Rainforests play a vital role in our Earth’s well-being and also ours. They serve as habitats for living organisms, both plants and animals, all of which contribute vast amounts of resources for our survival. These include basic commodities such as raw materials, spices, fuel, shelter and clothing. Nearly half of the world’s plant species, animal species, and microorganisms dwell in rainforests. These special regions once covered 14 percent of the Earth’s land surface; currently, they cover 6 percent.
What is happening? Governments and corporations are stripping rainforests of their timber to fatten their pocketbooks. The building of palm oil plantations is one major cause of deforestation. Palm oil is a common ingredient found in personal care, processed food and fast food products. The good news? McDonald’s (the world’s most profitable fast food chain) pledged to eliminate deforestation related to palm oil and all other ingredients from its entire global supply chain. Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins also announced recently that they would buy only 100 percent deforestation-free palm oil by 2016. These victories happened because hundreds of thousands of citizens petitioned the two companies to buy only responsibly produced palm oil that preserves the rainforests.