When talking about water on World Water Day, one cannot forget forests. Forests cover approximately a third of the entire globe and provide support for more than 1.6 billion people and thousands of different animal species. Forests are the source of 75 percent of all freshwater, help combat climate change by storing more carbon than is in the environment, and are suppliers of wood-based fuel. Forests are important to the welfare of everyone.
Yet, each year, more than 13 million hectares of forest land is being destroyed. This fact has caused UN Chief, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to urge businesses, governments, and people at large to pledge to protect forests and all of those who rely on forests to live. Protecting forests does not just mean reducing deforestation, which is occurring more rapidly because of urbanization and increased agriculture. Currently, deforestation accounts for over 10 percent of the gas emissions that are affecting global warming. And while expansion is necessary, it must be done in a way that does not infringe too much on the vital forests that exist across the world.
Forests must also be protected against climate changes, making it even more urgent for the global community to address climate changes. It is affecting all aspects of life, from figuring out where to vacation for the summer to farming cycles to certain animal migration or moving patterns to forests, the largest producer of freshwater.
Ban Ki-moon said that “We need now to intensify efforts to protect forests, including by incorporating them into the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals.” Making forests a major part in sustainable development goals will benefit the planet in the future.
– Angela Hooks