The downward trend in the global economy has caused significant problems worldwide – rising demand in the third world, rising inflation, decreased output and growth and lower wage expectations and employment, combined with a global banking crisis, means that much of the world’s economies have experienced several years of downturn and recession.
However, interestingly it appears that it may not be all bad news for the efforts of ecologists and campaigners seeking to protect our rainforest. Initial concern from our supporters was that many sources of campaign funding and private donations to green and rainforest charities would dry up as times grew harder. However, although this has undoubtedly had an impact on charity and third sector income for rainforest protection programmes, research shows that the plunge in commodity prices may in fact be benefiting struggling rainforests.
Globally, the downturn has caused a plunge in the the prices of energy, timber, minerals and agriculture and these combined factors are slowly minimising rainforest deforestation. Surging demand from the emerging economies and the demand for biofuels, had led to a land rush before the recession that then led to wide scale conversion of rainforests into farms, ranches and plantations. Demand for natural resources also led to stripping back rainforests in their search. Ethanol and soya crops demanded clear land for farming and again, this led to vast tracts of natural lands and rainforest canopies being cut back and made way for farmers and companies wishing to capitalise.
Now the demand bonanza is quietening and we watch with interest what this means longer term for stemming the tide of deforestation. Perhaps the world economies will emerge with a new era of balanced and sustainable production and economics, as the green movement continues to gather pace. Certainly consumers are waking up to the importance of rainforest protection and climate change in ever greater numbers, as the next generation wakes up to the world it has inherited.