'What we are doing to the forests is but a mirror of reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another'

What exactly is deforestation?

Deforestation refers to a decrease in forest areas because they have been raided, cleared, and razed for various reasons, including construction, manufacturing, wood for fuel, and agriculture. While these actions might help to improve the human condition and provides most of the products we use daily, deforestation greatly impacts the ecosystem negatively. 

The causes of deforestation

Deforestation can occur due to either direct or indirect causes. Some examples of the direct cause of deforestation include human activities such as infrastructure development, mining, oil extraction, urban development, as well as natural causes like floods, parasites, fires, and hurricanes.

Indirect causes are socio-economic and political causes as climatic changes, military conflicts, and population. Inaction by governments or insufficient political actions can also contribute towards deforestation due to wrong public administration investments, corruption, and inadequate land tenure systems.

The fashion industry has also contributed greatly to the problem of deforestation we have today. The findings from research conducted in 2020 show that 48% of fashion’s supply chain contributes towards endangering biodiversity causes greenhouse emissions and deforestation in general. The alarming thing about the findings is that it’s predicting this figure to be at least 2x the present percentage in the next 25-30 years.

Ecological effects of deforestation

Deforestation is having massive negative effects on our planet, and it’s only going to get worse if precautions are not taken. Some of the ecological effects of deforestation on earth include loss of habitat (threatening the survival of plant and animal species), increased greenhouse gases, decreased biodiversity, soil erosion, and flooding, to mention a few.

Solutions & how to help as a citizen

Solving the problem of deforestation lies in the cooperative efforts from industries and the people. Many industries, including fashion, have begun redemptive efforts to clean up their acts. Big names like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are taking clear steps to restructure their clothing supply lines to eliminate human rights abuse and rainforest destruction.

You can also play your part in this ecological salvation mission by buying less clothing and wearing them longer. Reports show that extending the active lifespan of 50% of UK clothing by eight months would save 4% waste per metric ton of clothing, 10% water, and 8%. By donating to charity or recycling second-hand clothing, you will be helping to reduce the number of textiles that end up in landfills. All of these put less demand on manufacturers to make more.