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Tropical rainforests

Tropical rainforests are home to a rich, colorful variety of medicinal plants, food, birds and animals. Four hundred and eighty varieties of trees may be found in just one hectare of rainforest. These forests sustain around 50 per cent of all the species on Earth, and offer a way of life to many people living in and around the forest. Rainforests are the lungs of the planet- storing vast quantities of carbon dioxide and producing a significant amount of the world’s oxygen. Rainforests have their own perfect system for ensuring their own survival; the tall trees make a canopy of branches and leaves that protect themselves, smaller plants, and the forest animals from heavy rain, intense dry heat from the sun and strong winds. The humidity of large rainforests contributes to the formation of rainclouds that may travel to other countries in need of rain.

Worryingly, rainforests around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate, thanks to deforestation, river pollution, and soil erosion as land is being claimed for agriculture and trees are felled for wood. A few thousand years ago, tropical rainforests covered as much as 12 per cent of the land surface on Earth, but today this has fallen to less than 5.3 per cent.

We can only hope that the world governments work together with environmentalists and businesses to use their environmental knowledge and power to preserve the rainforests- awe-inspiring, beautiful and vital for our existence.

TEXT

There was a time when the divisions were simple: nuclear energy was a danger to the world and opposition to nuclear energy was the choice of every environment-loving, green-thinking person.

The process of nuclear fission and the consequent production of nuclear waste and the problems of storing that waste made a lot of people worry. Not to mention the possibility of accidents: the word “Chernobyl” is now enough to worry many people.

Times have changed, however. Over the last ten years there has been a rapid growth in awareness of just how precarious our planetary situation is. The most recent UN report into climate change has made the situation frighteningly clear. Now people who deny climate change are only a few extremists- the threats facing us are real.

This has led to a number of environmentalists making a dramatic turnaround. Among these is James Lovelock. He has never been against nuclear power, and thinks that alternative energy sources will not produce the energy necessary for the six billion people who live on the planet. Lovelock acknowledges that nuclear power has its risks, but says that these risks are very small compared with the greater risk of global warming.

In Britain, the Prime Minister says he plans to commission the building of several new nuclear power stations. This is good news for a politician, who can say he is being ‘green’ at the same time as keeping big business happy. Who knows if it is the best thing for the planet? Only time will tell- if we have enough time…

 


Date: 2015-12-18; view: 138


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