Rainforests are important to life everywhere on our Earth. While they cover only 6 percent of the planet’s surface, rainforests are home to more than half the Earth’s plant and animal species. Rainforests provide us with many valuable medicinal plants and with food and renewable products from rivers, mountains, trees and grasses. The rainforest is also home to a large number of indigenous communities. There are many plants, animals and people that could not survive anywhere else.
But perhaps the most important reason we care so much about the planet’s rainforests is that they are like a giant set of lungs, cleaning and replenishing the air for all of us. The rainforests’ dense vegetation takes in vast amounts of carbon dioxide, which can contribute to global warming. The rainforests’ vegetation uses the carbon dioxide and produces fresh, clean oxygen. Who needs oxygen to breathe? We do! All animals and people need oxygen to live. That means we need vast areas of rainforest to work as our planet’s lungs, cleaning and renewing our air every day.
But the rainforests are in danger. In many places across the world, people have cut down and even burnt the rainforest in order to use the land for other purposes like agriculture and mining. We now know that removing the rainforest is dangerous for our Earth. When we destroy rainforests, we destroy our planet’s abilitily to breathe and clean our atmosphere. We also destroy the homes of the wonderful plants, animals and indigenous communities that survive and thrive there.
Luckily, there are people and organizations working hard to protect rainforests all over the world. How can we help?
• First, we can learn about the rainforests. What do they look like? Who lives in them? Where are rainforests located? The more we learn about rainforests, the more we’ll understand how truly special they are and how important they are for life on our Earth.
• Next, we can raise funds to help support rainforest protection. Every donation helps preserve critical habitat for endangered animals, offsets carbon pollution and makes sure that acres and acres of vegetation won’t be cleared or even worse, burnt.
• Most importantly, we can share our knowledge. Spread the word that rainforests are important and that they are needed by every living thing on our Earth.