Deadly Effects of Deforestation


People cut down trees and never replace them.

People cut down trees and never replace them. Deforestation is directly related to climate change.

Deadly Effect of Deforestation

By D. S. Mitchell and Michael Leonard Douglas

“Deforestation is the permanent destruction of forests in order to make land available for other uses”-Wikipedia-“Deforestation causes extinction, changes climate, creates deserts, and displaces indigenous populations”-Wikipedia.

From Then Until Now

32% of the planet is covered by forests

32% of the planet is covered by forests

Of the over 6 million original square miles of rain forest earth has lost over 4.5 million square miles. This incredible loss is due to human activity and naturally occurring deforestation events. In addition to human activity millions of trees are lost to wildfires and those losses are not effectively replaced. The pressures of constant logging make it impossible to preserve forests within a reasonable time frame. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s leading producers of palm oil. This fact makes them two of the world’s greatest deforestation culprits.


For a well-balanced relationship of organisms in the ecosystem, there must not be any interference with the natural processes. However, man has entered the picture and his activities are negatively influencing the natural balance. Over the last two decades the rate of deforestation has increased exponentially. The increased demand for timber products and the clearing of rain forests for developing palm oil plantations are two leading drivers of deforestation. Human beings are creating a dramatic imbalance in the eco-system that may be irreversible.

Getting Worse

It is estimated that we lose 18.7 million acres of trees annually.

It is estimated that we lose 18.7 million acres of trees annually.

Current efforts to stop deforestation are failing. It is estimated that up to 18.7 million acres of trees are lost from deforestation annually (IUCN, 2019).  Since the 1960’s, we have lost more than 50 % of the forest reserve. With continued destruction there are not enough trees being planted at a fast enough pace to restore the ecological balance. Deforestation is a global phenomenon, but some regions are more effected than others, especially the tropical rain forests. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that we may lose the tropical rain forests within the next 100 years.  They are not protected and replenished.


With close to 32% of the planet covered by forests, increased deforestation is likely to effect every living thing on the planet. Can you imagine a world without trees. It would be a pretty horrific place. Where would we get food, fresh water? What kind of planet would it be without the wildlife we love? The threat is real. This is why efforts to curb deforestation make headlines and it has become a hot topic at conferences and forums held around the world. Citizens are demanding action from world leaders. Presidential candidates are making it the cornerstone of their election campaigns.

How It Happens

Once land is converted to agriculture return to forest is nearly impossible.

Once land is converted to agriculture return to forest is nearly impossible.

The primary cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming accounts for 48% of deforestation. Commercial agriculture is responsible for 32%. Logging another 14%. Fuel wood removal 5%. The important issue is that forests are converted from their prior state of natural existence to a ‘economic producing’ status whether it be to farming, mining, ranching or industry. The removal of trees without re-planting is resulting in irreversible habitat damage, biodiversity loss, aridity and disturbance in the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Continue reading

Save The Orangutan Project

Orangutans will most likely only be found in zoos within the next decade.

Orangutans will most likely only be found in zoos within the next decade


We @calamitypolitics are deeply concerned about deforestation and the deadly effects it is having on the planet. Rain forests are important because they are home to thousands of unique animal species, some not even identified yet. Calamity Politics contributor, Michael Leonard Douglas, has written a compelling article explaining the hazards of deforestation. Please watch for it.

One of the worst offending industries in the deforestation calamity is the palm oil industry  “Deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty, and indigenous rights abuses in countries where it is produced, because land must be cleared for development and planting of the palm oil plantations,” The Orangutan Project.

Please take the 3-4 minutes to watch this video from the Orangutan Project. The loss of habitat is leaving many of our close cousins homeless and afraid. Deforestation hurts. Join the effort to stop palm oil atrocities and other devastators of our precious and rapidly disappearing rain forests-Darlene

Plastic Is Killing Our Oceans

Plastic is one of the most common materials in our daily lives. We eat and drink from it. Stuff is packaged in it, stuff is shipped in it. If current practices continue plastic dumping into the ocean is expected to double by 2025. That’s only seven years from now!

Ninety seven per cent of the Earth’s livable habitat is found in our oceans.  The oceans of the world are home to more than 700,000 known species and they generate more than half of the oxygen that we as living organisms breath.  Something must be done soon. We are standing by, seemingly paralyzed, as our oceans are becoming the biggest waste dump in the world. Our oceans are choking on plastic. We dump the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day, non-stop.

Dead Whale Due To Feeding Mistakenly On Plastic Instead Of Food

We produce more and more throwaway plastic garbage, much of which we don’t really need. Recycling projects are failing to keep up with the threat. Plastic pollution is quickly transforming our seas into the biggest waste dump on the planet.

