Top News

LETTER: The planet's 'lungs' are suffering

Climate change will render some aspects of our natural world extinct. —
123RF Stock Photo

In among all the news of political anxiety, COVID-19 vaccines and mutations, provincial bankruptcy and a thousand other concerns, it has been reported that the Amazon rainforest is balanced precariously on the edge of destruction.

Unless logging and agricultural clearing are stopped very soon, the rainforest will no longer produce enough oxygen to keep our air breathable. The South American nations that own Amazon Basin territory are not doing enough to counter the degradation and destruction of the forest.

The two great rainforest regions, Congo and Amazon, produce less oxygen, and capture less carbon as the years go by, leaving our global atmosphere less capable of supporting life. We used to think of these two major oxygen-producing and carbon-capturing rainforests as “the lungs of the planet,” as it was thanks to these broad-leaf forests that the Earth’s atmosphere was being “purified.” As industrialization continues to spread throughout the world, our planetary “lungs” are suffering.

Admittedly, it is not only industrial pollution that is damaging these lungs — forest-clearing for agricultural purposes is also a factor. Beef-cattle grazing is another danger to the forests. Most developing societies seem to regard beef as preferable to traditional foods, and beef-cattle produce CO2, while traditional food-plant produce oxygen while they are growing. So, as the oxygen-producing forests are being cut down, CO2-producing animals are being introduced. Plus, global warming is killing trees!

Obviously, this switch does not favour life on our planet. Most of us would, given a choice, prefer to continue living here, but some believe the choice has been taken from us. Multinational corporations have control of both the lumbering and the cattle-grazing industries, and these corporations are more interested in financial profit than in the health of our atmosphere.

Our planetary lungs are seriously damaged, and we cannot survive without them. In a sane, reasonable world, we would be protecting and repairing our lungs, but single-minded capitalists prefer making money to preserving life. That sounds outrageously lunatic, but it’s where we are today. We all need oxygen, so we’re all responsible for keeping the rainforests alive.

Ed Healy,


Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories