Why are we destroying the rainforests? There is a short answer to that question: money!
Countries with rainforests cut down about 50,000 square kilometres of trees every year, and sell the wood to the rich countries of the north. Most rainforest wood from Latin America goes to North America; wood from Africa goes to the world’s rainforest wood goes to Japan.
Switzerland stopped buying rainforest wood in 1982. Has your country stopped buying rainforest wood?
Remember: if you want to help the rainforests, you must never buy furniture made of rainforest wood!
When people look for metals in the rainforest, they also destroy the forests. When people look for gold in the Amazon forest, they use deadly mercury to wash the gold. The mercury goes into the rivers where it kills fish and other animals.
International businesses buy rainforests in Latin America where land is very cheap. They cut down the trees, sell the wood, and then use the land for cows.
Thousands of trees and animals have died, and forest people have lost their homes, so that today North Americans can eat cheap meat. Ninety per cent of Latin American meat goes to North America because it is so cheap.
All over the world, people eat 140 million tonnes of meat every year. And the rich countries of the north eat sixty per cent of this.
Many countries cut down rainforests and plant coffee and sugar, which they can sell to rich countries. Not many insects and animals can live in coffee or sugar plantations because they damage the coffee and sugar.