Our Critical Rainforests

Our Critical Rainforests

Adelaide, Australia. Within walking distance of our hotel, I discover a magical botanical garden. Free to the public, in the middle of downtown, this 125 acre oasis includes a rainforest under glass.

The forest is housed in the largest single span greenhouse in the Southern Hemisphere (for those of us geography challenged, the Southern Hemisphere is all the land below the equator including Anartica, Australia, most of South America and a third of Africa.) Entering the glass 2 story structure, the air is misty and buzzing with activity, from birds, insects, plants growing and 1,000 misting nozzles.

I have always heard how important the rainforest (defined as a dense forest receiving 90-180 inches of annual rainfall) is to our global ecosystem, but I had no idea 50% of the world’s plants and animals live in them. And many of our medicines (some anti cancer and leukemia drugs for starters) come from rainforest plants.

Yet we are losing 1-2 (and some biologists estimate the number is closer to 100) animal and plant species a day to extinction primarily from deforestation. Wow! So what can we do? I plan on learning more about the issues and possible solutions by joining a conservation club, visiting rain forests whenever I can and taking steps to recycle and be nice to our Earth. Once a species is gone, we can never get it back. And that sounds so final!