We cannot sustain life without healthy, thriving forests. That is why Greenpeace campaigns for their protection and on this International Day of Forests, we want to share with you a few reasons why you should help.

1. 300 million of us depend on forests in our day-to-day lives.

Failure to protect forests threatens our homes and livelihoods.

People on a Road in DRC Rainforest © Thomas Einberger / argum / Greenpeace

Local women and children on a road coming from a water hole.

2. Forests absorb nearly 30% of our CO2 emissions.

Not only do they absorb carbon, but they store just under 300 billion tonnes of carbon in their living parts. It’s estimated that deforestation is responsible for 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Destroying them will not see that figure reduced.

Deforested Area in the Amazon © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

Single tree in a soy field next to rainforest, south of Santarem and along the road BR163.

3. Forests are home to more than 50% of all plant and animal species.

In the last few hundred years extinction rates have increased by up to a thousand times. This rate could increase further if we do not protect our forests.

 Orangutan in Central Kalimantan © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace

Baby orangutans at the Orangutan Foundation International Care Center in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan. Expansion of oil palm plantations is destroying their forest habitat.

4. Forests provide vital medicines.

70%  of the plants identified as having anti-cancer characteristics by the US National Cancer Institute are found only in tropical rainforests.

About a quarter of drugs used in conventional medicines are derived from rainforest plants.

Congo Rainforest © Thomas Einberger / argum / Greenpeace

Aerial view of the Congolese rainforest. Taken on a flight from Kinshasa to Bumba.

Take Action

Corporations must clean up their act and governments must enforce strong legislation to protect what forests remain. Today, over 10,000 people are storming Twitter and Facebook under the hashtag #StandForForests to show the world that forests must be protected.

You can take action too. We uncovered widespread forest destruction in the supply chains of consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. For months now, this company has not responded with a promise to guarantee forest friendly product.

Greg Norman is the Congo Forests Communications Coordinator for Greenpeace International