Deforestation is Single Most Important Component of Global Warming!

By Lloyd Hart

The number one threat to humanity and in fact to all of life on this planet, contrary to the official U.S. position that terrorism represents the greatest threat, is without question deforestation. I don't mean the deforestation that is happening and will happen in the future but the deforestation that has already taken place. Since we started manufacturing paper from wood fiber aided by modern automation in timber cutting and processing we have cut down over 50 percent of the world's forests.  This single act of going from agricultural products such as hemp, cotton and flax fibers to wood fibers has turned out to be the most single dangerous step toward collective suicide that humanity has ever taken.  I'm sure that some of you might ask "How could this be?" Or, "0h, you're overreacting" or that you are simply not knowledgeable as to the importance of the forests to human existence. To illustrate what I am talking about I like to ask a simple question to teach people about the effects of deforestation.  

"Are hurricanes a natural or man-made phenomenon?"

Well, they are both.  The Hurricanes that are formed in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean are created by the incredibly hot air that comes off the North African or Saharan desert out over the colder Atlantic Ocean causing massive and immediate evaporation of moisture from the ocean in a convection process that turns into the atmosphere becoming a tropical storm and then possibly later a violent hurricane.  But in order to determine the man-made origin of our modern day hurricanes we must review the history of how North Africa became a desert.  Of course, there is one simple answer and that is deforestation. For not only the use of its wood but also for North Africa's once furtile soil in what was a very aggressive agrarian sprawl that spread across all North Africa.  The fact is hurricanes would not be anywhere near as violent if North Africa had its tropical rain forest that once stood 10,000 years ago.  

Imagine that same aggressive approach of the deforestation of North Africa on a global scale and you would have our present situation.  Because forests are nature's great moisture regulator, maintaining moisture banks on a surface of the continents, when we removed those forests we removed nature's ability to maintain a stable flow of fresh water on the surface of continents and in the subterranean aquifers. With the Central Plains aquifer and the Rocky Mountain water table collapsing due to over use by our agri-biz and our cities, the still existing forests have less moisture in them and are more likely to burn at the first lightning strike. Record levels of forest fires all around the globe has become the trend. This collapse of the global fresh water supply has provoked the World Health Organization to place starvation at the top of the list as the number one killer in the so-called developing world and has led the CIA over the last decade to publish more and more reports alerting our leaders that freshwater supplies are the most important strategic issue facing humanity today.

With the forests that we had just a hundred years ago global warming and climate change would not be anywhere near as violent as it is today.  Forests participate in the stabilization of weather systems by electro magnetically drawing the moisture from them as those weather systems flow around the planet maintaining stable temperatures in the atmosphere. But what we have now are concentrated larger weather systems that drop ever more record levels of moisture on lands without forests that can no longer hold that moisture on the surface of the continents and therefore the slow but sure recharging of fresh water tables is no longer  occurringmaking it more difficult for damaged forests and eco systems to rebound. When the jet stream shifts and follows a specific tract, the areas outside the jet stream guided storms suffer record droughts causing the CIA reported collapse of the world's food supply.  These larger weather systems are as a result of higher temperatures on the surface of the continent's that are caused by deforestation, case in point: Temperatures in cities have a tendency to be higher as a result of no heat exchange system or a forest.  A forest takes in the radiation of the sun processing it into its own growth whereas on the floor of the desert or city the heat is not processed and merely becomes concentrated and then flows over a body of water and causes violent convection.  Add to this process greater radiation from the sun, aerosol particulates and carbon dioxide, compounding the heat in the atmosphere, we can look forward to these chemically enhanced lethal storms for decades to come. 

So in order for us to talk about global warming, climate change and rising oceans we must also talk about Deforestation as a major factor right up there with aerosol particulates and carbon dioxide emissions.  If we had the forests of 200 years ago our struggle today would be for clean water and clean-air that are being polluted by the fossil fuel, agricultural and technological economy.  But to our great misfortune our single most destructive act of destroying the forest makes everything else we do not all the more worse.  In many respects as coldly scientific as it sounds we human beings with population growth have replaced the moisture held in the forest habitats and wetlands with the moisture now held in human bodies.  But unfortunately human beings cannot produce clean-air and clean water like forests and their wetlands.  In fact with our very own human waste water we dump an enormous amount of nutrients and fecal matter into bodies of water causing the death of life in that water. Jacque Cousteau once compared film that he took of the under water condition of the coast of England in the 1960's to film that he took in the 1980's.  The comparison was like night and day,  the 1960's coastline was teeming with life and the very kind of plant life under the sea that produces the oxygen content in seawater that fish breathe.  The film of the 1980's showed an apocalyptic site of the undersea deforestation.  All the giant kelp was gone, all the tube kelp was gone, all of lettuce kelp was gone and all the wild life was gone.  All produced by modern man's attempt to remove unwanted human waste from the surface lands that could benefit from such waste.  If our forests and wetlands still existed today we would be able to transmit our moisture and nutrients to the benefit of wetlands and forests as some innovative waste water treatment facilities are beginning to practice.

