Recently, the plight of Malawi has reached the media—or rather the plight of its forests.
The poorest country in the world according to the World Bank, depends on tobacco as a cash crop. Much of it is sold in the heart of the tobacco-growing Central region, Chinkhoma, where tobacco is central to the economy.
But there is a high price to pay. The industry contributes to the destruction of forests, with millions of trees required for the tobacco drying barns. As a result of less trees, there are floods, and changed rainfall patterns, leading to a reduction in food growing.
But as people in rich countries cut back on smoking, Malawi faces less demand for its “green gold”.
The government hit out at anti-smoking campaigners. To their way of thinking, the western anti-smoking lobby risked plunging some of the poorest people in the world into further economic peril.
Here's the counterargument: Other uses of agricultural products are dangerous. Alcohol is addictive and leads to even higher social costs than tobacco consumption, sugar added to food leads to diabetes and obesity, butter leads to increased cholesterol.
More than 5% of Malawi's farming land is used for the crop—the highest percentage globally—but its impact contributes to a deforestation rate that is the fourth fastest in the world. Most trees are cut for fuel and charcoal, but tobacco is also an important factor. In 1990, more than 47% of the country was tree-covered, but by 2010 16.9% had been lost. Source: The Guardian.
As forests are cut down, our planet suffers with many negative effects including climate change. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Seventy percent of Earth's land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.
My husband started smoking at the age of fourteen on the streets of London in post WW2 London. That's sixty years ago. He's tried every subterfuge known to health professionals, all to no avail. Fallen ash has burned holes on his clothes, but he brushes that aside. Smoking is killing him along with other cancers, but he can't stop. He's stressed, anxious, hyper tense and all he needs to calm him down is another cigarette.
Sir Walter Raleigh has a lot to answer for.
Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.
Marianne Williamson. Source: Brainy Quote.