Plastic does not break down naturally. Things that had a useful life of just a few minutes or hours remains in the environment for 100’s of years.  These plastics kill ocean wildlife and enter the food chain, as plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Plastic bags, cosmetic micro-beads and other types of plastic trash have spread throughout the ocean, from the surface to the deepest ocean canyons. Plastic debris washes back on to our beaches creating an ugly reminder of this ongoing environmental disaster.

Continue reading

The Columbia Gorge is Burning

An Unnamed Teen Is Suspect In Starting Wildfire

I live on the North Oregon coast, that’s about 60 miles west of Portland, Oregon. The sun for the last couple of days has appeared as a bizarre red neon ball through the smoke that is now plaguing most of the state. The source of the smoke is a raging 32,000 acre blaze destroying one of Oregon’s most scenic areas, the Columbia Gorge.

The gorge was chiseled through rock by the Columbia River over a span of nearly 20 million years as it cut its way to the Pacific Ocean.  I am heart-broken watching the pictures come in. I don’t know if I can truly express the loss I am feeling. There is a beautiful piece in The Oregonian, written by Jaimie Hale. (*Please go to the left side bar of this blog site and scroll down until you see the picture of a burning forest fire and click on her article. It is well worth reading.)

A 32,000 Acre Blaze Engulfs The Columbia River Gorge

When I lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon, a suburb of Portland, I would ski at Mt Hood, party with friends in Hood River and always stop at Multnomah Falls to enjoy its iconic beauty.  The Columbia River Gorge is a national treasure and the loss is monumental.

Join the Resistance


I will be back with Part IV:Behind The Curtain tomorrow. Please join us as we slice and dice the current administration.

Trump Policies Threaten National Park System

The National Park Service just entered its second century of existence.  The National Park system “features over 400 stunning landscapes, iconic historic sites, battlefields, and cultural treasures that define our country, its evolving story and the enduring legacy we are called upon to uphold,” a recent National Park Foundation informational declared.  I have chosen a dozen National Park sites to highlight, today. Places that must be protected for future generations.

We have been entrusted with so much natural beauty and we cannot shrug our responsibility to future generations.  We must protect these treasured locations and prevent Trump & Associates from raping the environment.  Please join the National Park Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and dozens more organizations that are hitting all the alarm bells and filing lawsuits against the Trump Administration to stop these fossil fuel profiteers before they can start drilling, logging, and fracking on these precious lands. Join the Resistance against the environmental attack. Stop the Trump wrecking crew before the damage becomes irreversible.

Over the last several weeks I have hit the dangers to the environment button pretty hard. I promise this is my last post on the environment and, or, climate change for a while. Please, please, please give to any of the organizations fighting to save our threatened wild places. There is so much flim-flam, and “keep your eye on the pea” that I am worried that what is happening behind closed doors will decimate our park system before the public even finds out that it has happened.

So, with the beauty of our country at stake due to Trump’s Administration intention to dig, plow, pump, drill, log and frack every corner of the planet, starting on our public lands. Because of the danger,  I thought it might be a nice reminder of our nation’s beauty by taking a short tour of 12 of our most remarkable National Parks.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota:  Established on Jan. 29th, 1939 the Badlands National Park protects 242, 796 acres of southwestern South Dakota.  The park terrain is dramatic with sprawling grasslands, deep canyons and towering rock spires.. The park is habitat for Bighorn Sheep, American Bison and small rodents such as the prairie dog. Inside the park at Fossil Exhibit Trail fossils recovered within the park are on display for visitors.

Yosemite National Park, California: Yosemite was first protected in 1864. Yosemite is famous for its waterfalls and steep peaks. Within 1,200 square miles there are deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoia, and a vast wilderness area.  Yosemite is a World Heritage Site and entertains 5 million tourists annually.

National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.:     A centerpiece of the Mall is the Lincoln Memorial, an enduring symbol of freedom.  The memorial was designed after an ancient Greek temple.  The 36 outer fluted columns represent the number of states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death.  The “park/mall” is in downtown Washington, D.C. Unofficially it is the area between the Lincoln Memorial on the West and East to the U.S. Capitol grounds.  The mall contains the Smithsonian, art galleries, cultural institutions and many memorials, sculptures and statues. Some of the greatest assemblage of humanity in giant protests have occurred on the National Mall.

