Growing up, my older brother and I were obsessed with Bill Nye the Science Guy show. Looking back, I can’t say I remember much besides the weird guy in the mouse costume and the segment where Bill screams “DID YOU KNOW THAT…” and states a whole mess of facts and then ends it with a loud “NOW YOU KNOW!” It still makes me giggle thinking about it.
A few days ago I read about World Environment Day (which is sort of like Earth Day, just taken a little more seriously than just leaf-shaped cookies in the cafeteria) and this year’s theme is Forests: Nature At Your Service. It’s June 5, which is actually the same day Elvis swung his hips to his release of “Hound Dog” making it a perfectly appropriate day for world-altering events, right? It’s also in India, which means I’m also just drooling at the thought of being able to attend.
The theme focuses on deforestation and the domino-effect of consequences that occur. Every year, 13 million hectares of forests are destroyed. For those unfamiliar with how big a hectare is, 13 million is the size of Portugal. WE’RE CUTTING DOWN PORTUGAL-EQUIVALENT EVERY YEAR. WHAT?!
So, what’s gonna happen in, let’s say, 10 years? Scary thought, right? Here’s another picture to put into perspective: 94% of Haiti was deforested for firewood. Haitians didn’t have many alternatives for fueling a fire to cook, so they had to chop trees down and are left with bigger problems than lack of firewood. Trees stabilize water levels in an event of a flood, they’re essentially the lungs of the world, and are homes to an array of species. One of those “whoops-shouldn’t have done that” moments.
When I traveled to India for Giving the Green Light, one of the things we noticed was that in Delhi, we barely saw trees or grass. If we did, it was at a tourist attraction or memorial of some sort. Outside of that, India can come pretty close to taking New York’s titled of “concrete jungle.” Even in the rural parts, it was mainly dirt and dust. This is a photo of the Bhil Academy in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh. Can you imagine if your recess looked like this?
The lack of trees contributes to India’s problem of pollution, which my lungs can agree with me when I say it’s quite a problem. With such a condensed population, and almost equally condensed amount of cars, just the idea of not enough trees makes me wheeze a little.
So I’m sure you’re thinking, “well…what am I supposed to do about it? That’s in India and Haiti, none of it affects me.” Listen kids, it’s called GLOBAL warming because climate change anywhere in the world affects all of us, unless you live in some secret bubble that you should totally invite me to. But for those of you who live in the real world, let me give you my own “DID YOU KNOW” segment on how to stop deforestation single-handedly:
DID YOU KNOW THAT….
NOW YOU KNOW.
For World Environment Day June 5th, I’m plan on shaking my hips to “Hound Dog” while I clean the windows of my house. What will you be up to?
Click the photo for more info on WED and UNEP