Fate of our Forest

Image from pachamama.org
Image from pachamama.org
Image from webloggy.com
Image from webloggy.com
Image from worldtreetrust.com
Image from worldtreetrust.com
Image from thewe.cc
Image from thewe.cc
Image from earthobservatory.nasa.gov.
Image from earthobservatory.nasa.gov.
Image from Wallpapers
Image from Wallpapers

“Deforestation has a devastating effect on the natural environment and local communities to accommodate growing urbanisation and rising populations. This is ultimately unsustainable and we must stop the pulverisation of the environment for the sake of the planet.”

Deforestation is a massive environmental problem (amongst other issues) globally, in particular in the Amazon Region in South America, affecting the world. Firstly let us define deforestation as, ‘….the clearing, destroying or otherwise removal of trees through deliberate, natural or accidental means. It can occur in any area densely populated by trees and other plant life.’ (1) Trees have a major role supplying wood, water, medicines and of course oxygen to allow human life to exist. Further The World Bank estimates that forests contribute to the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people, which is 1 in 6 people and that 60 million are totally dependent on forests, so therefore preserving our forests is of the utmost concern (2).

Sadly the planet has lost 80 percent of its forest cover due to deforestation. The most impacted region is the Amazon in South America, followed by Africa. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons, the former is the biggest rainforest in the world (3) and both places are home to some of the poorest people in the world. The West African region for example which boasted lush green forests for much of the 19th century has lost 90 percent of its forest cover over the last century (4).

Brazil has the biggest loss of deforestation worldwide, followed by Indonesia and the authors of Deforestation: Causes, Effects and Control Strategies write many developing countries are adversely affected more than developed countries due to their location in tropical regions that are a major target for agriculture, infrastructure development, logging and mining. Further many industrialised nations deficient in natural resources exploit developing countries with weaker legislation (that are often so desperate for funds they will allow environmental degradation to take place) indebting them.

So then what other factors are driving deforestation? Agriculture is a major culprit, including farming and cattle ranches, particularly in Brazil. The associated infrastructure to support these farms including roads, power and so forth also contributes to forest loss. This drive is coming from increased population growth worldwide, improved living standards and greater desire for food production including meat consumption in traditionally more vegetarian regions (look at South East Asia) requiring an increase in farmland (1) (4).

The impacts of deforestation are significant, including a loss of many natural flora and fauna, some species which are unique to forest regions. A telling fact from the Pachamama Alliance, a global community with the purpose of creating a sustainable future that works for all states, ‘Seventy percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.’ (1). Further, indigenous people whom call these beautiful forests home often forcibly evicted, have to find new homes in the modern world, or share increasingly crowded and competitive forest spaces, which are diminishing each year (1).

 

Removing trees, allows increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributing to higher rates of greenhouse gases and on setting man made climate change, which the overwhelming rate of scientists globally agree exists and needs to be addressed to prevent severe environmental catastrophe (6).

The world’s forests are at critical point, action needs to be taken by governments now to prevent their destruction. Agroforestry is a potential solution, by still meeting the world’s demand for timber and fuel wood and fruit but through the sustainable management of forests. There is an added benefit it will allow the return of flora and fauna, including endangered species. This is yet one solution, ultimately industrialised countries need to look at their one sided beneficial arrangements with developing countries, and work with these nations and involved companies to creative a holistic wellness plan to return our forests to their former glory and ensure they are healthy. Without healthy, nourished forests Planet Earth cannot survive.

Useful Links:

  1. http://www.pachamama.org/effects-of-deforestation
  2. http://internationaltreefoundation.org/why-trees/
  3. . http://www.worldwildlife.org/videos/our-world-s-largest-rainforest-the-amazon)
  4. http://www.worldpreservationfoundation.org/blog/news/deforestation-statistics/#.VlL7C14rA3h
  5. Deforestation: Causes, Effects and Control Strategies www.intechopen.com/download/pdf/36125
  6. http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

By Simon Chitre

Le Vietnam: Banh Mi is not Just About the Meat

Image from Zomato
Image from Zomato

With the rise in popularity of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles in today’s society, the demands for restaurants and cafes to accommodate for these diets have skyrocketed. In Perth City, there seems to be little or a complete lack of vegan and vegetarian options in popular cafes. However Lee, the owner and creator of the café Le Vietnam, knows the importance of providing a vegan and vegetarian option for his customers.

