Where Have All the Forests Gone?
What is happening to the Earth? Our home is becoming a barren mass of sorrow. Most people in America are blind to what is going on. Could it be that every individual is just turning a cheek the other way. America is faced with an extremely serious problem, and if it is not acted upon there will be nothing left on Earth. Hopefully it will still be able to thrive after the numerous accounts of human destruction. Deforestation in America is a huge problem with devastating affects to humans. The root causes of this travesty are mainly the ongoing need to increase America’s economic growth, and the idea of frontierism. These two aspects of deforestation tie together well. Together they help define the thought process that Americans have adopted through the years. The essential part of a successful country is their economy. America is one of the largest consumer societies on the planet. Why? The need to gain more and more possessions is ridiculous. Since the nineteen fifties America has seen life through material objects. This has fueled the economic growth in America tremendously. Deforestation is affecting individuals in American society through their need to peruse the consumption of paper products, lumber for homes, heating systems, and furniture. The action that is being taken to solve the negative affects of this ongoing obsession is limited.
Frontierism is an ignorant way of life that is adopted by many Americans. The fundamentals of frontierism believe, “ The Earth is a space of unlimited resources for humans to use at will. Humans are apart from nature and the laws of the natural land do not apply to humans. The well being of humans stems from controlling the environment,” (Chiras 34). This is a cluster of ridiculous ideas concocted by the ignorant and selfish minds of humans that are blind to the consequences of future destruction. Frontierism plays a huge role in contributing to deforestation in America because it is enabling various logging companies to rationalize the need for wood. The demand for timber seems to be increasing in America as the rate of our forests decrease. The selfishness involved with this whole idea of frontierism is an outrage. Americans need to be further educated about frontierism and its persuasion on deforestation. This is one of the main problems why America is where they are today as far as the environment goes.
An average student at UNH wakes up in the morning and takes a hot shower which uses wood energy from the campus energy source. We write on numerous sheets of paper for notes, waste energy by leaving our lights on, computers running, and music playing. Not to mention the posters on students dorm room walls. All of these everyday factors influence the necessity for deforestation. If just two hundred students shut off their lights when they are not needed and only use their computers when necessary than UNH would save thousands of dollars in energy use.
For years upon years companies have wormed their way into the minds of Americans to consume. The companies mask all of the real problems. Many logging companies associated with larger corporations have failed to make Americans aware of the pollution and the increase in toxic gases and waste that is being dispersed every where. All that matters to them is the flow of money that the businesses are making. What do these companies think would happen? Nothing.
Economic growth is thriving on consumerism. It always has in America. The corporate world has wrapped the minds of Americans around their fingers. In the view of one businessman, he admits, “ Our own government is viewed with mistrust and suspicion when it makes pronouncements on environmental matters,” (Schannon). Propaganda is displayed everywhere we turn, forcing Americans to want more and more products. The Christmas season is upon America for another year of crowded malls, mounds of wrappings, and excessive consumption. Over half of America will not recycle wrapping paper or question buying products that promote deforestation. It now makes me sad to walk through the malls and see how people wastefully spend. But this is utter bliss for logging and wood dependent companies as well as the government because it is helping the economy. Is it worth it? Definitely not. They are not stopping to think about the environmental consequences. The government is choosing to ignore them. Economic growth in the demand for paper and lumber materials are forcing deforestation to continue to take places. Recycling is only one way to help this sub type of a problem. Some Americans do not even commit to this environmentally essential task. It is very devastating to realize the ignorance amongst Americans on this specific subject. A paradigm affect within capitalism. Once this is accepted by societies the problem of deforestation is ignored. It is the way we see the world and to change those views is hard to comprehend for Americans. With the expansion of people and the continuing lack of education on the environment, this problem will continue to persist and cause a chain affect in damages to the earth.
America’s forests are very scarce as we approach the twenty-first century. According to The National Academy of Sciences, “Seventy eight million acres of forests (an area twice the size of the state of Washington) are leveled each year,” (Chiras 212). The main source of this is the consumer demand. Paper companies use thousands upon thousands of trees to produce all of their goods. Paper production is not even being slowed down. Recycling is helpful but it is not close to the level that it should be. What are companies doing to rectify this situation? They continue to feed America false information so that the economy does not plummet. They are only increasing the value of material objects and are brainwashing many American’s minds. There will not be an earth left if this consumption does not stop. It is destroying not only the forests but many other aspects of the environment that are essential for life to even exist.
When just one person in America decides to purchase wood to heat their home every year, it is hurting not only the forests but also the very air that they breathe. According to, “The Independent” , “Another factor that adds greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere is deforestation. Healthy forests are an important natural carbon sink. Cutting down forests weakens Earth’s ability to absorb Carbondioxide and releases Carbondioxide into the atmosphere,” (Khan 1). The amount of wood that is also cut down each year to supply millions of homes with energy to heat and run their homes is astronomical. The saddest part about this is all of this wood that is being used is not being replaced. Some of the forests that are cleared get a chance to be replenished. On the other hand the old growth forest , which has irreplaceable trees that have thrived for at least two hundred years are being taken away from the Earth’s beauty. These are commodities that the forests of America will never be able to replace. Especially when the old growth trees are in high demand for their greatness and quality. Again, all the lumber companies can see is money not nature. The air that we are breathing right now is progressively becoming worse to take in, causing cancers that haven’t even been identified yet. Where is this stemming from? The people’s demand for logging companies to continue to take wood for American’s personal use. Americans are definitely not aware of the extent of what is going on it their country. They do not realize that by purchasing what they think to be insignificant everyday products, such as paper cups or computer printing paper and not putting them in the recycling bin is only contributing to their eventual extinction.