Glacier National Park, Montana: Glacier National Park was established May 11, 1910. The park covers 1,583 square miles of wilderness in Montana’s Rocky Mountains.  Glacier carved peaks and valleys run all the way to the Canadian border.  There are more than 700 miles of hiking trails. Diverse wildlife include Grizzly bears and Mountain goats. The park is known as the “Crown of the Continent.” Glacier is the headwaters for streams that flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and to Hudson Bay.  What happens at Glacier affects waters in a huge section of North America.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park cover 816 square miles straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.  Lush forests where wildflowers bloom year round is a delightful park that offers camping and hiking among rivers, creeks and waterfalls.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park entertains more than 11 million visitors annually. Rainfall rushes down the mountainsides of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, creating an abundance of waterfalls . Visitors will find cascades and waterfalls on nearly every stream or river in the park.

Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania: The park protects and interprets the landscape of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.   The park commemorates the largest battle fought during the American Civil War. It was after the tragedy at Gettysburg where so many died on both sides that Abraham Lincoln came to give one of the most famous and memorable speeches of all time, forever known as the “Gettysburg Address.” The park is about 9.5 square acres.  The park welcomes over a million visitors annually.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon: Crater Lake is 1950 ft deep. The lake was formed when Mount Mazama erupted nearly 8,000 years ago and then collapsed, forming the lake.  The park is the only National Park in the state of Oregon and entertains over 800,000 visitors each year.  The lake is fed only by rain and snowfall and is a photographer’s dream blue. The park was established by Teddy Roosevelt in May 1902 and encompasses over 183,000 sq acres.

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida: The Dry Tortugas is a small archipelago of coral islands which are the most western and most isolated of the Florida Keys.  The park is 99% water and is located 68 miles west of Key West, Florida.  The area is home to sea turtles, and multiple sea birds.  The seven small islands in the Gulf of Mexico offers picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the historic Fort Jefferson and is skin divers paradise.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: The canyon is one mile deep and 277 miles long.  The Grand Canyon was formed during six million years of geological and erosion activity. Teddy Roosevelt famously said, it is “the one great sight which every American should see.” The park was established in February 1919, and covers over 1900 square miles. Layered bands of red rock frame the Colorado River at the bottom of a mile deep canyon.  The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States accommodating more than 6 million visitors annually.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming:
Located in NW Wyoming the Grand Teton National Park encompasses 310,000 acres.  The park was established in 1929 and entertains 3.5 million annual tourists.  The park includes the 4,ooo meter Grand Teton Peak and the valley known as Jackson Hole.  Grand Teton Park is linked to the nearby Yellowstone National Park by the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.  Rugged mountain peaks rising above a rich landscape with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain are the Grand Tetons.  The park provides 200 miles of trails for hiking, fishing and back country camping. Exploring the Snake River and experiencing the serenity of the region is memory making.

Arcadia National Park, Maine:
The Arcadia National Park consists of 49,000 + acre Atlantic coast recreation area, primarily on Maine’s rugged coast including Mount Desert Island.  The landscape is woodland, rocky beaches and glacier scoured granite peaks such as Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast of the United States.  Visitors come to bike historic carriage roads, fish the waterways and enjoy the abundant wildlife, including moose, bear, whales and sea birds.The park was established in 1919.

Arches National Park, Utah: Described as a “red rock wonderland,” Arches National Park is a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures. The park has more than 2,000 natural stone arches, as well as hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins, and giant balanced rocks.” The Arches National Park is north of Moab, Utah. The 119.8 square miles park is bordered by the Colorado river in the southeast. The park entertains over 1.5 million visitors annually. Park was established in 1929.

Calamity  Politics is a progressive political blog.  We post mostly everyday.  Our focus is on the U.S. political scene. Our intent is to present relevant and engaging analysis and commentary on the headline news of the day. Please leave a comment.  We enjoy reading what our readers have to say.

Join the Resistance


More Of Trump’s Plan To Eviscerate The EPA

Trump promised during the campaign there would only be “little tidbits” left of the EPA when he was done with the agency. He has, now as president used every device available to make that campaign promise a reality.  Among some of his actions has been to take steps to revoke the Clean Power Plan and delay implementation of mercury and air toxics standards.  Additionally, there is the 2018 budget.  Trump’s proposed budget slashes EPA funding by 31%, effectively crippling the department.

1.) CLIMATE RESEARCH: EPA’s Science Advisory Board budget would be slashed by 84%, due to sweeping cuts to scientific programs.  People will be more vulnerable to, and less ready for extreme weather events. Lack of data will hinder the ability of other agencies to monitor Green House Gas emissions and forecast floods and hurricanes.

2.) STATE AIR QUALITY PROGRAMS: Significant funding for local monitoring comes from the EPA.  It allows health officials to warn of “Code Red” days when the air is dangerous for people with asthma. Trump budget would cut funding by one-third. An estimated 125 million Americans live in communities with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Local governments will be charged with maintaining air quality but may lack the money to do it.

