Also known as
National Rainforest Day
annually on October 19th
Rainforest Day celebrates the positive impact of rainforests, brings awareness to their plight, and aims to reduce humankind's negative impact on them. Found in South and Central America, West and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia, rainforests make up just 2% of the Earth's surface area. They usually are lush, humid, and hot, with an average temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 68 degrees Fahrenheit at night. They tend to receive rain year-round, usually more than 70 inches. Not all rainforests are the same, however, with tropical, temperate, mangrove, and monsoon rainforests differing from each other.
Rainforests are essential because they absorb carbon dioxide from human activity, produce oxygen, provide fresh water, provide a home for half of the world's animal and plant species, are the source of medicines, and stabilize climate patterns. Their loss—of which approximately 40 football fields worth disappear each minute—threatens biodiversity and the overall health of the Earth.
Logging, mining, ranching, and agriculture are leading causes of deforestation, and deforestation causes fifteen percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, which speeds up climate change. Cattle farming is one of the largest contributing factors to deforestation, and with it comes the release of carbon dioxide and methane. Since beef is widely shipped, people around the world play a role in deforestation by consuming it. Soybean plantations, which also absorb less carbon dioxide than rainforests, are another contributing factor to deforestation. Rainforests are cut down to make room for palm oil plantations, which use slash-and-burn production that emits a harmful haze and causes wildfires that destroy habitats. Millions of trees are also logged to produce rayon and viscose clothing. Rainforest Day aims to counteract these forces by celebrating the positive impact of rainforests, bringing awareness to their plight, and reducing humankind's negative impact on them.
How to Observe Rainforest Day
Some ways you could take part in the day include:
- Do something to help save the rainforests and share what you are doing on social media. Spread information about the day and encourage others to take part in it, and share information about the positive impact of rainforests.
- Eat a meat-free meal, or go meat-free for a day, one day a week, a week, a month, or a year.
- Steer clear of palm oil.
- Purchase items that have a Rainforest Alliance Certification. The most common items to have this are coffee, tea, fruit, and paper. Purchasing Fair Trade and USDA Organic products, as well as shade-grown coffee and chocolate, can also benefit the rainforest.
- Purchase sustainable clothing, such as used clothes and clothes made with recycled products and new types of fabrics.
- Ease the burden on rainforests by reducing your transportation carbon footprint. Consider buying an electric car, carpooling, walking, and biking.
- Donate to organizations that preserve rainforests.
- Learn more about rainforests.