Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Deforestation - The Sustainable Souls Project October 2017

Hello and Welcome to The Sustainable Souls Project October Post.

The Sustainable Souls Project is a monthly artist collaboration inspired by sustainability issues, concerns, ideas, and thoughts.  Each month, we will pick a sustainability topic and create awareness through art, using the monthly theme as inspiration.  Projects may include art-journaling, mixed media, assemblage and more. The idea is to create awareness around Sustainability through art, one paint stroke at a time!  We hope to educate, entertain, and share pretty things for both humans and the earth.
October's theme is all about Deforestation and environmental degradation.  Deforestation is defined as the following:

Clear a forest of trees....those are strong, powerful words.  

Forests cover 31% of the land area on our planet. They produce vital oxygen and provide homes for people and wildlife. Many of the world’s most threatened and endangered animals live in forests, and 1.6 billion people rely on benefits forests offer, including food, fresh water, clothing, traditional medicine and shelter.

But forests around the world are under threat from deforestation, jeopardizing these benefits. Deforestation comes in many forms, including fires, clear-cutting for agriculture, ranching and development, unsustainable logging for timber, and degradation due to climate change. This impacts people’s livelihoods and threatens a wide range of plant and animal species. Some 46-58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year—equivalent to 48 football fields every minute.

Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink—soaking up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to ongoing changes in climate patterns. Deforestation undermines this important carbon sink function. It is estimated that 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation.


Modern Day Plague

Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swaths half the size of England are lost each year.
The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation.
The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often, small farmers will clear a few acres by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as slash and burn agriculture.
Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also cut countless trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests—which leads to further deforestation. Forests are also cut as a result of growing urban sprawl as land is developed for dwellings.
Not all deforestation is intentional. Some is caused by a combination of human and natural factors like wildfires and subsequent overgrazing, which may prevent the growth of young trees.

Effects of Deforestation

Deforestation can have a negative impact on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.
Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover, they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor to the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts.
Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day, and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals.
Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere—and increased speed and severity of global warming.
The most feasible solution to deforestation is to carefully manage forest resources by eliminating clear-cutting to make sure forest environments remain intact. The cutting that does occur should be balanced by planting young trees to replace older trees felled. The number of new tree plantations is growing each year, but their total still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth’s forested land.


What can you do to help stop deforestation?

1. Begin by hugging a tree. It’s that easy. This is the quickest way to appreciate the important part it plays in your life.

2. And start planting trees. That’s the sum of the domestic campaign so far. Soon, all the neighbors will be carbon copying each other.

3. Also stop printing and go paperless. Whether at home or at work, many of us still have that nasty, lazy habit of not learning to utilize computer files and folders properly. So instead, we print. And, you know what; many of us do this when we think others are not looking. So, there you go. You know it’s wrong.

4. When shopping, move towards buying recycled products mainly. Most recycled items do not derive from areas that have been cleared of natural and rainforests.

5. When at home, recycle as much as possible. By extension, you are continuing with your proactive exercise in diverting the demand for clearing land.

6. In the kitchen, cut down on your meat intake and eat as many vegetarian meals as possible. It’s a best practice and a healthy one on top of it too. Because it remains problematic and time-consuming trying to source meat products that are entirely devoid of being harvested on land that once brimmed with trees.

7. Speaking of meat, do not buy meat products sourced from land where forests have been cleared. At this stage, if you’re prepared to go the whole hog, if you will, you’ll need to spend extra care and time perusing the product’s labels. Also, you’re going to need to extend your knowledge on the multinational companies that produce these pre-packaged supermarket items.

8. To get these things right, your shopping for recycled and sustainable products and your meat products, vigorously check the labels of each item you pick up. A much safer alternative and time-saving effort entails simply buying organic products instead. But avoid the multinationals that have pretentiously jumped onto the organic bandwagon, mainly to drive sales.

9. Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. About 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures. Unless there’s concrete proof that it’s been sustainably produced, do not buy palm oil at all.

10. Do not use firewood to heat up your fireplaces. It takes few hours to burn the firewood but takes years to grow a single tree. Live in such a way that your activities cause minimum impact on the environment.

11. Encourage people to live in a way that doesn’t hurt environment. Try to bring in more people in your community and let them know about how trees are being destroyed at an alarming rate and what steps we need to take to minimize our carbon footprint on the environment.

12. Returning to the meat and grocery shopping list, do not buy anything from large, multinationals that are actively or indirectly involved or responsible for the clearing of forest land. Shortly we’ll be emphasizing the importance of broadening your knowledge on which companies are guilty. You will be surprised to learn that within a matter of minutes, you’ll unmask them. Globally, active campaigners and NGO’s have already published on the internet which companies are still responsible for clearing forests. They’ll also enlighten you on the progress being made to reverse this.


We asked the Sustainable Souls to create, using this theme as an inspiration point and as a point to share what deforestation means to them.  I think you will be amazed at how each artist interpreted the theme and how they shared their message.
Let's see how 'Deforestation' was transformed into art.
(Click names for links to the artist blog post)
Camille McCoy

Laura Roberts aka Hasty Pearl
Sydney Drake Hole-Huffaker

Tina Walker

Aren't they simply stunning and fabulous?
What an incredible collection of art!  I personally love the unique characteristics of each piece and what Deforestation means to each person.  

Thank you to each and every artist who took time to create with us this month. 

Want to know more about deforestation? Here's a short video that will explain the details.
Want to support The Sustainable Souls Project?  Grab our badge, located to the right. --- >
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