Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Destruction of the Rain Forest

Like global warming (and a cause of it) we assume that the rain forests are being decimated as we speak and that there is little we can do about it except shake our heads at big corporations (and individual indigenous people) destroying the forests to harvest things from it or to clear fields and raise crops.

I was surprised then to read in The New York Times that another trend might be partially or even completely reversing the downward spiral in the number of acres of this pristine wilderness.

Yes, as people leave the land and go try their hand at life in the city, their cultivated land is quickly turned into...rain forest. Naturally there is a debate about whether these new forest are really rain forests or 'caricatures' of same. Read the article for yourself here. But whatever is happening surely urbanization causing new acres of natural (or quasi natural) forest qualifies as an unintended consequence. Individuals leaving the land, of course, does not stop global corporations operating so that, as one 'expert' put it "every stick of timber is being cut in Congo is sent to China." But there is certainly more going on than the simple views bandied about outside JUC. Yeah, it's here where we find the 'hmmm' in every story that might seem black and white.

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