KS3 Prize Winners
First Place: Georgina Gard
Old Palace of John Whitgift
How on Earth Can We Save the Rainforests?
Saving our rainforests is always going to be a huge and daunting task, because some people just don’t care- as a matter of fact, only about half of my class cares about the rainforests, that’s about 10 people out of 20. They would probably disagree with me and say that it is not that they don’t care, but that they feel there is nothing that they can do to help. This is where we need to focus, persuading people that no matter how small their contribution may be; it will still be something.
I believe that, in order to save our rainforests, it is essential to get the public motivated; unfortunately the rainforest problem has become a neutral feeling for a large majority of the public as it has been going on for so long; so we really need to grab their attention and educate them on how they can help. This is simple, I believe that we could set up small awareness centres in every town for teenagers and others for younger children, this way we could educate them on how they are able to help, recycling everything they can, don’t leave water running needlessly, wear more layers if you get cold in the house and don’t turn the heating on, use public transport wherever and whenever possible and so many other simple things!
It is vital that we educate people what to do, this is massively important because if we can get the public aware of the deadly threat we are having on the rainforest and its thousands of precious species, united we can all help, and preserve this magnificent ecosystem for many hundreds of years to come.
However, this won’t stop some companies chopping down acres and acres of rainforest every day, somehow we need to stop this. Obviously it is important that we have materials for products but they cannot go on destroying the rainforests and the many thousands of life forms it harbours. The official leaders of the various companies should have to sign a government approved contract saying that they will not chop down vast areas of rainforest, they will not chop down areas where there are endangered or threatened species of plants or animals, any areas they do chop down will have to be done in a humane way and not threaten the lives of any animals, and areas they do chop down will have to be re-planted.
For public persuasion we need to advertise more about- not necessarily donations to hundreds of charities but about the importance of the rainforests, on the television we should put more adverts about the rainforests and how you can help, you being just a regular person, you being someone with not much money, you not being someone who can go flying over to rainforests and help there, you being someone who just needs to be told there and then simple things you can do. These adverts need to be shocking and really show the importance of the ecosystem; we need to have big billboards around with steps on how you can help (obviously being made from recycled materials). Also we could advertise on the Internet such as pop-up adverts, and have advertisements on popular websites such as face book or twitter.
We just really need to make people think, ‘Wow this must be getting serious, I should really do something to help.’ And this is what the rainforest needs us to do, we live on this world and therefore we need to look after it, because otherwise we will regret it for as long as mankind lives.
The thing is, is that it is no effort for us each do our bit to help, people need to understand that they should care and should help because without the rainforests we are nothing, we will not be able to sustain ourselves and so, by just turning off the tap, or turning out your light, you will be doing your part in not just saving our glorious rainforest and its astonishing life forms, but you will be saving our world.
Second Place: Callum James
How on Earth can we save the rainforests?
Money is the driving force behind the destruction of the rain forest. There are three parties involved, the governments, the companies and the land owners. The governments need to pay debts, and keep the economy flowing. The companies need to make a profit by creating large revenue from minimal spending. And the land owners are often desperate for the money they need to feed their families and keep them safe. Without this money the economy would collapse. And with limited sources,the apparent answer seems to be plundering the rain forest for profit.
A company will pay a landowner maybe $400 per acre to harvest the timber from the land. They will then go on to sell this timber for several times that amount. This will leave the land open for the owner to farm herd cattle, this may earn him $60 per acre, but can be a constant source. So this seems to be the economical answer to the financial dilemma. The land owners earn $400, followed by a steady income, the companies make thousands in profit and the economy is OK.
But there is only so much timber to be harvested, and the land owner will have no financial savings to fall back onto once the initial $400 is spent. One disease or disaster could wipe out all of his cattle, leaving him no money, no cattle and no timber.
So it seems that to save the rainforest, a viable financial solution must be offered not to the companies involved, but the land owners who sell the timber to live. Without that money they will not survive. All the rainforest is to them is a barrier between them and their livelihood.
But there is another solution, a way to turn the rainforest into something much more than just a problem to be sold off. The rainforest has many plants which can be harvested, creating a profit 40 times that of herding cattle. Plants like rubber, chocolate, nickel and many other fruits and nuts exist in the rainforest as well as other medicinal plants. And by using these as a source of income the land owner could create $2,400 per acre.
But this is not just a hypothetical idea; it is being put into practise by many organisations across South America and has been proven viable. Tribes and families are making money via sustainable sources supported in this delicate echo system. There is a large market for these plants, nuts and oils that still has plenty of room to grow. Here is a field that can be exploited and sustained by the local inhabitants.
Plants like cocoa are in high demand across the world, and even though many cocoa farmers are treated poorly by the larger companies to which they sell their products, there are increasing amounts of fair trade and rainforest alliance chocolate companies available for the farmers to work for. Cocoa has such a large market that it is extremely unlikely that farmers will struggle to sell their crop.In July 2010 prices for cocoa came to its highest in over thirty years, the industry is booming.
Markets like cocoa will open up a new world of profit for the land owners, giving them another, better choice. If the local tribes and families are educated to the rainforests true wealth, then the timber companies will not be able to cut down the trees, which will be encouraged to regrow. Money makes the world go round, it was behind the force that destroyed the rainforest, and can now be behind the force that will save the rainforest.
