Act NowHere is a list of simple, yet powerful, actions you can take to make a positive impact on rainforests for World Rainforest Day 2020. Share with us how you help save the rainforests on social media with #WorldRainforestDay.
- Learn about the rainforest
- Donate to rainforest protectors
- Eat more plants, less meat
- Shop for rainforest-friendly products
- Travel sustainably
- Hold leaders and corporations accountable
- Spread the word
- Host a Safe, Socially-Distant Event
Take a breath, thank a rainforest. This World Rainforest Day, take a moment to think about the many ways in which rainforests positively affect our lives. They provide us with food, medicine, climate regulation, and so much more. The benefits of rainforests are innumerable.
Essential to our survival, rainforests are responsible for more than 25% of all Western medicine and house more than 50% of the world’s plant and animal species. Only covering 2 percent of the planet’s surface area, rainforests are dense and concentrated; however, they directly provide for indigenous populations who live off the land and work to protect this precious resource.
The United Nations has officially recognized the vital role that indigenous people play in fighting deforestation and preserving biodiversity. Unfortunately, world governments have failed to protect Indigenous lands from logging, mining, ranching, oil exploration, and other harmful activities. Hundreds of Indigenous environmental and human rights activists have been murdered for speaking out against the industries that threaten their land and way of life.
Learn more about the world’s rainforests from our partners here.
There’s no better way to help the rainforest than by donating directly to the cause. Take action this World Rainforest Day by donating to one or more of our many World Rainforest Day partners who work around the world on a diverse array of issues. Your contribution will be put to work conserving wildlife, fighting deforestation, empowering Indigenous communities, developing sustainable economies, and educating people around the world about the importance of protecting rainforests.
Regardless of where you choose to donate, your generosity will help ensure that the “lungs of the Earth” remain healthy and productive while continuing to provide vital benefits to people worldwide. The rainforest can’t be saved without you!
Despite the common belief that logging is the main culprit in the decline of rainforests, beef production is by far the largest cause of tropical deforestation in the Amazon. Approximately 2.71 million hectares, an area roughly the size of Massachusetts, of tropical rainforest are destroyed every year in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, to convert forest to ranchland. From 2000 to 2005, beef production accounted for 65 to 70 percent of all deforestation in the Amazon, and that number is estimated to be even higher today.
Additionally, more rainforest is being converted to soybean plantations, much of which goes to feed the growing cattle population. Brazil alone has approximately 24 to 25 million hectares devoted to soy production. These processes emit a significant amount of CO2 with the once-forested region losing its capacity to act as a carbon sink. Even worse, cattle release large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.
Brazil and other Latin American nations export beef worldwide (including to the US), meaning that beef consumed around the world contributes to deforestation. Cattle ranchers are expanding their herds into the Amazon in order to keep up with demand. The bottom line is this: More beef means fewer rainforests.
You don’t have to make a drastic change in your diet to make a difference. When possible, swap out beef for plant protein or, more sparingly, proteins like chicken, which have a much smaller environmental impact. Having even one less meal containing beef per week makes a difference and is an easy sacrifice to make for rainforests and our climate.
This World Rainforest Day, commit to eating less beef knowing that it will help to slow the pace of global deforestation. Learn more about the beef industry’s impact on rainforests and share what you know with the beef-eaters in your life to multiply your impact.
Pass on Unsustainable Palm Oil
Palm oil is an extremely versatile product used in a variety of every-day cosmetics, cleaning
products, and food items, yet its production is the leading cause of deforestation in tropical Southeast Asia. The number of palm oil plantations in the region has doubled in the last 10 years to meet growing global demand, and slash-and-burn production causes widespread wildfires, which threatens biodiversity by destroying habitats of key species such as orangutans, tigers, rhinoceros, and elephants. Additionally, the burning land releases an extremely dangerous haze into the air that leads to severe human health problems and causes fatalities throughout the region.
Palm oil is difficult to avoid entirely, but you can address this problem by shopping smart. When possible, look for products with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or Green Palm logo. These products must meet strict sustainability criteria to minimize the negative impacts of palm oil production. Products that bear the Orangutan Alliance and Certified Palm Oil Free logos do not use palm oil in their products.
Learn More About Palm Oil
Look for Rainforest Alliance Certified Products
When it comes to being rainforest-conscious, one of the best ways to know whether your consumption is environmentally and economically sustainable is by purchasing products with the Rainforest Alliance Certification, a little green frog logo. Coffee, tea, fruit, and paper are among the most common products to be certified. Visit Rainforest Alliance to learn more about the strict environmental and social standards that must be met to earn a certification and view a list of certified products and companies.
Buy Rainforest-Conscious Coffee and Chocolate
The growing worldwide demand for coffee and cacao has driven farmers to expand their plantations, often at the expense of the rainforest. There are, however, steps that coffee and chocolate-lovers can take to source their favorite products that will minimize their impact on the rainforest. Start by looking for coffee and chocolate that are certified as:
- Fair Trade
- USDA Organic
- Shade-grown coffee and chocolate minimize deforestation and have higher levels of biodiversity, erosion control and pollination potential. This is a great example of rainforests and agriculture coexisting.
