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Word Count: 524
Since the dawn of time the earth has provided protection and nourishment to its inhabitants the ozone layer providing protection from the suns harmful rays the vast forests providing oxygen and shelter the rivers and oceans providing life sustaining water Until the industrial age mans relationship with his environment had been a beneficial one in which only what was needed was taken However with the advent of technology and machines mankind has slowly sunk deeper into the recesses of destruction rather than necessity Blessed with the gift of intelligence mankind must make an effort to curb the slow but sure depletion and destruction of the earths resources Nature has been kind to its inhabitants providing us with plentiful resources However man has in recent times drained these resources not out of necessity but out of greed Healthy forests are critical to ensuring clean water supplies pure air abundant fish stocks and wildlife - the diversity of species on which all life depends Forests mitigate global warming by absorbing and storing carbon Intact forests regulate regional and global hydrologic cycles insuring clean and adequate supplies of water In addition intact forests hold soils in place preserving fertility and preventing floods landslides and the destructive siltation of fish spawning streams Mankind has placed more importance on paper and lumber than he has on the environment Possible solutions include using alternative sources for the creation of paper andor the recycling of existing paper However to the problem of deforestation there is only one solution the severe regulation of logging in industrial countries Although the outlook appears grim mankind can stop or at least slow down what he started Nature works in mysterious ways and will someday replenish her precious forests Perhaps earths greatest gift to its inhabitants is protection
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