The government is more than aware of this and other problems with deforestation. They are continuing to mask or hide this type of vital information from the public. Slowly, piece by piece they are letting it slip through the wormholes of environmental consciousness, so that it does not hit Americans all at once. Not only are we going to have nothing left to survive on but we will be in a huge depression as well. According to a journal article from Kyklos,
“ Governments, consumers, and producers have an interest in short-run improvements of their welfare position….There is little systematic analysis of the economic causes of deforestation and how governments might respond to the actual and potential problems faced by them,” (Amelung and Diehl 2-3).
What is the American government doing? It is imperative to start to educate America on exactly what is happening to the Earth. Millions upon millions of Americans have no idea as to what is going on. Government officials do not know what the affects of this type of ignorance are going to cause. The consumer world needs to slow down dramatically. It is moving at a rate that will not allow any recovery to take place for the economy or the mindset of Americans. Many of which will have a difficult time accepting the fact that we are approaching a critical time in history if we want to continue to survive as a species. Americans need to comprehend the fact that it is not necessary to use wasteful products, such as paper cups and plates and excessively packaged goods.
The only way that America will accomplish any type of cutback on deforestation is if businesses and the government educate people. They do not see it that way though. According to Watershed2, “ ‘The Woods’, ” as one popular show has it, ‘are just trees, the trees are just wood.’ Timber appropriate for lumber-for houses, boats, fences, furniture-has been cut a processed by humans since their beginning,” (Dillingham and Newton 80). Through the years businesses have used devices in advertising to manipulate the way Americans see products. The companies have gone so far as to target young children and even elderly adults. The need to buy and possess is astronomical in America. We consume thirty three percent of the world’s national product, (Chiras 456). That figure is incomprehensible. If only an environmental class was required for children in middle school, high school and college. The rate of environmental stability would increase dramatically. Slowly, Americans need to start teaching children about sustainability and how to live without always craving to have things that do not necessarily show wealth or pride, but gluttony. In a subtle way, this will start to make America more environmentally focused and the economy would not suffer such a sever backlash. When will the government and businesses start to realize this? It is hard to tell because the economic reports on how deforestation is affecting America is not that available for the public to view. Right now the challenge is to fight for education and the key is knowledge.
The logging companies and their affiliates have slowly begun to think about what they need to do to address environmental issues. Yet they have not began to act on those ideas. According to a speech that was delivered about Business and Environmental Ethics,
“ The crisis of communication can be maddening- for businesses, for the average citizen, for environmental groups and government. At times, I think we’ve constructed a tower of Babel and God’s punishment is that we neither her nor understand one another,” (Schannon).
There is some kind of understanding about where this problem with the environment, business, and Americans tie together. Schannon was speaking about how specifically deforestation has affected the economic growth of America. He also addresses the ideas that it has gone way too far and the logging industry keeps brushing this problem off of their shoulders. If many other businesses developed programs that sent representatives to numerous towns to speak with people on the issues of the logging industry and the consumption of the goods that timber supports. A common ground can be developed between business and citizens. It is the government’s responsibility to establish these types of programs. Yet there is little action being taken to develop this awareness. Why? I do not have the answers to this complicated problem.
The government is not making deforestation an important issue in America because it will affect the entire economic system not just in America but in exportation of timber. According to Chiras, “ No understanding of the ecological importance of forests and the free services they provide to humans. This ignorance continues to fuel deforestation,” (Chiras 213). The environmental world is extremely distressed about the lack of concern that is displayed from the government and there is little if nothing at all being progressively done to decrease the distribution of timber for materialistic concerns. At the other end of the line businesses are viewing environmentalist as over pushy and a nuisance to society. They are then taking their views on environmentalists and using them to coax Americans into believing that this whole idea of cutting back on timber distribution is not necessary. The government and businesses are using this as a weapon to help promote the continuation of consuming paper products, and timber. There is no evidence that the government is taking this issue seriously and it is a tragedy. If Americans can not believe the government then who can they trust to guide America into a stable future?
Ignorance is a huge aspect of why deforestation is taking place. What brought on this ignorance? Frontierism has fueled the fire. Before Americans realize what they are doing to the earth by consuming products that are not necessary for living, it will be too late. All of the Earth’s resources especially the forests are and continue to be taken for granted since the beginning of time. The forests that are being destroyed are irreplaceable and Americans do not realize this. Economic growth is booming due to an increase in manipulating the public with undertones of enforcing frontierism. This gives the American mind some type of rationalization for the need for consumption. Can we stop this outcry? We have to or there will be nothing left but dust of what was once the most beautiful piece if natural beauty, Earth.