Did you know that the Earth loses 78 million acres of rain forest every year? That's an area the same size as the country of Poland. This senseless deforestation is just like shooting ourselves in the foot.
More than five thousand plant and animal species found in rain forests are used worldwide for food, medicines, and other products. About 80 percent of the top 50 prescription drugs used in the United States were either derived from natural products, semi-synthetic compounds derived from natural products, or natural products of the rain forest.
Of the 3,000 species of plants that have been identified as having anti-cancer properties by the National Cancer Institute, 70 percent are from the rain forest. Scientists say that the rain forest destruction will accelerate global warming, and it will greatly alter global weather patterns which will eventually speed up the melting of polar icecaps, raising the sea water levels. This will flood coastal cities worldwide.
If current deforestation rates continue, all the Earth's tropical rain forests will be cleared away by the year 2030. You see, every year those 78 million acres are destroyed, animals lose their habitats and go extinct along with many species of plants, and we lose out on all the benefits the rain forest gives us.
If the rain forest is totally destroyed,10-20 percent of the world's plant and animal life would be lost forever. That means you and I both lose.
There are no long-term winners in the destruction of the rain forests. Who knows, maybe the cure for AIDS just went up in smoke as you were reading this letter.
Sean Tripple, Bothell