Our impressions come from breathtaking photographs in magazines and fascinating online tours. We’ve seen movies set in these impossibly beautiful locations and heard news reports on their impending demise.
Very few of us will ever travel through the veil of vast distance into the layers of the rainforests, but we’re enchanted by their lush mysteries.
Are they really home to indigenous people untouched by our world? Are there medical cures in these ecosystems that could change our lives? Can we stop the destruction of these equatorial treasures?
These are the kinds of questions that come to our minds on Rainforest Day. Observed annually on October 19, it is an opportunity to learn more about one of our planet’s least known natural resources.
While it’s impossible to determine the number of tribes that live deep in the rainforest, we know that their societies thrive in environments without formal government or basic infrastructure. They’re called undiscovered people, and our curiosity about them poses obvious dangers to their existence.
Our encroachment into their world seems inevitable.
More than 25 percent of today’s natural medicines are derived from plants in the rainforest, and its trees are a valued source of building timber for growing nations. Many regions that were once vast stretches of untouched tropics are now plantations that help feed burgeoning populations.
This schism between civilization and virgin territory needs a bridge, and we can be a part of its construction.
Ecotourism balances on a blade that can save or destroy. How wise is it to encourage travel in a region that sits on the brink of losing sustainability? Without awareness of the fragile places in our world, how can we make sure they aren’t destroyed?
Forging the best path between two extremes takes collective concern and awareness, and Rainforest Day is our chance to contribute to an important journey. Most of us will never have the opportunity to visit, but we can help foster a vision that focuses on preservation.
The layers of the rainforest seem impenetrable from above. Only 2 percent of a day’s sunlight reaches the forest floor. Trees that grow to heights of more than 200 feet form its dense canopy. The thick understory layer provides a home for countless species.
The ground is clear and easy to travel. Perceived obstacles should never deter us, because the path is always there, and we can find it.