Shop for Sustainable Clothing
Many of our favorite clothing brands have hidden costs attached. Approximately 150 million trees are logged and turned into cellulosic fabric each year for the production of viscose and rayon clothing. Second-hand shopping and recycling old clothes is a great way to reduce your individual impact.
Organizations such as Canopy, a Canadian NGO, are also working with businesses to improve the practice of harvesting fabrics such as rayon. Canopy is working with clothing brands such as H&M, Zara, M&S, Stella McCartney and EILEEN FISHER to move the supply chain away from forests and creating innovative fabrics made from recycled fibres.
Learn more about what Canopy and their partners are doing here.
Support Brands with FSC Certification
The Forest Stewardship Council ensures that products come from responsibly-managed forests. By meeting their rigorous principles and criteria, companies and products can become FSC certified - helping to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of forests around the world. You can find a list of FSC certified products here.
Be an Eco-Tourist
If you ever have the chance to travel to a rainforest, seize the opportunity. Rainforests are enchanting places and visiting one can captivate your imagination and alter your perspective on our place in the ecosystem. Make sure you travel consciously! Adventure travel can be dangerous to tribal communities with little exposure to tourists, bringing diseases and disruption to their way of life. In all contact with indigenous groups, the tribal people should have the desire to have contact, as well as have proper control over activities and economic profit.
When managed sustainably, eco-tourism can help protect biodiverse and sensitive land, provide reliable income to forest communities, and educate travelers about the importance of conservation. When managed unsustainably, tourism can devastate fragile ecosystems through infrastructure construction, produce large amounts of waste, and pollute water sources.
Travel smart by searching extensively for the most sustainable accommodations. Be vigilant: Any hotel or lodge is free to use the term “ecotourism” when in reality, some are much more sustainable than others. Some organizations and tourism bureaus partner with the United Nations’ Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism, but it is important to look more deeply into which destinations do the most to protect the rainforest and benefit local communities. Check out this list for the top 100 ecotourism destinations from Ecuador to Indonesia.
Reduce your Carbon Footprint
By absorbing carbon dioxide emissions from human activity, rainforests play a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change. Despite covering only 2% of our planet, tropical rainforests absorb 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
One way in which you can ease the burden on rainforests to absorb carbon is by reducing your transportation carbon footprint. If you’re buying a new car, consider going electric. It helps keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and you get to park in EV-designated parking spots. Want to reduce your impact of taking long-distance flights? Carbon offsets can be purchased through numerous organizations, but make sure to educate yourself about which offsets are most effective and which meet your specific needs.
Not flying anytime soon? Even simple actions such as carpooling, walking or biking to school or work can make an impact. Protecting rainforests is one of our best hopes at mitigating the effects of climate change, so do what you can to help keep emissions down and trees up!
Vote for leaders committed to protecting tropical rainforests and mitigating the climate and biodiversity crises: Legislation at the national and regional level is one of the most direct and effective ways to secure protection for these valuable ecosystems. Even if you don’t live near a rainforest, you can vote for leaders who prioritize rainforest conservation and support international initiatives on forests, climate, and biodiversity.
Call out politicians, corporations, and business leaders who refuse to take action to protect the rainforest. Advocate for environmental progress at the local, national and corporate levels by speaking your mind and getting the word out. Check out this activist toolkit from the Sierra Club on engaging policymakers. You can also look up elected officials’ environmental score from the League of Conservation Voters here. Change starts with the people: the time to act is now.
Find templates of letters and petitions our partners have written on our Resources page.
Spread the word about World Rainforest Day on social media to inspire others to take action on June 22nd, 2020! Let your friends and family know what you’re doing to protect rainforests and encourage them to do the same. Follow World Rainforest Day on social media, connect with others who are participating, and most importantly, spread the word!
- Use #WorldRainforestDay and share why rainforests matter to you
- Follow us on Twitter: @Rainforest_Day
- Follow us on Instagram: @worldrainforestday
- Like our Facebook page: @worldrainforestday
Our vision is to get World Rainforest Day, June 22nd, recognized as an official United Nations Day. The United Nations recognizes official days for jazz, tuna, and bicycles, but believe it or not, has no official rainforest day! Spread the word on social media and contact your local and national government officials about why you think rainforests deserve to have their own day. Remember to include #WorldRainforestDay in your post.
You can use our free digital media kit to help spread the word.
Plan a safe, socially-distanced event to help celebrate World Rainforest Day on June 22nd.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Host a sponsored socially-distanced walk, run, or bike-ride, and collect donations for one of our partners.
- Have a Fairtrade coffee and tea tasting. Discuss the importance of sustainable coffee farming practices.
- Create a habitat! Planting native plants that attract birds and insects, setting up bird baths or houses can help birds migrating to Central and South America.
- Start a Facebook fundraiser for World Rainforest Day or for one of our collaborating partners.
- Ask your company to do a corporate matching donation to one of our collaborating partners.
- Screen a film about the rainforest.
- If Not Us, Then Who has a page with links to films and information packages about each film.
- Write letters to your representative urging them to support initiatives that encourage sustainable practices in rainforests.
- Teach a lesson plan about rainforests through an online meeting platform or your social media channel.