Third Place (joint): Cat Eccles
How On Earth Can We Save The Rainforests?
Education about the rainforests is what separates the people who are illegally cutting down the trees and the people who are campaigning for change and to stop the destruction against the rainforests. I feel that if the residents and workers of the rainforest knew what they were doing and the irreversible negative impact that they were making then they would stop. If we could show them ways of living and ways to make a living that are not just more sustainable but are also friendlier to the universe then we could have a chance of winning the battle of destruction and deforestation.
I think that firstly it would be important to show those who are living off the profits of the rainforest how to grow plants or cut down sensibly and plant new trees afterwards. This is a much better way of keeping the culture of the rainforest alive whilst keeping the actual rainforest alive too! The media should take a more extensive role in this than what they are already doing; they need to appeal to those who can help, to help. Perhaps, sponsoring the rainforest could help to provide the funds needed to set up schools and provide education for the new generation. Our generation is the generation that has to deal with the impact of the generation before. It is important not only to educate our generation but future generations as well. The media can also help in explaining to others how it is important to try and buy products that are Fairtrade and that are from a sustainable source and approved by the Rainforest Alliance.
However, it can be even simpler than that. Recycling and re-using old paper and furniture is key and also a message that we should all be sending out is to simply: Use less. Simply using less paper, only using things you know that you will need and when it comes to ready-meals try and make your own food with fresh ingredients. The packaging and plastic used in the food packaging is normally not biodegradable and a lot of the ingredients will not have been fairly made or sold. It is also important that we consider alternatives to excessive use of wood. Perhaps using materials that are more sustainable like recycled materials or sustainable wood or even bio-degradable plastic, this could make a huge difference. And if the governments of countries like Brazil and Borneo bought into this trade and also bought into the trade of selling their naturally occurring medicines then they could dig themselves out of their unethical debts and make profits from sustainable and friendly exports, selling them at a fair price.
Conservation of the rainforests and not just its human inhabitants but its animals as well is another important issue. We can solve this by people campaigning for change, people supporting rainforest charities and also sending actual people to go and help the inhabitants and show them, physically, how they can really make a difference by replacing their old chopped-down rainforest with a vibrant and flourishing brand new one. It will preserve the planet as it regulates the climate and it can also save whole species of life.
It is important not to blame certain individuals for the way our rainforests are being treated.
We should be encouraged to work as a global community…we have one planet and no other.
We have to work together to control our planet’s upkeep and keep it healthy. It is everyone’s responsibility and it is up to us to save it.
Save our rainforests, save the planet.
Third Place (joint): Ben Sharp
Uckfield Community Technology College
Do we really need to save the rain forests?
People that believe in saving the rainforests claim that its destruction will change the world’s weather patterns (1) but the world has gone through many changes before. Ice ages, with vast plains of ice sheets, hotter periods with extremely large deserts. Over many centuries the temperature has risen and dropped yet these changes were out of our control, so how do we know that our environment isn’t just changing by itself all over again?
But of course, that is not all that these environmentalists and tree-huggers will have you believe. A second argument is that ancient tribes, and their cultures, will be lost:
In total there are 50 million tribal people (2) living in forests around the globe, that is only about as many people as live in the UK! How selfish to hold back the rest of the world from materials that we must use to advance our technology, and the farming land needed to feed growing populations.
The tribes don’t even want to be there. When you watch documentaries about people that can’t get an education it’s because they won’t move the people to cities where they all want to be. Where would our own people be if we hadn’t left the caves and forests of yesterday? These primitive people want Ipods, education and Big Macs don’t they?
Furthermore, people that want the Rainforests to remain, claim that natural medicines found in plants are only available in Rainforests:
If we look at the scientific technology of today’s world we can create limbs, organs and artificial life. Medicines are easy to create in the lab and a lot cheaper to harvest and use. Four-fifths of medicine is already made artificially (3). As we are in a recession globally, and £0.932 trillion in debt in the UK (4), we can hardly afford to waste money on expensive schemes to harvest the chemicals from plants that might not even be there.
Additionally, they claim that many animal habitats will be destroyed:
Well this is true and there is no denying it, but we can’t let animals stop us from advancing. Existence is, after all, about the survival of the fittest. We need these materials so much that some large sacrifices will have to be made, but we can put some species in special parks nearby to continue breeding.
Finally, environmentalists are complaining about the amount of illegal logging and that it should be stopped:
If you lived in the most barren of places, with no chance of ever getting a proper education, how are you supposed to earn a living? Mankind will do anything to survive and protect their loved ones. If people need trees cut down to live or to earn a basic wage then that is one of the peoples only ways to survive. We did it that way across Europe. All we need to do is to plant a tree for every tree cut down.
If you are reassured by some of these common excuses, where the author suggests that we don’t need to save the forests, then they will never be saved. Most western people only care about things that affect them, the rainforests seem a distant issue. It is easy from this far away to believe the excuses for not taking responsibility. We can only make a difference if we truly recognize the part we can play, work as a globe, and then change will happen, and we can save the rainforests, and ultimately our planet.
Sources: See footnotes. Greenpeace Official web-site (YouTube Movie). BBC Focus magazine.
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