We are losing Earth’s greatest biological treasures just as we are beginning to appreciate their true value. Rainforests once covered about 14% of the Earth’s land mass; now they cover a messily 6% and professionals estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed within the next 40 years or so.

This should put a chill down everyone’s spine because the Amazon Rainforest alone provides more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and with one and a half acres of rainforest being lost every second, this is a problem we should really be concerned more about.

Most of these losses are caused by logging, fires, and land-clearing for agriculture and cattle-grazing. Specifically, in Para and Mato Grosso states from July 2008 – June 2009, a grand total of 4,700 square kilometers of rainforest was chopped down. Just in the recent month of June there was an estimated sum of 578 square kilometers lost from these rainforests. To put that in perspective, that is the size of the city of Los Angeles. If we are losing as much rainforest, in one month, as the size of the second largest city in the United States, there is definitely a problem.

Most of the deforestation around the area of Mato Grosso is being blamed on the governor, Blairo Maggi. Maggi is not only the governor but owns one of the biggest soy bean operations in South America. He is known to many as “The Soy King.” But this Soy King, according to National Geographic, for converting 80% of rainforests in his state to soy bean farms and cattle ranches. He now has over 350,000 acres of soy bean farms. Although he insists that concerns about Amazon deforestation are exaggerated.

So now you know, rainforest deforestation is a real problem, especially in the case of Mato Grosso, but what can we do about it? Now I’m not saying you should take a plane done to South America and chain yourself to a tree, but I will list some practical methods. We first must inform others. If people don’t know there is a problem, how can they help to fix it? Second, we should not only tell people about the deforestation problems but encourage them to live in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment. Finally, we should support companies that operate in ways that minimize damage to the environment. Not companies like the kind Blairo Maggi is running in the state he is governing.