Le Vietnam is a recently established contemporary café that is positioned on the side of Barrack St, and now also on William St, in the heart of Perth City. This eclectic French and Vietnamese inspired café, is host to a dynamic and stimulating range of menu options, from small snacks, to main meals, salads, and various styles of coffee, with the main feature being the delectable Banh Mi.

Le Vietnam’s signature dish is a French inspired Vietnamese baguette characterised by overflowing vibrant ingredients, the Banh Mi specific pâté and mayo, and an ingenious title that is almost as punchy as the meal. Lee’s mouth-watering recipe, cultivated from his travels to Paris to work with French Master Chefs, includes original, vegan and vegetarian friendly options.

“We always cater to vegetarians and vegans, and people who don’t eat pork and meat, so we have a whole wide variety of different fillings… we cater to every tongue possible,” Lee says.

The availability of the vegetarian Banh Mi and the ability to design your own salads, lends to the strong support from the vegan and vegetarian community in Perth City.

From the customer service, to café design, to the quality of food and pricing, Le Vietnam is a cultural hub for French and Vietnamese inspired street food that has earned its reputation as being a food hot spot in WA. By accommodating for vegan and vegetarian dietary lifestyles, Lee has gained a following from the community, which continues to grow with his flourishing business.

By Rachelle Erzay 

The Death of Designer Clothing?

High End Fashion: Baroque Beauties on Pinterest
High End Fashion: Baroque Beauties on Pinterest
Thrift Store Outfit Female: Thrift Fashion on Pinterest
Thrift Store Outfit Female: Thrift Fashion on Pinterest
Thrift store/DIY outfit male: www.dinasdays.com
Thrift store/DIY outfit male: www.dinasdays.com

For as long as I can remember, designer labels have been idolised as the height of fashion. Brands appeal to customers by giving them a sense of prestige and security, which in turn helps them to feel confident as they walk down the street.

Of course, the clothing we wear has a significant effect on our self-confidence. Recently, fashion psychologist Karen Pine found that ‘putting on different clothes creates different thoughts and mental processes’ and affects how we feel about ourselves and operate in the world. Certainly, there is no denying that satisfaction when someone tells you how great you look in those clothes. But just as those comments are based on the style you are wearing, more than the brand; confidence comes from wearing styles that fit your image.

Consumers have been hit hard by the economic crisis and are turning away from brand names towards style on a budget, buying clothes from Target instead of Dolce & Gabbana and tailoring them to suit their own personal styles. By moving away from branded clothing, consumers grow their self-confidence without going bankrupt, by being able to afford a more diverse wardrobe that is adaptable to change.

Branded clothing’s main appeal used to be its uniqueness. Between the 1960s and 2000s, ‘fitting in’ was the goal for most, and wearing the same styles was a perfect way to achieve that. Those born after the millennium, however, have been raised in a globalised society that celebrates individuality. With millions of people wearing the exact same piece, designer clothing is no match for highly personalised outfits. Instead of buying into a particular brand’s image, consumers create their own personal brand that reflects their individual styles.

This individualist stance, along with a tightening of the proverbial belt amongst Gen Y shoppers, has spurred a move towards sustainable fashion and away from brand name culture. The move towards sustainable clothing is invaluable in reducing waste and its environmental impact. Synthetic fibres, which make up the majority of new clothing, produce toxic chemicals. Even when materials are natural, like cotton, the pesticides used pollute the environment. All of that is avoided by shopping second hand, which also reduces the amount of waste going into landfill.

Thrift shops, once stigmatised for selling second-hand products, are now at the centre of a culture that values reuse over waste. A study by YPulse recently found that 56% of Gen Y shoppers saw thrift shops as a great way to find cheap and unique clothing. Clothes are often better made than modern clothing and are incredibly unique because of the amount of vintage product around. If that isn’t enough, there is also evidence that wearing second-hand clothes relieves stress by inducing nostalgic memories of younger, carefree days.

Although not quite as widespread as thrift shopping, DIY is fast becoming a popular way for shoppers to sustainably keep their wardrobe up to date: around 22% of Gen Y shoppers modify or embellish their clothing in some way. Reflecting the worry around money that follows those who experienced the economic crisis, shoppers can keep up with changing trends and adapt their style without having to buy and throw out countless items of expensive designer clothing.

By Kate Oatley