Even if you’re at the opposite side of the world to South America’s Amazon Rainforest, or maybe have not even touched foot on the continent at all, it doesn’t matter – you can still help to prevent the devastating destruction of the world’s largest forest from wherever you may be.

The Amazon is one of the most bio-diverse habitats in the world, a refuge to millions of different species that make up over 10% of the known organisms in the world. The Amazon is so vast in size that incredibly, it is actually absolutely vital to the overall environmental health of the whole planet. A mind-blowing 20% of the earth’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon so by annihilating this forest, that has been in existence for the past 55 million years, we are also destroying the planets wider natural eco-system.

Illegal logging to meet the demand of cheap timber and the destruction of vast areas to create land for farming, are the main reasons for the demolition of the Amazon. During the past 40 years, at least 20% of the rainforest has been cut down and sadly, this figure continues to grow.

However there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. We can help stop it. Here are three practical ways to help stop the deforestation of rainforests across the world:

 

Tip 1: Boycott Products Containing Palm Oil

Palm oil is an ingredient that can be found everywhere in our every day lives – from cosmetics, fuels, cleaning products to our own food. It is one of the world’s most commonly used vegetable oils said to be in 50% of all products in the supermarket. However it comes at a hefty price – the price of our environment.

The humid, tropical conditions of rainforests provide the ideal growing conditions for the palm tree. This being said, thousands of acres of the natural forest is being bulldosed or torched in order to replace it with these bleak, bio-diversity destroying farms. Palm oil production produces huge profits for multinational corporations, yet displaces and destroys the livelihoods of indigenous people as well as the species who live and depend on the rainforests.

So the next time you shop, be it in person or online, have a look at the ingredients to make sure they do not contain palm oil. If they do – don’t buy! Perhaps take it one step further and email or Tweet the brand shaming them or asking them to produce palm oil-free alternatives.

Annoyingly, palm oil can also be hidden under other various names such as ‘palm kernal oil’ or ‘palmate’. Read this to find out about the alternative names for palm oil.

Here are just a few brands that use, or products that contain, palm oil:

  • Ben & Jerry’s icecream
  • Dr Pepper
  • Sephora
  • Quakers Oats
  • Flora Butter
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Hellmans Mayonnaise
  • Nutella
  • Urban Decay
  • Jack Daniels
  • Oreo’s
  • Dove (Unilever)
  • Clean & Clear
  • Avon
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Clinique

 

Tip 2: Eat Less (or no) Red Meat and Dairy

Beef is the most carbon-intensive meat production on the planet and has in fact been found to give off more greenhouses gases than the whole of the transport industry. Cattle ranching also accounts for more destruction of the Brazilian Amazon than logging and other agricultural activities combined. Now there are two facts that are quite hard to swallow!

It is not only the open land required to graze cattle that is causing deforestation, but also the areas needed to grow the huge amount of food they consume (such as soy beans).

Cutting out or reducing the amount of meat and dairy products you consume simply means that there will be a reduced amount of cows needed altogether. If you still want to include meat in your diet, just make sure you don’t buy meat from abroad, especially from countries anywhere near rainforests, such as Brazil. Instead, buy it from sustainable local sources, which will also help to reduce your food air miles.

 

Tip 3: Plant Trees (Here Are 3 Ways)

Another way to counteract the effects of deforestation is by replacing the trees that the world has lost. If you are not able to plant them in your own garden or land, here are three ways you can do it:

1: Use Ecosia

Ecosia is an environmental search engine that you can use in place of Google or Bing. It uses the commission earned through advertising to buy and plant trees where they are needed the most around the world. So instead of earning money for tech giants like Google, help make a difference to the environment and support an independent start-up.

Ecosia projects are also allowing farmers to grow sustainable palm oil alternatives and provides legitimate work for farmers to prevent them from the temptations of illegal logging.

2. Donate to Charities

The WWF is one of the world’s most trusted charities in the field of wilderness conservation, helping to reduce the human impact on the environment. They have carried out numerous projects and campaigns to preserve the Amazon, including the postponement of two hydro-power dams that would have had devastating impact on the rainforest habitat. You can read about lots of other Amazon research and projects carried out by the WWF here.

Some other tree planting organisations that you can make a regular or one-off donation to are One Tree Planted, The International Tree Foundation and Trees For The Future.

3. Get Involved With Local Tree Planting Organisations

No matter where in the world you live, there is likely a tree planting scheme somewhere nearby. Have a search online to find your nearest organisation or have a look on CarbonFootprint.com.

You could also consider joining a reforestation volunteering project on your next trip abroad. Use a website like Go Abroad to research legitimate and worthwhile schemes that have been rated and reviewed by past volunteers.

Although the rainforests may seem like a million miles away to some of us, I hope just these 3 tips prove that you can still have a real impact on helping to preserve them!