The Real Cost Of Development

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BY KRISTIAM HERRERA-CARRASCO, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Boston 17:00 United Nations Environment Programme – A fight lives on against deforestation. On one end of the spectrum, farmers only consider the final result of cutting down the rainforests—the spike in prices of major crops, such as soy and beef, calls for an increase in land used for cultivation. For those involved in this process, it is a matter of providing for the family. Without removing the obstacles in order to make room for more crops, there is no income. Additionally, beneath the surface of these forests run oil reserves. Fossil fuels play a huge role in many nations’ economic development. Limiting deforestation, in turn, disrupts their sources of income as well.

As much as this reasoning may seem practical, with farmers’ familial concerns undoubtedly all the more sensible, the consequences have begun to reveal themselves in full force.  Global warming is one of them, with deforestation one of its main contributing factors aside from fossil fuels. Nevertheless, there remains heavy criticism about the “science” of global warming, and whether or not it is gauging the problem properly.  Deforestation has also wreaked havoc on biodiversity, with a troubling number of species facing extinction due to the destruction of their homes and source of nutrients.

The best solution will most likely come from scientific advances because income has been irreparably affixed to the detrimental process of deforestation. Until the time comes, however, much could be suggested in the way of seeking other forms of economic support that would not threaten the environment as whole. There is, of course, evident abuse that also exists among corporate powers involved in environmental matters; it would be erroneous to assume that companies have already done all they can to prevent deforestation.

The power of consumers still remains. Recyclables are one way to reduce the need to cut down trees for wood, for example, and consumers can choose to advocate companies that choose to utilize them. By refusing to purchase from companies that do not take part in environmental preservation, we can contribute to the decrease in deforestation as much as possible.

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