SLAP! I love ads like this one on the World Wildlife Fund page. Wicked. Thanks, Lara.
Then again - every decent (morbid/resignated) biologist will tell you that evolution just has its own path and that - THUNK - every minute a couple of species die and every day a couple -THUNK- new are discovered. The problem is - how many incredible and wonderful species have already diminished, without us even knowing?
A question of debate or morale? See, If people want to conserve the species just because of the gain (in medicine, myriads of plant species from the rainforests are used and new drugs obtained, ...), than we are, to say, a sorry lot indeed. THIS IS and should not be the question, but for some it is. But think: WE ARE MAKING STATEMENTS, every day, every minute. By what clothes we wear (who made them, how FAR they were transported, which materials used), what we eat, who we buy electricity from (from more "greener" companies or not?), what we go to work, school, cinema, ..., with.
Here's one unverified source, saying:
Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
So, biologists and conservational biologists and ecologists (if we deem the term appropriate) have decided: "Huh, right. Save the wales by saying yachts are in danger of being sunk? A bit of a far stretch, but OK, I'll buy it!"
And for the last moral: Most medicine men and shamans remaining in the Rainforests today are 70 years old or more. Each time a rainforest medicine man dies, it is as if a library has burned down.
When a medicine man dies without passing his arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants.