Friday, April 30, 2010

Funny thing happened to me on the way to work today. I usually just wash and press them myself, but the other day when I was at the cleaners to get some slacks out. I asked the owner of the dry cleaners about the special and he told me that if I asked for it I could get my shirts starched and pressed for 1 dollar as a way of saying thanks for the patronage. So this morning I went to the dry cleaners to take some shirts to be laundered, but it was closed until 8am. I thought to myself, "Damn what kind of shit is this a cleaners that is not open early enough for working people to go to on their way to work in the mornings." So interesting that today when I got to school one of my favorite students had a head cold and was going to the bathroom to get toilet tissue and would come back with bundles of balled up tissue of which he would blow his nose once and throw this bundle in the garbage. Thoughtfully and pissed off about the waste I then showed him how to get tissue off the roll is an organized way with a simple continous fold of the tissue. Later we started talking about the waste of the world's resources, the rain forest, zinc, tantalum, titanium, Bill Gates and why he feels obligated to give back to Africa(Read the blog on he 3T's). I then went on the internet and pulled up a article about the deforestaion of rainforest on this planet and the causes. Below I dared to share it with you, please read and share with others. The worlds resources are not infinite and have a limited supply and usage. I have a question; if a person from and industrialized country uses sixty times as much of a resource than a person from a third world country what does he do with it. The answer is "waste it." Example: when you brush your teeth and turn on the cold water do you turn it off after you wet your toothbrush or just let it run while you brush and your teeth. If you let it run where does the water that is running go? Please let us stop wasting.

Causes of Rainforest Destruction Underlying Causes (

More Than Just Poverty and Overpopulation
Poverty and overpopulation are believed to be the main causes of forest loss, according to the international agencies such as the FAO and intergovernmental bodies. They believe they can solve the problem by encouraging development and trying to reduce population growth. However, the World Rainforest Movement and many other non-governmental organisations hold unrestrained development and the excessive consumption habits of rich industrialised countries directly responsible for most forest loss.
1 Development and Overconsumption: the Basic Causes
The World Rainforest Movement's Emergency Call to Action for the Forests and Their Peoples asserts that "deforestation is the inevitable result of the current social and economic policies being carried out in the name development". It is the push for development which gives rise to commercial logging, cash crops, cattle ranching, large dams, colonisation schemes, the dispossession of peasants and indigenous people and the promotion of tourism. Harrison Ngau, an indigenous tribesman from Sarawak, Malaysia and winner of the Goldman Environment Award in 1990, has this to say about why tropical forests are being destroyed:
The roots of the problem of deforestation and waste of resources are located in the industrialised countries, where most of our resources, such as tropical timber end up. The rich nations with one quarter of the world's population consume four fifth of the world's resources. It is the throw away culture of the industrialised countries, now advertised in and forced on to the Third World countries that is leading to the throwing away of the world. Such so-called progress leads to destruction and despair![World Rainforest Movement]

2 Colonialism
Tropical rainforests are found mainly in the Third World countries, Australia and Hawaii being the only exceptions. All of these countries have indigenous populations who had their own system of land management and/or ownership in place for thousand of years before the intervention of colonists from rich industrialised nations. The colonial powers (Britain, France, Spain and Portugal), whilst exploiting the resources of many of these countries, attempted to destroy indigenous peoples' rights to remain on their land. Colonialism turned previously self-sufficient economies into zones of agriculture export production (Colchester and Lohmann). This process continues today and the situation is worsening.
3 Exploitation by Industrialised Countries
Wealthy countries have been consuming so much of their own resources that they are no longer sustaining their growing populations and increasingly, they are turning to the resources of the financially poorer countries. "Twenty per cent of the world's population is using 80 % of the world's resources" (Orams & McQuire).
Currently, although many indigenous people are claiming their culture and rights, they face stubborn opposition, as the governments in their own countries have often 'adopted the same growth-syndrome as their Western neighbours, with the emphasis on maximising exports, revenues and exploiting resources for short-term gain. Corruption in government, the military and economic powers is well known' (Orams & McQuire).
The problem is made worse by the low price for most Third World exports on the international market. The United States has been accused of manipulating prices for agricultural commodities for its own benefit at the expense of tropical countries

4 The Debt Burden
The governments of the financially poorer countries feel they need to make money in order to repay their huge international debts. In the 1970's and 80's, they borrowed vast sums of money from development agencies in industrialised countries in order to improve their own economies. Most are still battling to make repayments due to escalating interest rates (Orams & McQuire).
Since 1987, the flow of debt repayments from Third World countries to rich countries has exceeded the flow of aid money going to Third World countries (RIC). Poor countries feel compelled to exploit their natural resources, including their forests, partly to earn foreign exchange for servicing their debts. Non-government organisations in Third World countries have for many years been pointing out that there is no chance of stopping impoverishment and destruction of nature without a solution to the debt crisis.
For example, in some countries in South-East Asia, the construction of roads for logging operations was funded by Japanese aid. Later, the forests were exploited by Japanese timber companies. The timber companies made the profits and the South-East Asian countries were left owing Japan money for the construction of the roads (Orams & Maquire).

5 The Role of Poverty and Overpopulation
Poverty, while undeniably responsible for much of the damage to rainforests, has to a large extent been brought about by the greed of the rich industrialised nations and the Third World elites who seek to emulate them. Development, which is often seen as the solution to world poverty, seldom helps those whose need is greatest. It is often the cause rather than the cure for poverty.The claim that overpopulation is the cause of deforestation is used by many governments and aid agencies as an excuse for inaction. In tropical countries, pressure from human settlement comes about more from inequitable land distribution that from population pressure. In general, most of the land is owned by a small but powerful elite which displaces poor farmers into rainforest areas. So long as these elites maintain their grip on power, lasting land reform will be difficult to achieve.
Overpopulation is not a problem exclusive to Third World countries. An individual in an industrialised country is likely to consume in the order of sixty times as much of the world's resources as a person in a poor country. The growing populations in rich industrialised nations are therefore responsible for much of the exploitation of the earth, and there is a clear link between the overconsumption in rich countries and deforestation in the tropical forests.

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