live in any other environment
- Indigenous peoples live in and rely on rainforests, and are constantly having to relocate because of mining and logging companies. Many of these people die because they’re introduced to foreign diseases that their bodies have no defense against, or the relocation itself kills them.
I could go on and on. Basically, they’re essential to the entire world. A rainforest probably influenced some part of your life today. And you might think that there are enough people out there fighting for rainforests. It’s well-known that deforestation is a problem. People have been working to save them for decades now. But despite how much people have protested and tried to change things, the rate of deforestation has increased. People write off environmentalists as extremist nut jobs that are blowing these issues out of proportion. The hard truth is that at the rate of destruction, rainforests could be destroyed within the next 100 years. Which means if things get any worse or don’t slow down, you may just live to see the end of rainforests. And if not you, then your children certainly will. And a world without rainforests would be a scary place indeed.
Rainforests need your help. Anything you can do at all helps in some small way. I’m not going to say that it’s going to make a huge difference if you recycle or bike to work, but if that’s all you can do, it helps. You’re not the only person doing it, and that’s what really matters. One person doing small things doesn’t go very far, but a group of people doing it does. There are other people out there doing what you’re doing, so don’t get discouraged and think, “nothing I do is gonna change anything.” It just might. You’re at least doing your part.
How Can We Save the Rainforest?
- Donate. If you don’t have the time or the energy or motivation to get actively involved in the fight for rainforests right now, but you have the money, donate! It’s the fastest, easiest, and one of the most helpful ways to make a difference.
- Learn. Learn about rainforests! Learn about why they’re important and why they’re being destroyed so you can care about what happens to them.
- Teach. Tell others about what you learn and get them to care too. If they care, they’ll start doing something about it.
- Stay away from palm oil. Or at least make sure the product you’re buying got its palm oil responsibly (a.k.a. not from a rainforest). (This one will probably be super hard because palm oil is found in half the processed foods in the U.S. Do what you can.)
- Write to companies that use palm oil! Let them know you don’t approve of their methods and want change.
- Fundraise! This site will let you fundraise for them! If you have a special talent or have a creative idea for raising money, contact them!
- Like rainforest pages on Facebook! Share their stories so more people are aware of what’s happening to rainforests.
- Buy products that are responsibly sourced. Look up companies that don’t harm rainforests. The list of companies is pretty extensive so I’ll just let you know some big/well-known ones: Artisana Foods, Newman’s Own Organics, Rainforest Foods Company, Amazon Herb Company, L’Oréal, Asia Pulp and Paper, Unilever, Hershey, Wilmar International, and Disney name a few. Some of these companies have hurt rainforests, but now have a goal to end deforestation by 2020.
- Use smile.amazon.com when buying things online. I think eBay does something similar. You can choose a charity to give to and every time you buy something, they give .5% of the money to the charity. I know, it’s basically nothing, but it’s something that doesn’t really cost you outside of the money you would already be spending.
- Help migrating birds! If you have a window or a backyard, this should be easy. You can plant bird or insect attracting flowers or hang up bird or bath houses. It’ll help birds get to Central and South American rainforests more easily.
- Avoid paper products, and/or use recycled products whenever possible. Greenroom is a really good notebook brand I like that uses recycled paper. I think you can only buy it at Target but I’m not sure. Use less toilet paper whenever possible.
Okay this post is getting a little long so I’ll give you a break and end it here. I made a sister post that continues this list, so if you want to know more creative ways to help, click here.
The best thing you can do is care. Get involved in this fight and get others involved too. More people need to understand the importance of this battle so change can actually happen. But it all starts with just caring!
Photo courtesy of Republica.