To Stop the Floods, First Save the Trees

It’s raining cats and dogs again tonight.  The street in front of my house is flooded. It’s nothing compared to elsewhere in the country where houses are flooded up to the second story.  Residents have no where left to sleep but on the roof.   Workers were stranded in a factory after flash floods closed their exit.  Villagers trying to help others themselves drown.  Dogs and cats are eaten by crocodiles.  With no bathrooms, the waters are starting to stink and rot. Those were the headline news this morning.  It is depressing to wake up to such news.

237 people are now dead. 3 are missing. 28 provinces hit by floods.

Somehow the thought of deforestation jumps to mind.  Environmental factors have never been much of an issue in Thailand.  It has always been an issue to a few group of select people.  Others looked on and went on with their life. The environmentalists protested on. In a developing country like Thailand, making money seems to be the predominant thought in mind.

Business cut costs where possible.  It is understandable, a business has to make money, but then rules and regulations should be put in place so as to incentivize companies and others alike to prevent deforestation.  Regulations must be implemented. Corruption banished.

Everytime I go to the mountainous area of Khao Yai, I cannot help but feel a little sad.  I like the cool weather there, the trees, yet then thoughts of what my mother tells me comes to mind.  She tells me that thirty years ago, the trees were much taller in the national reserve.  It was a real forest.

Now even in the national reserve trees are really not that tall.  There are buildings way inside the reserve.  It does not feel much like a forest. Not like the ones I’ve been to in Europe anyways.  In other national reserves, I hear others use techniques to kill trees they are not permitted to cut.  Acidic dung from cattle. Villagers in search of money, inhabit the land, get rights to the land, and then through some kind of magic they sell the land to unknowing city dwellers in search of a weekend home.    Sometimes it’s sold to businesses in search of land to build resorts.

To meet demand, trees are cut. Deforestation continues. Trees illegally logged in Thailand are floated downstream and reimported into Thailand as if they were from elsewhere. There are ways to get around regulations.  Money can do anything.

The sad part of all this though, is that human greed will ruin what was once beautiful.  Because we want to enjoy the natural beauty of the mountains, we cut trees to build houses and resorts.  We do all this because nothing is ever enough.  We want to make more and more money.  As a result we have even more deforestation.

Without forests, without trees, floods come easier and faster.  There are no longer any forests to help absorb the water before releasing it slowly into the rivers.   Instead, rain comes and water flows quickly into rivers, thus increasing the chances of flash floods.   Filled too quickly, the rivers break their banks.  Water now flows out everywhere forming new paths.

As a result, the top soil is eroded away as rivers wash down vast areas.  They call this “soil erosion.”  Once eroded,  this decreases the chances of the area to regenerate and for trees to grow again.  The land becomes infertile and cannot be used.

Such are the effects of deforestation.  Such are the effects of cutting down trees.

If Thais were to get-to-gether, learn the effects of deforestation and children taught to love nature perhaps we can avert future incidences of floods.  With trees and forests, we would have fresh air to breathe, rivers to enjoy, wild animals to go see.  Life would be more enjoyable, and yes, we would not have to wake up to such sad news of flash floods, deaths, and crocodiles eating dogs.

Save the Forests my dear readers! Love our Planet Earth. We have only one place to live.

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