Trump Promising To Gut The EPA

3.) CRIMINAL AND CIVIL ENFORCEMENT: Trump argues that states should oversee their own state’s environmental laws.  The president wants to cut EPA’s enforcement office by 40%. Trump’s budget would cut the grants that allow states to conduct that enforcement by 45%. Fees, fines and penalties will no longer be assessed or collected.

4.) SUPERFUND CLEANUP: There are more than 1300 toxic Superfund waste sites and 450,000 brownfield hazardous sites across the United States.  President Trump’s budget cuts would reduce the Superfund cleanup program by nearly $200,000,000.  Towns like Amesbury, MA that depend on federal funding to keep their citizens safe from groundwater contamination that will suffer from projected cutbacks.  De-funding the EPA also threatens redevelopment and restoration in many communities across the country.

5.) REGIONAL WATER QUALITY: Trump’s projected cuts would eliminate $400,000,000 for programs to clean up America’s greatest yet most threatened bodies of water–the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.  It is expected that critical estuaries and the fishing industry that depends on them–like Chesapeake Bay crabs and oysters will be seriously harmed.

Continue reading

Fossil Fuel Cronies Relentless War On The Environment

I belong to the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club is a grassroots environmental organization founded in 1892 in San Francisco, California by Scottish-American preservationist John Muir.  Mr. Muir became the organization’s first president.  Today, I am one of 2.4 million members.  The Sierra Club motto is: “Explore, enjoy and protect our planet.”

Protect The Planet From Trump

That motto is quickly morphing into, “Protect our planet from Trump.” In a recent mailing the club sent out a dire warning of the intent and activities of the Trump Administration, Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt as they effect the environment. This will be a rather lengthy undertaking but I believe the information is important and should be shared. I, like many others, are deeply concerned.

It seems that the daily barrage of Washington scandal and outrage are on steroids since Trump’s inauguration.  One bullshit scandal, after bullshit scandal oozes out of the Trump White House. It seems that every hour we have our heads snapped back by a fresh Tweet from The Donald; or some new Russian revelation.

This information overload is distracting the public from all the damage being done behind the scenes by people like Zinke and Pruitt. Guys who lobbied or sued the very agencies that they now head.  They are now perfectly positioned to dismantle those agencies from within. An unimaginable opportunity for the extraction industries. Dis-mantling and neutering all government agencies is a priority of the Trump & Co. agenda. They call it “dis-mantling the administrative state.”

Mission: Dismantle From Within

Make no mistake about it, the Trump Administration is working every minute of every day, to turn our water, air, and public lands over to their supporters in gas, oil, coal and other extraction industries. They have made no secret of their intent, but damn it is hard to watch every action taken in some obscure office, especially with all the noise out front from the president. In fact, that could be the intention. Get us all watching the three-ring circus in Congress and the White House while their gang of thieves rob the nation of its wilderness heritage.

“The Trump Anti-Environment Action Plan:

  1. Abandon the Paris Climate Accord: In June Trump announced he was no longer bound by the Climate Agreement.  Sierra Club believes in the importance of the intent of the Paris Agreement and has vowed to aggressively work to make sure that Trump’s hand-picked fossil fuel, anti-environment henchmen will not be able to unravel the advances of the last 50 plus years.
  2. Emasculate Fuel Economy Standards: The Obama Administration raised the fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks or CAFE for short (Corporate Average Fuel Economy). These regulations are in the crosshairs, as I type.
  3. Kill The Environmental Protection Agency: The most hated government agency by far is the EPA.  Pro-industry, anti-environment extremists are on a mission to destroy the agency.  With a “compliant climate denier” as President Trump targeting the EPA, many of us doubt that the intent of the agency will survive.  The EPA will be starved by a “compliant” congress and it will slowly starve it of funding, leaving it “a hollow shell staffed by those who will pervert its mission.” The EPA is being decimated, one regulation at a time and there seems to be no one to stop it.
  4. Fill The Supreme Court With Anti-Environmentalists: Blame Mich McConnell for this one. McConnell’s actions are directly responsible for the first step in the plan to fill the Court. When Anthonin Scalia died suddenly, McConnell majority leader in the Senate denied President Obama the opportunity to fill that spot. Old Mitch and the boys will be celebrating that victory for probably 40 years. President Trump was able to confirm a “pro-industry, climate antagonist eager to overturn environmentally friendly cases and rule on the side of the fossil fuel and extraction industries.”

