Environmental Damage to Africa, Environmental Damage to All
What happens when an irreversible environmental damage happens to Africa's forests? Will the world escape consequences? Read more to find out the answer.
A crowd at Yellowstone National Park, Credit, National Park Service
People throng the Yellowstone National Park. Men and women gather at the Grand Teton, a mass exodus into the outdoors. People crowd the Zion National Park, ensuring that all parking lots become full, humanity driving rents high in gateway towns to these national parks in the United States. Men and women, no Africans among them, swarm on Canyon lands, rolling into towns without reservations or a plan, going into the American West at the same time, arriving with very high expectations.
In Asia, the rural masses encroach the forests. They trespass into them in Malaysia. They infringe into them in Indonesia, which comprises of thousands of islands with rare and wonderful wildlife. They invade them in Myanmar, where thousands see forests all over the country, but with the Northern Forest complex in the nation’s northern region having a reputation as one of Asia’s largest contiguous forest, with Africans not part of the crowd.
The diminishing African rain forest, Credit, Mongabay
In Africa, forests pervade the continent. Men and women encroach into the rainforests in Ghana. Men from outside Africa also infiltrate the tropical primary rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which provides habitat for animals such as mountain gorillas, and valuable trees hundreds or even thousands of years old. They invade the forests in the Republic of Congo, one of the most intact tropical regions in the world after the Amazonian forest.
One thing stands out about Africa, the United States, and Asia: people encroach into forests. Even in the Amazonian forest, lots of people encroach into it for numerous reasons. In the expansive forests in Ghana, activists cry at the increasing rates of encroachment in the past few years. The same cry echoes in Asia, especially over the cultivation of palm oil and rubber and other products. Of course, Americans speak about the incursion, which skyrocketed after the lockdown caused by COVID-19, as the parks welcomed the visit of the masses.
A park choked with cars, Credit, Daily Advent
Americans come because the parks contain some of the biggest trees on earth. They come because they want to feast their eyes, watch the snowpack and waterfalls and the beautiful ecosystem. But when they come, they arrive with thousands of cars. They climb the elevators, spy on the wonders of nature. They arrive with traffic congestions, especially during the peak months.
Farmers in Asia do not go to the forests because they want to feast their eyes alone. They go there for survival. They go there to expand their plantations, especially in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. They go there for the gains from illegal logging, so they can purchase products from the United States, buy products from China, buy products from Japan. They go there with their tractors and heavy equipment and fertilizer, but underneath everything, the reason they go there hinges on their dream to build a better future for themselves and their children.
People in Africa go there because they too want to survive. Men from outside Africa want to mine minerals from the fertile soil, because the money from it will boast their economy. Africans want to build roads to connect expanding cities, because millions of people need to sit down somewhere, need a place to rest their bodies, need to build houses. Men from outside Africa also want money to purchase products from Asia, products from the United States, products from the United Kingdom.
Palm oil plantation in Malaysia, Credit, Wikipedia
In other words, Americans go into forests to feast their eyes, Asians to plant rubber plantations, Africans to look for money to purchase finished products. In the desire to purchase products from United Kingdom and other places, Africans cut down trees. They destroy the Guinean forests of West Africa to the coastal forests of East Africa. In the same way, the Malaysians bulldoze their forests for rubber and oil palm plantations. As for the Americans and the Europeans, they climb the elevators, they bring greenhouse gases to the parks, so now, maintenance costs of the place escalate so much a backlog of funds to the tune of billions of dollars exists.
Therefore, experts are not surprised that human activities in the national parks in North America promote climate change. Many are not surprised that Europe faces the same situation, with trees looking as though they’ve been hit with drought. Many don’t show surprise that some trees in Canada look as though they could be dying from drought, or had been attacked by dangerous insects.
The same trend takes place in Asia. The encroachment of thousand into the forests alters their ecosystem and landscapes. The cutting down of trees, to be replaced by rubber and oil palm plantations, destroys the continent’s beloved national treasures, at once promoting climate change and then impacted upon by the environmental crisis. The replacement of the natural vegetation on the continent allows many threats to confront the forests, such as the threat of flooding, the threat from warmer temperatures, the threat from the despoiled land.
