Tag Archives: rainforest

Raising beef is killing the Amazon!

Rainforest firesRaising beef is killing the Amazon. The Amazon is the largest rainforest on the planet but it’s being attacked by fire. One of Brazil’s scientific agencies, recorded 72,843 fires in the Amazon this year alone, marking an 83 percent surge compared to the same period in 2018. The rainforest is considered vital in slowing global warming.  It’s also home to uncountable species of fauna and flora and, just as important, clearing and burning it creates massive soil erosion and without soil the plants can’t grow.

The ecological devastation is done in the service of the surging demand for beef, says Nathalie Walker, the director of the tropical forest and agriculture program at the National Wildlife Federation.

Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country, accounting for 80 percent of current deforestation rates. Amazon Brazil is home to approximately 200 million head of cattle, and while Brazil’s own consumption of beef is high, it’s the largest exporter in the world, supplying about one-quarter of the global market. Hong Kong is the biggest global importer of Brazilian beef products, bringing in about $1.5 billion worth in 2017, according to the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association. China is second, at nearly $1 billion, followed by Iran.

While the Amazon may seem far away, its destruction is affecting the whole planet. As long as there’s a high demand for beef, Brazil will continue to profit from it by cutting down the rainforest to clear space for raising beef cattle and the crops to feed them. We can all play a part in showing that we care about the health of the Amazon, by adopting a healthy, compassionate, delicious, and environmentally conscious plant-based diet.

Rainforests: the impact of livestock

Rainforest deforestationThe rainforests are dying and raising livestock is killing them. The problem is only getting worse. For instance, according to recent reports, deforestation in Brazil has already increased by 30 percent in just the last 12 months. 1,600 trees are chopped down every minute just to make room for cattle to graze and to grow livestock feed. If these rates of deforestation continue, it’s likely that there won’t be any rainforest left in 100 years. It is this all-time record destruction that has set off a loud alarm bell ringing among scientists, environmentalists and many others. Read more

Making Mincemeat Out of Rainforests

Fire, Fire Burning bright, how much of the Amazon will be destroyed tonight? OK, I’m not much of poet in case you didn’t know it. But there’s an ecological disaster brewing in the Amazon and raising livestock for meat is the primary cause.

There has been a catastrophic clearing of the Amazonian and Central American rainforests, which has largely been done to create grazing land so that cattle can be raised for export. According to the Center for International Forestry Research, beef exports have accel­erated the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The total area destroyed increased from 102.5 million acres in 1990 to 145 million acres in 2000. In only 10 years, an area twice the size of Portugal was destroyed, almost all of it to clear pasture for cattle. David Kaimowitz, Director of the Center for International Forestry Research, says, “Cattle ranchers are making mincemeat out of Brazil’s rain forests.” To make matters worse half of the Central American rainforest has been destroyed as well to raise meat.

Recently, the Amazon has also seen a rise in soy production, with farm animals raised in Europe as its largest customer. It’s important note that, according to the Nature Conservancy, 80% of the world’s soy production is used for farm animal feed, so even the soy production is primarily meat driven.

The rainforest is home to a large number of animals and plants, including many rare and endangered species, that are being destroyed by cattle ranching. Almost as bad is the fact that tropical rainforest land cleared for pasture is very susceptible to soil erosion, given the special nature of rainforest soil and the special climate in tropical regions.

According to National Geographic, scientists fear that an additional 20 percent of the trees in the Amazon will be lost over the next two decades. If that happens, the forest’s ecology will begin to unravel. Intact, the Amazon produces half its own rainfall through the moisture it releases into the atmosphere. Eliminate enough of that rain through clearing, and the remaining trees dry out and die.

With attention focused so much on global warming, it’s easy to forget other ecological crises that are related to meat consumption. The environmental effects of raising meat are many and include water pollution, soil erosion, as well global warming and ecological destruction. As world meat consumption continues to rise, and the damage to the environment rises with it, the value of a vegetarian diet in sustaining the planet becomes ever more clear.