Our planet’s forests are the lungs that clean the air we breathe, the homes of countless species of plants and animals, and the source of inspiration and livelihood for millions of people.
Forests offer an amazing assortment of benefits for humans and animals. For humans, forests are a source of livelihood, food, medicinal herbs; forests give us wood that can be used for shelter, furniture and fuel; and they are places of recreation. They also play a huge role in maintaining the planet’s environmental health: forests help to prevent soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitats for millions of animal and plant species, and offer protection against floods. In coastal areas, mangrove forests can greatly reduce damage caused by hurricanes and tsunamis. Globally, forests make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation in their role as carbon sinks. Unfortunately, forests are under threat in many parts of the world, and are being degraded or destroyed at alarming rates. There are many reasons for this, ranging from profit-seeking by large companies to individual actions driven by poverty. Climate change is expected to worsen these threats and to change ecosystem dynamics within forests.
The good news is: there is a lot you can do to help protect the world's forests! Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai famously said:
“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and the seeds of hope.”
If, in planting trees, we sow peace and hope, just imagine what we can achieve if young people from around the world take part in this one simple act!
So what are you waiting for?
Take the Forests Challenge and take action to ensure a sustainable future for our forests and for ourselves!
For more ideas on carrying out the Badge with your group, download the Resource and Activity Guide: