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Deforestation is the mass destruction of trees by man. It causes serious environmental problems, on the other hand however it provides a huge source of income for developing countries. This brings about the ‘rainforest debate’ and in my opinion it is the environmentalist who should, without a doubt, triumph. Their case has been put forward so strongly that it has convinced me that saving the rainforests is the right thing not only for the present but even more for the future. When you read about how hundreds of live saving drugs are found in rainforests how can you accept the destruction of them.

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It has been estimated by scientists that over a quarter of all pharmaceutical products are made using extracts of rainforest plants. Cancer cures are most likely to come from rainforests as such intense medicine can only be gained using the rare minerals found in rainforests. Emetine is a key example of a possible cancer cure found in the rainforest. Many drugs have already been found in the rainforests, some of which are essential for medical practices. These include a muscle-relaxing drug used in operations and cortisone. Cures for glaucoma and hoping cough have also been established.

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Not only do rainforests indirectly save lives, they also play a vita role in the global ecosystem. They are a key factor in the carbon cycle: they absorb carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere and replace it with oxygen vital to humans. If the tress were destroyed then less carbon dioxide will be absorbed and even more will be released when the trees are burned. This increases global warming by a large amount. It is believed that agriculture destroys the rainforests, its wildlife and environment. This is because permanent cultivation is not possible and neither is commercial ranching.

I agree with the environmentalists when they say that the ‘rainforest is a beautiful and diverse natural system’. I think that it should be persevered for the future. When considering the basis or the economists’ argument I feel even more inclined to disagree with them. They say it is hypocritical of developed countries to persuade developing ones to persevere their forest when developed countries destroyed theirs. Another reason towards the destruction of rainforests is that economically developing countries need to continue to develop and this is the fastest and most effective way of doing so.

They also claim that cutting down and burning trees does not produce as much excess carbon dioxide as the extensive burning of fossil fuels that takes place in developed countries. When considering both arguments I find it astonishing that certain people deem wealth and development of countries more important that finding cures for deadly diseases like cancer. When the economists realise that the well being of the human race is much more important than improving certain countries, they will also understand that rainforests are a necessity in the world.

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Kylie Garcia

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