Overwhelmingly though beyond any other environmental and social issue in its magnitude of importance to the immediate and long term survival of life on this planet is deforestation.  Here in North America we're literally the only culture on face of earth that builds our homes out of wood by the seashore.  If you travel Europe you see that almost everything is built out of stone which is, of course, if you want something to last from century to century is a natural and intelligent practice.  After working in the building trades here on Martha's Vineyard for many years you'll hear often the comment that these rotting wood houses keep us carpenters in work.  In other words, shortsighted economic considerations have taken over our consciousness in this boom/bust economy. When the economy takes off after it has busted we're so happy just to be working again that we don't look at long-term affects of our behavior on the long term economy, the life on this planet that makes it possible for us to exist in the first place.  In many respects in isolating ourselves from this long term planetary life economy such as going to the grocery store for our food supplies instead of wandering off into the forest to forage and replacing those forests with the city-state's and suburbs, we have severed our connection to the ancient understanding that all life including our own on this planet is interwoven, interdependent and requires coast-to-coast forests and wetlands, with some grazing plains mixed in for good measure.  

Deforestation affects the long-term economic prosperity of every living thing on this planet like a global set of dominoes on Benzedrine.  When you knock down a forest not only are you removing wildlife habitat, theirs and our food supply but you are causing massive soil erosion polluting streams and rivers killing fish, shellfish and crustaceans, affecting a multitude of wildlife that survive on fish, shellfish and crustaceans not to mention the destruction of the microbiology and destroying spawning beds. But when the soil makes its way down the rivers and streams to the oceans, nutrient overload occurs in the ocean creating a greater number of algae blooms, red tides and basic undersea habitat destruction. Couple that with the manmade destruction of a key custodian of shoreline undersea forests, the sea otter, the affect on the entire environment is total and complete.  With the forest gone the atmospheric and ocean temperatures are no longer being stabilized, carbon dioxide is not being processed and the greatest contributor to the atmosphere of clean-air the world's oceans are being rendered useless. If the ocean is no longer acting as a carbon sink where does the carbon dioxide go?  So, the cycle of destruction of practicing short-term economics on a long-term bio global economy is top to bottom in its totality of affect. And then, when you pile on the chlorofluorocarbon destruction of the ozone, fossil fuel and nuclear pollution in the air, soil and water leading to the break down micro biological and genetic health inherent in all life on this planet, the circumstances that surround us at this very moment in history are so catastrophic that they require us to take immediate action and begin the process of turning our situation around.  

Our only way out of the situation we are in is to begin a global Marshall Plan of Bio Diverse Replanting of all of our forests and placing an immediate global ban all logging and harvesting of wood fiber regardless of the effects on the short term economy.  To many this might seem a completely unreasonable and untenable position to take but there has to be a point where we actually recognize factual material before our very eyes.  If we do not make an effort of the kind I speak of, we will be provoking our total extinction within this century and with our extinction so goes all life on this planet.  To get such an ambitious plan off the ground of course requires the political will. Well, I can tell you right now that the elite's all around this planet have been completely briefed concerning the collapse of the global food and water supply which is exactly why many of them have through IMF and World bank privatization schemes in developing nations, began to acquire ownership of the water supplies that the people of those developing nations are completely dependent on. When a large corporation like Vivendi and Bechtel go to Argentina and Bolivia to purchase water supplies, it is because they have a business plan, a long-term business plan for maintaining the market relevance of their multinational corporations.  The conservative elite's that represent the military and military contracting as well as the energy sector are reacting in a similar way to our global situation in fact they conspired to steal election 2000 by scrubbing African Americans from the voter list and suborning five Supreme Court justices.  I don't believe they would be going to such extents to take control power if they didn't have something very serious to be paranoid about. But turning the world into a U.S. military enforced colony by securing the strategic oil supply that they need to run their tanks, fighter jets, battleships, aircraft carriers and troop transports I don't think is the answer to our dilemma. In fact, the conservative elite's are making the classic mistake

No, I believe the answer if we want to survive, is we must replant forests.  Even if it means doing so at the expense of the wealth of the elite's which means dismantling the present economic system. The  elite'shave had their opportunity to rule the world and they have failed.  It is time to establish grass-roots bio regional democracies and instituting and expanding land trusts to maintain and reestablish forested watersheds and wild life habitats so that we might at least survive.  I have studied this issue long and hard and have attempted to convince as many people as I can to its relevance.  So with writing this article I am asking everyone that reads it to pass it on to your friends and family by e-mail or by printing it out.  I would also like everyone that reads this article to do little research of your own, don't just take my word for it.