Karlee

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Our Beloved Amazon-

Everyone dreams of visiting the Amazon one day, or at least I always have. The colorful insects, mysterious rivers, and indigenous people have always attracted me there, thees no arguing that the Amazon is a gem of the world.

Recently I’ve learned about some disturbing news regarding this sacred land and I want to share it with all of you. In the past 40 years, close to 20% of the Amazon has disappeared. And by disappeared I mean cut down, stolen, and left to rot. It shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you that humans have taken from nature without expecting any implications. And now we have taken too much, well the corporations have. However, the problem was created by these companies, instead it was a direct response to the global meat demand. Yes, you read me right– meat. Farmers are encouraged to clear out parts of the forest or move into existing clearings to create a makeshift farm then leave without a trace. They sell to western companies and leave with their fast money.

I’ve never considered going vegan before, and I definitely feel meat is necessary for certain peoples. What I didn’t know was how much meat Americans and Europeans eat. That’s where a vast majority of Amazon-made beef ends up. Even considering cutting your meat consumption by 1/4 or 1/3 would be huge. Now that is more than doable for those of you who want to make small changes for a big impact.

Many people do not realize how fragile environments like the Amazon are. Loss of two or three species would throw off a whole food chain and have a ripple effect on tens of species. It’s crucial that human activity doesn’t disrupt the harmony of the rain forest. Deforestation doesn’t just affect one country, but the whole global community. That is why it’s important to acknowledge the issues with deforestation instead of turning a blind eye.

I encourage you to watch the Years of Living Dangerously episode on deforestation to get a real-life look at how deforestation and cattle farming are affecting the forest. There are also some incredible heroes in this story.

Check it out here.

A majority of the land left of the Amazon is only so because it’s protected for the indigenous peoples and there is no way that they’re going to give that up. However, being in the middle of the jungle everything is symbiotic and will be effected.

Be smart about how much meat you’re eating and where it comes from. It’s our responsibility to protect this sacred land and be part of the solution instead of the problem.

To ensure that future generations have enough resources, communities must act with integrity for sustainability. No, it is not as profitable, but it’s the only choice we have to ensure the balance of our planet.

 

Sources:

“Agriculture Industry.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2014. 

“Amazon (river).” <http://icof.infobaselearning.com/icofencyarticle.aspx?ID=726>.

Beary, B. (2011, June 7). “Brazil on the Rise”

Clemmitt, Marcia. “Global Food Crisis.” 

Karaim, Reed. “Vanishing Biodiversity.” 

Struck, D. (2011, January 18). “Disappearing forests”. 

Years of Living Dangerously, Nat Geo.

Weeks, Jennifer. “Climate Change.” 

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Hike of the week: Dry Pond 

Length: 6.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Reno, NV

I am always on the look out for great trails near my house. I use my All Trails app to find hikes with a great view and that are dog-friendly. Recently, I found Dry Pond Trail and immediately wanted to see the dry pond on top of the mountain. For the first 3 miles, we walked through thick forest right next to a gorgeous stream. Michael, Shadow, and I stopped more than once to take a gulp of the freshest water we could find.

Nothing beats spring water. Nothing.

We saw about 4 different groups while we were on the trail, but once you hit the steep mountainside there is maybe one or two who make it. Be prepared to wear a sweater through the forest until it opens up to the incline, then expect it to open and sunny. The incline lasted longer than I expected, but my gosh, the views were killer.

When you reach the top, you go through some tall pines trees and the trail suddenly opens up to this huge field– the dry pond. When you walk the center and look back you get a stunning view of Mt. Rose. Boy oh boy, the views continue to shine. There was snow caps right in front of us, but I was standing under the sun in a tank top. The dry pond is the main show of the whole hike. Afterwards, you hike another 3 miles down the opposite side of the mountain.

At the bottom we were greeted with aspen trees and more fresh streams. By this point a cold drink of water was much needed. I was surprised to see more and more people on this side of the mountain, also considering by this point it was 4 pm.

Overall, this hike was great for incline and length, but you do have the keep an eye out for bikers. Don’t expect a lot of company at the top, which gives you the stunning views all to yourself.

Final Rating: 7/10

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