Clearly, it is unreasonable for the developed world to expect countries where the rainforests occur to leave the forests completely untouched when the developed world destroyed their biodiversity to create prosperous superpowers. And when it is the developed countries that demand the beef, the hardwood, the cocaine, the rubber, and the oil from these areas in the first place. Ecotourism is mentioned as a way to source revenue from the rainforests while keeping them intact.
Jared Diamond offers some helpful advice in his book Collapse to steer the planet away from impending catastrophe:
There are several types of action achievable by everyone that prove effective in helping the future of our planet. But, unless you are in a position of immense wealth and power, you cannot make a difference by a single action or by a series of actions completed over a few weeks. In order to make a difference, plan to commit to a consistent policy of actions over the duration of your life:
In a democracy, the simplest way to help is to vote. Candidates can have very different environmental agendas, and some of these elections are settled by a ridiculously small number of votes. Aside from voting, you can find out the address of your electoral representative and let them know your specific view on current environmental problems. If they don’t hear from voters, they will make incorrect assumptions that voters do not care for the environment.
“In every child who is born, under no matter what circumstances, and of no matter what parents, the potentiality of the human race is born again.” – James Agee
As a consumer, you can reconsider what you buy. Big business promote products the public buy and discontinue products the public don’t buy. For instance, logging companies are increasingly adopting sustainable logging practice because consumer demand for wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council exceeds supply. Aside from controlling what you buy, another way to influence big business is to draw public attention to their policies and products, not merely drawing attention to policies you don’t like, but also praising companies adopting policies you do like.
If you are religious, you can gather support from your church, synagogue, or mosque. People are more likely to follow the advice of a religious leader than they are a politician or scientist.
As an individual you can invest time and effort into improving your local environment. Not only does this improve your own quality of life, but also sets an example to others.
You can multiply your impact by donating to an organization promoting policies of your choice. If you are concerned with population growth, you can donate to Population Connection. For biodiversity directly, you can donate to the Nature Conservancy or WWF, among others.
Here are some recommendations:
- The World Wildlife Fund
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Rainforest Trust
- The World Land Trust
- Population Connection
- Rainforest Alliance
To keep informed on current environmental news, you can follow a leading environmental news site, such as Mongabay Rainforest News. To help conservation, you can support Ecotourism by simply booking an eco-friendly trip to the rainforest or visiting a National Park.