Only You Can Prevent Rain Forest Destruction

The year is 2036. Children and adults are contracting cancer at alarming rates. The weather has changed so drastically that destruction is everywhere. Almost everyone has to wear an oxygen mask. A mother walks into the local health clinic with her child who has just been diagnosed with cancer. She had read that there are no longer cures for cancer and thousands of other new and old diseases; but this is her child and she will not believe it is true. The doctor tells her that what she has heard is true: along with the destruction of the rainforests has come the loss of cures for cancer and many other diseases. He says, "Forty years ago very few of us believed such a nightmare could actually happen. But now we know. I am sorry about your little girl. The Hospice workers will help you through your loss. I'll see how soon one can visit you; their caseload is very full. I'm really sorry."You tend to ignore what you hear about the destruction of our global environment and how this destruction will affect your future. You ignore what you read about the destruction of the rainforests because you cannot relate to the problem. These forests are very far away, and they are inhabited by primitive people in whom you have no interest. You also ignore what you read about rainforest destruction because you do not want to take responsibility for the fact that you are the cause of the problem.What wake-up call must occur to get your attention and compel you to halt this global disaster? If you were told, "Your mother will be raped and your children will be killed unless you stop cutting down rainforests", would that get your attention and motivate you to save the rainforests? The earth is your mother, and your mother is being raped and pillaged daily. Your children (and if you don't have children, you have friends and relatives who do) are being killed, suffering a long, slow, and painful death. Many of these children will develop cancer, for which there will be no cure. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest, but the rainforests are being logged, flooded and burned down for short-term profit. Without rainforests, global climates will change drastically, influencing water supplies and food production, and creating oxygen deprivation worldwide. Our rainforests, which scientists call 'the lungs of the planet', are under attack by a very aggressive strain of cancer: human greed. There is little time left to save the rainforest ecosystem. According to Rainforest Action Network (RAN), an organization dedicated to protecting the earth's rainforests, corporate greed will consume the last remaining rainforest in less than 40 years. Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover only 6%. One of the earth's lungs has collapsed. You only have one lung remaining, but you are destroying that lung every day. One hundred and fifty acres of rainforest are destroyed every minute.Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University's Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist says we are losing 137 plant, insect, and animal species per day. That amounts to 50,000 species per year. This is a catastrophic biological meltdown that far exceeds anything the earth has seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs. The United Nation's Environment Program's 1,100-page report, Global Biodiversity Assessment, revealed that "tens of thousands of species are already committed to extinction. It is not possible to take preventive action to save all of them." The report further states, "There is no doubt that humans are the primary factor behind the change and yet humans are still dependent on the natural world for survival".DON'T IMPORT TROPICAL HARDWOODS:The Rainforest Action Network has called for a U.S. ban on the import and consumption of tropical hardwoods. This ban is necessary because 25% of all deforestation is directly caused by logging operations. This percentage accounts for 12.5 million acres of rainforest destruction annually. The United States imports 12-20 percent of all tropical hardwood products. Mitsubishi Corporation is the world's worst corporate destroyer of rainforests. It has destroyed native communities, and permanently degraded million year old forests. To cover its tracks, it has invested heavily in public relations efforts, proclaiming its activities to be "sustainable".A major importers of tropical hardwoods is the Georgia-Pacific Company. Weyerhaeuser Corporation is involved in the tropical timber trade by selling and distributing tropical woods products. RAN would like these major logging firms to take the lead and stop importing and distributing tropical rainforest woods. Instead of being examples of companies that increase the rate of tropical deforestation, they could set a precedent as companies that don't contribute to the destruction of the rainforest. They will only do so if they know the depth of your concern about this issue. Demonstrate your opposition to these companies' policies by boycotting their products.One of the first steps in adopting ecologically sustainable alternatives to our currently destructive and over-consumptive energy use is to clean up the mess which has already been created. Texaco spilled 16.8 million gallons of crude oil (50% more than the Exxon Valdez spill) in the Ecuadorian rainforest located at the headwaters of the Amazon Basin. Texaco discharged 20 billion gallons of contaminated waste waters containing hydrocarbons, heavy metals and toxic chemicals into the region's waterways.BOYCOTT NEWS YOU CAN USE:The good news is that you can help stop the destruction of the rainforests. We are all guilty of consuming products without recognizing the consequences. You need to reduce your use of forest products, and use alternative products. You need to refuse to buy products from companies that destroy tropical rainforests. Here is a list of action steps you can take to halt rainforest destruction:1. Boycott products manufactured by Mitsubishi. These include: Mitsubishi cars and trucks; Mitsubishi TV's, VCR's, and FAX machines; Nikon Cameras and equipment; Kirin Beer; Bank of California; Mitsubishi Bank Value Rent-a-car; and Chrysler cars made by Mitsubishi which include Eagle Tolon, Summit Wagon, Dodge Colt, RAM trucks, Intrepid, and Dodge Stealth. Write to: President Makihara, c/o Mitsubishi International Corporation, 520 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022. For a free 'Boycott Mitsubishi Campaign Organizer's Manual' (c/o RAN, 450 Sansome, Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94111).2. Boycott products produced by Georgia Pacific and Weyerhaeuser. Georgia-Pacific products include MD and Angel Soft toilet paper, Sparkle and Delta paper towels, and Georgia-Pacific wood and building products. Weyerhaeuser supplies 70% of the private label diaper market, with over 200 different brand names. They supply such chains as Toys 'R' Us, Albertsons, Safeway (Truly Fine) and K-Mart (Fitt 'ems). Weyerhauser's own line includes Diaper Doublers Insert Pads3. Boycott products produced by Texaco and Unocal. Texaco products include Texaco gasoline and Havoline Motor Oil. Write to the Texaco CEO and tell him you are boycotting Texaco and are encouraging others to do the same until they clean up their mess in Ecuador. Write to Alfred C. DeCrane, Chairman and CEO, Texaco, Inc., 2000 Westchester Avenue, White Plains, NY 106504. Don't buy tropical wood products. Skip the rosewood and mahogany furniture and paneling. If you're a carpenter or building contractor, don't buy plywood made from rainforest timber. If you are an architect or designer, don't select tropical hardwoods for construction.5. Don't eat rainforest beef. It's typically found in fast-food hamburgers or processed beef products. Each year the U.S. imports over 100 million pounds of fresh and frozen beef from Central American countries. Two thirds of these countries' rainforest has been cleared primarily to raise cattle, whose cheap meat is exported to profit the U.S. food industry.6. Reduce your consumption of gasoline. Drive your car less.7. Buy used furniture.8. Join Rainforest Action Network (RAN), 450 Sansome St., #700, San Francisco, CA 94111 tel. 415-398-4404, fax: 415-398-2732.9. Exert pressure on corporations and politicians to stop the destruction of our rainforests by writing letters called for by RAN. RAN will provide you with the text for the letters in their monthly bulletins.10. Educate yourself and others about the situation. The point of no return -- no more rainforests -- is perilously close.

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