11. The deforestation

11th blog, February 26, 2019

Worldwide, 7.9 million hectares of forest are cut every year, about twice the area of the Netherlands. That is 19 soccer fields per minute. During the last 2,000 years, mankind has made about 2 billion hectares of fertile land - largely covered with trees - infertile. From the Bible we know that the Jews left Egypt for the land of milk and honey. If you go to that region now, you’ll feel like you’ve ended up on the moon. There is no room for cows and bees in Jordan. The upper strip of North Africa was once green and fertile; the lions that were used in the Coliseum came from there. There is now virtually nothing left of it.

Cutting down trees in our century with the greatest speed ever, for all kinds of purposes, we build carts, ships, houses, war gear, rails, mines. We use wood in stoves and furnaces, making hundreds of millions of pallets and kilos of paper. Until recently even half a billion newspapers a day and now every day 3 billion chopsticks are made in China. The consumption of wood is infinite, but our forests are not. Large areas are also being cut for the cultivation of soy and palm oil. In this century the biggest idiotry that one can think of is that we cut down virgin forests on a large scale, grind them to mulch, ship them amongst others to The Netherlands and burn them to make electricity. Subsequently, they are sold to the Dutch consumer as 'green electricity'. I would like to sue those who have come up with this sales trick for ecocide, because it is a crime against nature. It has nothing to do with green electricity; we are all fooled. Green electricity from trees is something like eating extra food to lose weight.

What is the effect of this policy? Each hectare of trees annually disconnects around 15 tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere. This means that we destroy one of the most important instruments that Mother Nature has to dissolve CO₂, the tree. I dare to argue that not only the emission of fossil fuels has caused the increase of the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere, but that deforestation plays an even more important role. The 2 billion hectares of forest could decompose 30 billion tonnes of CO₂ annually, almost as much as the entire human population currently emits through fossil fuel consumption annually. Because the trees are gone, that CO₂ remains in the atmosphere.

The tree ecocide has caused much more misery than we think. After harvesting, animals have eaten the sprouts of regrowth. The land grew bare, dry-cooked by the sun. It began to drift and slowly became useless. These are man-made deserts.

Can we solve that? Yes, follow these blogs to see how that can happen and spread the message. In the next blog we talk about the 'Fossil fuels fit into a circular economy'.

Pieter Hoff
Green Musketeer

News article

Background information
On 8 October 2018, the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued an emergency call to all countries to reduce their CO₂ emissions by at least 50% by 2030. The Netherlands wants to comply with this by means of a Climate Agreement. Pieter Hoff is of the opinion that the Climate Agreement needs additional policies to achieve 0% net CO₂ emissions by 2030 and that this supporting policy can be implemented much more efficiently, quicker and less costly than the current proposals that are included in the proposed Dutch Climate Agreement.