    Climate Science Denier To Head EPA For Trump

  5. Bring Back That Dirty Of Dirtiest Industries, King Coal: Trump told enthusiastic crowds during the rigged 2016 election that he could bring back the near dead coal industry.  He alone could do CPR and bring back that nearly dead monster back to life. Sadly, he may be able to reshape market forces that have caused coal to become a more expensive alternative to cleaner energy sources by ending the moratorium on new coal leases on public land. In essence a huge giveaway to this dirty industry.  Trump began to immediately  gut regulations that force coal companies to be responsible for the pollution they create.  He did this sleight of hand when he repealed the Stream Protection Bill as one of his first acts as president.

    Ready And Willing To Sell Off Public Lands

  6. Open Federal Lands To Fossil Fuel Exploration: The recently retired Representative Jason Chaffetz (R. UT) introduced H.R. 621 authorizing “the Secretary of the Interior to sell certain federal lands in 10 Western states, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. After it became public that Chaffetz was planning to transfer 3.3 million acres of public land to private interests, the public pressure forced him to withdraw the bill. But, there are many more men like Chaffetz paid by lobbyist to do the work of their donors, not the work of the public, and I am sure another Senator or Representative will re-package the legislation and re-introduce this government giveaway to fossil fuel their cronies.
  7. Dismantle The Clean Power Plan: The Republican end goal is to re-define greenhouse gases as not “dangerous to human health” putting them beyond the reach of the EPA’s jurisdiction, or deny EPA funding to the Act, dismantling the Clean Power Plan and its goal to curtail  carbon dioxide emissions from electricity plants. Such actions are “likely to accelerate climate disruption precipitously.”

    Green Economy Is The World’s Best Bet For The Future

  8. Stop The Growth Of A Green Economy: Trump campaigned on a promise to “zero out federal research and development” for green energy. The reason for this is that fossil fuel companies like the behemoth, Exxon Mobil have few means to monetize wind and solar energy. I and many others are hoping that private industry has seen that “a green economy is the best bet for the future–both for consumers who will benefit from lower energy prices, and for an economy that offers good paying jobs here in the United States.
  9. Fill Environmental Agencies With Anti-Environmentalists: As noted in my introduction, the new hiring model for federal agencies which are designed to protect the environment are being subverted by anti-environmentalist being appointed to positions within the agencies. The notorious anti-EPA critic, Scott Pruitt being appointed to head the EPA has spelled disaster for the department. The Republican Senate literally raced to beat the release of thousands of emails detailing his “cozy relationship with energy companies”.  Evidence shows that when Pruitt was Oklahoma Attorney General, had energy company staffers and lobbyists ghost write his correspondence to federal officials.

BPA Is The Largest Fish Conservation Program On Earth And One Of It’s Largest Electrical Power Providers

Trump Wants To Steal NW Energy Resources: As a resident of the Northwest United States I know that the Columbia River is our regions greatest natural resource and the river’s dams and their electrical power are its most valuable man-made resources. The Bonneville Power Administration is the authority that sets the operation of the dams and transmits the electricity. The BPA generates 4 Billion dollars in revenue annually through the sales of the system’s electricity. In 1980’s Reagan proposed selling the entire BPA system, which raised a hue and cry. Trump and his allies are a little smarter, they are proposing “to sell off the ‘transmission’ of power from the dams.  Such a proposal would dramatically affect how the river is managed. “BPA’s management of the dams recognizes that there is an inherent trade-off for how much water is saved for fish, how cold and how deep that water is.  Few people realize that the BPA runs the largest fish conservation program in the world.  In other words, when you sell the transmission side of the dams, more than power is at stake.” This is at its core, “an attempt to steal an asset whose value Northwest ratepayers have paid for, at market rates.” (Information on the BPA item was provided by office of Senator Ron Wyden (D. OR) and The Daily Astorian newspaper 8-11-2017).

Calamity Politics is a progressive political blog that attempts to write and publish opinions and comments based on real news and how those events will affect our lives.

Join the Resistance


Making Memories On The Oregon Coast

The Spectacular Beauty Of The Oregon Coast

The Pacific coast of the United States is magical. Massive  rock formations,  dramatic vistas, magnificent bridges, miles of expansive beaches are the hallmarks of Oregon’s coastal beauty.  I was born in this “Pacific Wonderland” and every once in a while I like to tell my friends around the world about this amazing place I call home.

A recent article on my beloved coast in Oregon’s largest newspaper, the Portland Oregonian reminded me that I haven’t talked about Oregon’s iconic  landmarks for a while, and never on the Calamity Politics blog.  If you have ever been fortunate enough to explore the Pacific coast of the United States I’m sure that particular spots stand out for you.  The list below highlights several of my special stops on the road.

Continue reading