Amazon is Sounding the Climate Alarm Plant More Trees Eat Less Meat Hong Kongers Reduce Carbon together
The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest, making up
for 50% of the world’s rainforest area. Referred to as the "Lungs of the
Earth”, it not only supplies 20% of the world’s oxygen, but also absorbs CO2
from the atmosphere to slow down global warming. The rainforest brings a
variety of benefits to people and the ecology, including air purification,
water conservation, raising biodiversity, and more.
The fire in the Amazon rainforest has been burning for months and
remains uncontrolled. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE)
noted there has been over 70,000 fires in the Amazon this year, 80% more than
the previous year. More than 950 thousand hectares of the forest has been
reduced to scorched earth and the situation is worrying. In fact, the frequency
of the fires is directly linked to deforestation. As one of the largest beef
importers in the world, farmers in Brazil will convert forests into farmlands
through slash-and-burn for crops and livestock.
Friends of the Earth (HK) urges the Brazilian Government to actively
tackle the disaster. Countries around the world should adopt a sustainable
development model to stop deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) pointed out that the
livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas than the transportation sector.
As one of the cities with the highest per-capita meat consumption, Hong Kong
can practice a healthy and low-carbon diet and contribute to mitigating climate
On the other hand, urban trees can alleviate heat islands. Hong Kong
citizens only enjoy 2.5 square meters of urban green space if country parks
were excluded. In contrast, mainland cities have an average of 5.7 m2 and
Singapore with 7.5 m2. Urban greening can bring environmental, societal and
health benefits. FoE (HK) urges the Government to increase the green ratio in
Hong Kong and create a local "carbon sink”. Further, a long-term urban forestry
policy should be formulated to turn Hong Kong into an "urban forest”.
To enhance the local biodiversity and promote the message of "Save
Trees, Conserve Nature”, FoE (HK) has partnered with Agriculture, Fisheries and
Conservation Department (AFCD) in the Country Parks Plantation Enrichment
Programme to host "Tree Planting Challenge”, a tree planting and hiking
activity. Since 2005, more than 9,300 participants have successfully climbed
and planted 83,000 native saplings in various country parks. In addition to
raising public awareness of climate change, the planted saplings will provide
habitat and food for local animals. FoE (HK) is now preparing for "Tree Planting
Challenge 2020”, which will be held in Tai Lam Country Park next spring.
Since August 2018, FoE (HK) has been delivering professional
training to the local stakeholders under the "Jockey Club Smart City Tree
Management Project” funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and
with collaboration with Poly U, HKUST, HKU, and various government departments.
We have successfully trained up over 120 tertiary students, 1,300 secondary
students and 100 community stakeholders in better understanding the local
ecology, biodiversity and tree risk management. In the coming year, we will be
arranging more secondary school talks as well as community seminars to enhance
their knowledge in trees and working together on forest conservation.