By Veena Nesarikar (‘22)
Forests are usually taken down to make room for new establishments and homes. Even though the expansion of franchises and homes may seem like progress for the community, it could eventually lead to the demise of the environment.
Once the process begins, it’s hard to stop. Even if a small amount of land is cleared of forest, it has a monumental impact on the overall health of the environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims that the world doesn’t have forest to spare if it wants to avoid the effects of climate change.
Biology teacher Ms. Courtney Kestner said, “Driving home, I see in broad daylight, around 10 deer just waiting to run across the street. We are going to see big impacts with deer becoming a hazard to us because [they] cause accidents.”
The forests in South Brunswick are home to a variety of animals. A significant amount of them, without their natural habitats, are forced them to roam in the day on the side of highways, in neighborhoods, and places where they possibly put themselves and others in danger.
Sophomore Amanda Tesar said, “Every government needs to create laws that restrict companies from cutting down trees in places that are experiencing deforestation.”
Government authority has a significant impact on how land is used around town, and has more power to make a change with policies regarding preserving forests.
Ms. Kestner said, “Only 50% of South Brunswick is developed. The district keeps talking about how we will be getting 5,000 new students in the next couple of years because of all the building going on.”
Experts say the consequences of deforestation are merely going to continue to contribute to climate change and global warming if nothing is done.
Areas that have been cleared of forest for commercial development around the community can be found prominently on Route 1. The ShopRite and Taco Bell near South Brunswick High School and another storage center in development next to the local McDonald’s are all examples of new developments in progress. Other examples of establishments that are already up and running are White Castle and Starbucks.
The World Wildlife Fund claims, “‘When forests are cut, burned or otherwise removed they emit carbon instead of absorb[ing] carbon. Deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for around 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. These greenhouse gas emissions contribute to rising temperatures, changes in patterns of weather and water, and an increased frequency of extreme weather events.”
Forests are a part of a system that if interfered with, will set off a chain of events that will harm the planet even more than it already has.
“Until the ‘big business’ owners, you know, the people who actually control things, are personally affected, that’s when things might actually change, and that’s the sad, pessimistic truth,” said Ms. Kestner.