The top image is a photograph of a lush rainforest canopy. The bottom image colors each tree based on its species.

How? It’s all thanks to a special lab built by ecologist Greg Asner inside a twin-turboprop airplane. From a few thousand feet up, the Carnegie Airborne Observatory uses lasers, spectrometers and other instruments to build a detailed 3-D model of a forest, identify different species of vegetation and quantify carbon sequestration. It’s a lot quicker than tramping through the jungle and taking these measurements on foot.

A fun tidbit from the full story:
“On one occasion, he and his team mapped more than 6,500 square miles of the Colombian Amazon at night — about the size of Connecticut plus Rhode Island — flying with all their lights out to avoid being shot at by the FARC, the Colombian rebel force.

Images: Greg Asner, Carnegie Airborne Observatory


For decades, instant ramen noodles have been a culinary staple for cash-poor college students, young working professionals and even prisoners. Yet ramen noodles are a main culprit of deforestation due to the high amount of unsustainable palm oil used to make them. While several large food corporations have committed to eliminating conflict palm oil from their supply chains, two of the world’s biggest instant noodle producers, Nissin Foods Holdings and Toyo Suisan Kaisha (Maruchan), both Japanese firms, have failed to adopt responsible palm oil policies, according to SumOfUs, a non-profit consumer advocacy group.

Bad news for broke college students, even worse news for the planet

Family photo… orang-utan style! Orphaned apes that have learned to love each other as brother and sister pose for adorable pictures The orphaned orangutans lost their parents due to deforestation. Famous photographer Mitsuaki Iwago traveled to Borneo to documents the animals in their natural habitat and at rescue centers. He hopes more will be done to protect the species and their home.
All photos by Mitsuaki Iwago via DailyMail 

Humans. We’re killing ourselves.

- Approximately 50% of land that could support tropical rain forests has already been lost to human activities. 

- A swath the size of Florida is destroyed every year. One entire football field is cut per second.

- The effect on biodiversity will be profound: 50% of all the world’s species are threatened with extinction because of deforestation. It is estimated that 1 rainforest species is now being pushed to extinction every 2 minutes.

- This loss of rain forest, unchecked – to fuel population growth, commerce and industry – will amount one of the greatest atrocities mankind has every inflicted upon itself. 

- Countless life-saving medicines have come from species that only exist in rain forests, and millions of plants and animals have yet to be discovered. 

- Tropical rain forests produce about 30% of our planet’s fresh water

- The Amazon has lost about 18% of its rainforest, while 50% has been damaged by fragmentation.

- The highest rate of deforestation is occurring in Southeast Asia, where about 70% of the area is now deforested (approximately two million hectares per year.

- Originally, tropical rain forests covered 15-18 million km2 of land surface, but by 1989 this area had been cut to less than half.

- Logging, land grabs, farming and palm oil plantations have had the most impact on rain forests. Corruption has allowed much to go unregulated. Meanwhile, the majority of multinational corporations that rely on palm oils have put profits ahead of sustainability.

From toothpaste to beauty products to processed foods – these cheap, modern conveniences have generated billions of dollars in profit and have come at a tragic, yet mostly hidden, price to humanity.

- If the rate increases exponentially, at the same rate of human population growing in tropical countries (2.3% annually)…


All rain forests are now projected to disappear within 50 years – potentially wiping out 50% of all species on earth. 

Think about that. Let it sink in.

> We’re doing this. All of this. Humans.

> So what can you do to apply more pressure in the other direction?

Post, share, use your skills in any way you can to spread this message.

Beyond raising awareness, think of how you can use your creativity, intelligence, money or position to affect real change. If you work in marketing or advertising, do your research.

Have the difficult conversations.

If you’re not in the position to, pass it up the ranks. Every single decision has impact now, and people must own up not just on principle – but for the sake of all human civilization. 

> Follow (and donate to) these NGOs:

Conservation International

The Nature Conservancy


But we need to do much more.

All the awareness and lobbying in the world has yet to stem the destruction. We need a sea change of sentiment. We need to shine direct light not only on ourselves – but also the governments, corporations, and supply chains that continue to destroy biodiversity hot spots.

This isn’t a call for fringe activism or boycotts. We need pressure and constructive results. I’d love to talk with potential partners about other ways we could affect real change, and do it on a non-profit basis.

If you are a programmer, a developer, a graphic designer, an investor, a product designer, a technologist, an NGO or an Initiative  - contact me.

Let’s change something together. 

Same holds in the U.S., and especially New England, which was deforested 4 times since colonization.

Watch: How Europe is greener now than 100 years ago

“More than 100 years ago, timber was used for almost everything: as fuel wood, for metal production, furniture, house construction. Hence, at around 1900 there was hardly any forest areas left in Europe. Especially after World War II, many countries started massive afforestation programs which are still running today,” Fuchs told The Washington Post.

As a result, Europe’s forests grew by a third over the last 100 years. At the same time, cropland decreased due to technological innovations such as motorization, better drainage and irrigation systems: Relatively fewer area was needed to produce the same amount of food. Furthermore, many people migrated from rural to urban areas, or overseas.

Fuchs’ fascinating conclusion: Forests and settlements grew at the same time and Europe is a much greener continent today than it was 100 years ago. A closer look at different regions and countries reveals Europe’s recovery from the deforestation of past centuries.

More of these maps at WaPo

anonymous asked:

I eat meat. AND I respect you for being vegan. I wished I would have so much strength in myself to do the same but I just have other things to worry about. I eat bio though. And I'm totally against animal abuse. I find your answers a little harsh. It seems like you don't respect any other lifestyles than yours?

I’m always honest so maybe that’s why many people find my answers a bit harsh. And I really don’t want to sound rude, but we all have problems you know? And I think one of the main problem we all have is that we are killing the planet we live in, how is that not important for many people? What about the future? What about the future generations? Are we that selfish that we don’t care about what could happen?

This is not only about saving some cows, expand your visions. Understand the animal agriculture is responsible of 51% of the entire gas emissions that are affecting the planet, raising the temperature levels. Understand that the animal agriculture uses a lot of fresh water for animals that are going to be killed just for a stake. Understand that one hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months worth of showers. No matter how they were raised, it doesn’t matter if they were grass fed or if they were in a factory farm. Understand that it takes 1000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk. That animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction.  Open your eyes, because Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction.

By the year 2050 we will find the following facts to be true:

  • The world population will be 9 Billion People
  • The oceans will be dead and there will be no fish
  • We will have lost 1/3 to 2/3 of existing species
  • All of the polar ice caps will be melted

This will happen in 36 years, by that time if I’m alive I will have 60 years. I don’t want to see that happen, do you?

So this is not a lifestyle where we need people to agree with us or respect us, this is a movement that seeks to educate people and make them wake up from that dream where they think everything in this planet is ok, when it’s not. And I’m sorry if I sound rude, but this planet matters to me, the future matters.