When a tree falls in the rainforest, the whole planet doesn’t just hear it — it feels it. Consider that although rainforests only cover a small portion of the Earth’s surface — about six percent — they support more than half of all the planet’s biodiversity. Never mind that you can’t combat climate change without rainforests since they literally drink up greenhouse gasses. Yet it’s estimated human activity has destroyed as much as two-thirds of these ecosystems, leading some to fear there may be no turning back.
To raise awareness about the importance of rainforests and to encourage action to protect and restore them, the Rainforest Partnership established World Rainforest Day in 2017. Every June 22, the event brings together individuals, communities, and organizations who share a common goal and passion: saving these wondrous landscapes. With their lush green canopies, teeming biodiversity, and crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate, these vital wonders deserve to be celebrated — not destroyed. Here then are the facts you need to know, including how you can help preserve these critical, diverse ecosystems.
Why we need to protect the rainforests
Rainforests are crucial to a healthy planet and not simply because within their verdant realms lies unrivaled biodiversity. They also act as vital lungs for our planet, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, thus playing a crucial role in mitigating climate change. Moreover, they provide countless resources, from medicines to sustenance, while also supporting the livelihoods of indigenous communities and countless others.
Spreading awareness of World Rainforest Day
World Rainforest Day serves as a platform to generate awareness about the urgent need to protect these endangered lands. This international celebration invites learning, engaging, and taking meaningful action toward a greener future. Through educational initiatives, advocacy campaigns, and community events, World Rainforest Day aims to inspire people from all walks of life to invest in protecting these magnificent ecosystems.
How to get involved on World Rainforest Day
There are numerous ways to get involved on World Rainforest Day and make a positive impact. Let’s dive into some of the best ways to make a difference this June 22.
Spread the word
From social media platforms, blogs, and community networks, use your online presence to raise awareness about the importance of rainforests and why it’s essential to protect and restore them. Feel free to follow the official World Rainforest Day social media accounts to reshare content. You can also share fun facts, inspiring stories, and rainforest stats to inspire a movement among your followers.
Support conservation organizations
Donate to reputable organizations working to protect rainforests. Your contribution can fund critical initiatives such as reforestation efforts, wildlife conservation, and sustainable livelihood programs for local communities. Big or small, every little bit counts! Check out the Rainforest Fund, Amazon Conservation Team, and the Rainforest Action Network.
Embrace sustainable choices
Make conscious decisions in your daily life that minimize your ecological footprint. We tend to call this sustainable living. There are many ways to live more sustainably, so start wherever you can. For example, choose sustainably-sourced products, reduce waste (particularly plastic and unnecessary paper waste), and support indigenous communities and other companies committed to ethical practices that protect rainforests and give back. Making sustainable choices that would otherwise damage the rainforest is one of the most significant ways to celebrate World Rainforest Day.
Consider what you eat
Agriculture and livestock companies are known for wreaking havoc on the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. Unfortunately, many of our foods are grown on lands deforested for grazing and agriculture. Consider food like beef, soybean, and palm oil; these are significant drivers of deforestation in the Amazon. Instead, look for a Rainforest Alliance Certification label that indicates that a brand is holding up to the pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. You’ll see these labels on a selection of agriculture and forestry products that align with those values without damaging the rainforests.
Plant trees in your community
Participate in tree-planting activities in your local community or support organizations that seek to combat deforestation. Every tree planted makes a difference toward a cleaner planet. Trees produce oxygen that we need to breathe while absorbing carbon dioxide. They also limit stormwater runoff, which reduces erosion and pollution in our waterways. Plus, many wildlife species, from mammals to insects, depend on trees for habitat and protection. While planting a tree in your community won’t outright save the rainforests, it helps restore our planet’s tree count — which is essential to a balanced life on Earth.
Educate yourself and others
Learn more about rainforests and their importance. Attend webinars, workshops, or local events to deepen your knowledge — whatever is accessible and however you learn best. You can even do an online certification program from Yale on Tropical Forest Landscapes, involving conversation, restoration, and sustainable use. From there, use your newfound knowledge as an opportunity to educate others. Share your newfound insights with friends, family, colleagues, strangers — whoever! This can spark meaningful conversations about the significance of rainforest conservation and other ways to protect our planet.
So, on June 22, let’s observe World Rainforest Day as both a celebration as well as a powerful reminder of how rainforests sustain life on this planet — and the urgent need to safeguard them.