Eva Dominguez, The Writing River Editor

What is deforestation?  Deforestation is when forests are destroyed permanently and used for other purposes.  The tree population is rapidly decreasing by the day: experts estimate that a chunk of land the size of a soccer field is lost every second.  If we ignore deforestation and believe that everything will be fine “it’ll go away”, that’s what they say.  But believe me, that’s not the case.  We lose 15.3 billion trees every year.  So just because people choose to take and take and take.  Those are the biggest misconceptions that we make.  

Forests cover more than 30% of our planet and we can’t lose that.  More and more vanish every day, 3.9 million square miles cut down since the 20th century.  Our forests provide food, medicine, and 13.4 million people with jobs.  Plus another 41 million people with jobs related to our forests.  

Forests and agriculture make up 24% of greenhouse gas submission.  When trees are cut down, their corpse releases the carbon dioxide they’ve stored up over the years into the atmosphere.  Trees are the reason we have oxygen to breathe.  Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water.  This oxygen is in the air we breathe and we need the oxygen from the trees to breathe properly.  So if we lose all of our trees we won’t be alive much longer.  

Trees provide shelter and homes for animals.  Eighty percent of animals and plants can be found in forests and tropical rainforests.  Trees aren’t only for homes they also serve as a play structure and entertainment.  Some estimate four to six thousand rainforest species go extinct each year.  Think about it.  Taking away all of these trees would be like taking away your house, tv, and the field from your school.  Why bring it on our animals?

At this point, you may be asking, well why do we even destroy our forests in the first place?  There are many different reasons, things such as agriculture which is simply farmers chopping down trees to plant crops like soybeans and cocoa.  Also to make room to raise livestock for meat.  Logging operations provide the world’s supply of wood and paper products wipe out many trees each year.  Sometimes when we cut down trees we develop the land for more urban living areas.  Palm oil, which ties into agriculture is a huge worry and is one of the main reasons for our loss of trees.

Some might say that we should take a couple of years to assess the situation, but they are very wrong.  According to National Geographic, our world’s rainforests could disappear within 100 years.  I believe that the sooner we act the sooner our earth will recover.  We can all make a change by doing small things.  Even as kids we can all bring awareness.  Here are a couple of things we can do to make a change:


  • Plant a tree
  • Make a poster to raise awareness
  • Write an essay to raise awareness
  • Lead a group to do some gardening
  • Take care of the trees we do have


We can all do something to make our world a better place.  We need to act fast and now.  Together we can stop deforestation and restore the homes, the play structures, the entertainment that are our trees.  Trees mean something different to all of us, but I do know they are important to us all.  There is so much to lose and so little time.  Start with simple things like informing yourself.  Get the facts!  Watch videos like “Rang-tan: the story of dirty palm oil” dedicated to the 25 orangutans we lose every day as a result of deforestation and visiting websites like “Trees For the Future”.  All you have to do is dedicate as little as minutes to make our world a better place.  What will you do with the chance to fix what’s not broken, but bent?  What will you do to change the world?