Let’s Stop Robbing our Own Future
Of Natural Resources
“We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors;
We Borrow It from Our Children.”
According to a United Nations study, the degradation of our planet’s natural resources by humans is rapidly outpacing its ability to cope with the damage. The study, which involved 1,203 scientists, hundreds of scientific institutions and more than 160 governments brought together by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), concludes that without radical action the level of prosperity that millions of people in the developed world count on will be impossible to maintain or extend to poorer countries.
The search for alternative fuels is one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today.
Lessons from East Africa
Globally, each minute of every day, 85 acres of forest are destroyed. In Sub Sahara Africa, United Nations statistics show that Kenya is losing 50,000 hectares of forest per year. Forest coverage is now at less than 3%, making it one of the least green countries in Sub-Saharan Africa today. The use of wood represents the primary energy source for households in Kenya, and a significant energy source for the country as a whole.
In 2013, 72% of the country’s total primary energy supply came from biomass, predominantly wood. A significant percentage of this biomass consumed is in the form of charcoal, which provides 82% of household energy in urban areas, and 34% in rural areas, according to the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). This places an unsustainable demand for wood on the country. In 2016 the estimated demand for wood was stated as 41.7 million m3https://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/how-biomass-energy-works.html#.WsuvJmap28U per year (42,242,100 metric tons)1https://www.sei.org/, including 18.7 million m3https://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/how-biomass-energy-works.html#.WsuvJmap28U for fuel wood and 16.3 million m3https://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/how-biomass-energy-works.html#.WsuvJmap28U for charcoal.
The demand outstrips the sustainably available supply (31.4 million m3https://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/how-biomass-energy-works.html#.WsuvJmap28U / 31,808,200 metric tons) by over 10 million metric tons per year.
Unsustainable harvesting of fuel wood has a devastating impact on forest degradation, deforestation, and climate change.
Deforestation is clearing Earth’s forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swaths half the size of England are lost each year. The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation. Apart from a climate change impact, the most dramatic impact of deforestation is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.
World of Agroforestry
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- New Scientist
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