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Jasmine Dispatch

Hug A Tree - It May Be Your Last Chance!
June 17, 2000

Click image for larger view
If the forests continue to be destroyed, there will be no village left by the time these girls have grown up
Caption
When you see a tree in a park, at school, or in your yard, do you ever have the overwhelming urge to hug it? This may seem silly, I know, but with the way trees are being cut down right now, you may not have many more chances to do so!

Map
We are traveling through Hat Mawdon, a village at the border of India and Bangladesh. From the top of these mountains, I can see out over a valley that seems to go on for miles. That valley is Bangladesh. More than 200 rivers pass through the country. Wow! 200 rivers! The rivers help to feed the green forests and plants of the country, but those rivers can also cause a lot of trouble…

According to the United Nation's Human Development Report-1999, an average of 10,000 people are killed in Bangladesh by so-called natural disasters, like floods, each year. But don't blame the rivers...it's not entirely their fault!

The floods are actually made worse by the fact that forests all around Bangladesh are being cut down at a really fast rate. Cutting down the trees makes for land that is more easily flooded. So, the solution's easy, you might think -stop cutting the trees, and the flooding will stop as well.

Not so fast! The people here, as well as all over the world, rely on the products from the deforestation for life. The land cleared by cutting down the trees is used for farming. The lumber is used for paper products and for building.

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A vicious cycle: forests are cleared so tobacco can be grown and sold so villagers can earn money to sustain their families
Caption
The bottom line is that these things give us the ability to care for ourselves. When we can better care for ourselves, the population grows. More people make for more demand for products. Then…you guessed it! More deforestation!

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Not only do we have to hug our trees we have to protect them!
Caption
The greatest cause of forest loss in areas like Bangladesh is clearing for farming purposes. The second greatest cause is harvesting wood for fuel. Also, over half the wood harvested in developing areas in the world is used by industrialized countries for paper products and building supplies.

Vocabulary

industrialized - developed, modern

This is where you come in to the story! Think of all the paper you've used today. Have you recycled it? Even simple steps like this can help to slow deforestation rates. Plus, deforestation is just a small part of our struggle to preserve our planet. As we grow in number, we are using more resources and putting more and more environmentally hazardous waste into our world. You can click here to find out some practical "Ways To Help The Environment." But don't just read them, take some action, and make a difference today!

Jasmine

p.s. - Please e-mail me at ...jasminehamlett@bigfoot.com
 


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