Deforestation in the Congo Basin, Credit, Solidaridad Network
Africa grapples with the struggle to compete with other continents, through the cutting down of trees. The challenge of forest loss assumes a frightening dimension, with data estimating a 60 percent increase in Ghana’s primary forest loss in 2018 compared to 2017, with Africa's forest cover witnessing a steady decline, with the forests showing signs of inability to withstand climate change, with men from outside Africa pulling the strings.
Succinctly, human activities negatively impact on parks and forests, when Asians, Africans, and the rest move into them, as they are unable to show signs enabling them to withstand climate change.
The parks in America also show these signs of an inability to withstand climate change. Unprecedented flash flooding overwhelms the Yellowstone National Park. Unprecedented shrinking snowpack affects the Yosemite National Park, with the average temperature of the place slated to undergo a rise of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. The trees in some of the parks now grow at a higher elevation, responding to the warmer temperatures, responding to the crowd visiting them, responding to the pollution brought by the thousands of cars coming near them.
Though the fumes of cars do not significantly affect Asian forests, they face challenges unique to them. Logging destroys lots of forest in Malaysia. The clearing of forest for the cultivation of commercial agricultural products decimates the rain forest of Myanmar, causing, for example, tsunami disaster damages, worse in areas suffering from a heavy deforestation. The loss of the rain forests takes place in Laos and Cambodia, with the burning of the land for clearing purposes causing air pollution, with rare animals almost becoming extinct, with scientists bemoaning the situation because the forest here may have existed over 100 million years ago.
Unfortunately, the same trend takes place on the African continent. Due to rising materialism, as well as events on the global stage, the Guinean forests of West Africa witnesses decimation. The tropical rainforests of the Congo Basin suffers a slow elimination, accelerating the spread of climate change, men from outside Africa leading the process. The primary rain forest in Congo fast disappears, as the world lost 3.6 million hectares of it last year, increasing the world’s total loss to an area the size of Belgium.
Deforestation in Asia, Credit, ThoughtCo
With the world losing an area the size of Belgium in one year, measures must surface to tackle the problems of disappearing forests in Africa. Solutions should be implemented to halt the extinction of rare plants and animals in Asia. Suggestions should arrive to control the issue of the unprecedented shrinking snowpack in Yosemite National Park, the flooding at Yellowstone, and the signs showing an inability to withstand climate change.
Since the presence of crowds increases the maintenance costs of parks in the United States, perhaps the U.S. Park Service should offer for virtual ranger tours. Perhaps it should do this to bring money for the parks’ repairs, perhaps it should get a virtual reality headset bringing parks’ sights and sounds, or perhaps virtual rangers should be appointed, to carry out tours of historic sites, so the service raises funds to fix the parks, to help draw down the backlog of $12 billion in funding, putting the parks in a position to withstand the ravaging effects of climate change.
Asian governments had been making efforts to protect the forests from the mid 2010. They did so through international encouragements, but they should continue to carry out the reform. They can do this by making oil palm production sustainable. They can protect the forests by making timber production sustainable, and lessen fires on forested or cleared land. They can do this by creating awareness about the impacts of deforestation, especially in an era of accelerated emission of greenhouse gases, especially with rising temperatures, especially with the climate change.
For Africa to preserve its forest in this era of climate change, men from other continents can lessen the pressure put on Africa over its forest resources. They can lessen their need for Africa’s bauxite deposits, coveted by China. They can cut down their need for fossil fuel from Africa, the focus of expansion plans by nations from North America, Europe, and Asia. They can halt the decline of Africa’s forests, or 20 percent of the world’s remaining forest goes, creating challenges on a global scale.
The vanishing forests constitute a significant source of challenges to mitigate measures on a global scale. With Africa facing less pressures from other parts of the world, the need to cut down its forest lessens. But if the pressures continue, Africa loses its forests, and so will Asia, Europe, and North America, because their forests resources already show fragility. In the end, Americans and others will bemoan the decline in the quality of their fragile natural parks, only because they could not stop the pressures they put on Africa's natural resources.
Still on EPA ruling ….
Last week, we analysed the impact of the EPA ruling on Africa. Our good friend, Lindsay Nunez, wrote about how American can respond to the ruling. We now share her work so we in Africa can learn a few things:
What To Eat
Ghana red stew and brown rice.
Credit, Vegetarian Society.