Ending Rainforest Exploitation: The Time Has Come!
At age 15, I traveled to Peru to spend time with my relatives in the jungle near my mother’s birthplace. During that visit, my cousin Yandida, and I took a day-long bike ride through the Amazonian rainforest. She held on for dear life as we screamed and laughed the entire way!
My right elbow still bears the scar to show that I might have been too young to be let loose on a motorcycle. Injury notwithstanding, I’ll never forget those rolling hills, covered in brilliant tropical vegetation and stretching as far as the eye could see.
It truly was one of the most beautiful days of my life!
Being blessed with such a memory, however, makes it even more crushing for me to realize that today, the same jungles are being intentionally destroyed. In order to feed wealthy nations animal protein they don’t need, the cattle industry has engaged in the rainforests’ wholesale clearing and burning.
While Brazilian deforestation makes the news most often, this process is happening throughout the Amazon rainforest. As a matter of fact, it’s happening all over the world.
Other nations experiencing higher levels of deforestation this year include:
Indigenous tribes’ native homelands are destroyed so that beef cattle can provide meat shipped to first-world countries. This is 21st-century exploitation at its finest – and it must stop!
Typically, it’s the corporate giants getting rich on imported beef who turn a blind eye to the worst natural-resource pillaging the world has ever known. But equal blame rests with the consumers buying their products!
The sad truth?
Rainforest destruction is increasing because the demand for rib-eye steaks and hamburgers hasn’t decreased. Earlier this year, a report from PNAS biologist Douglas C. Daly sounded the alarm:
“Deforestation in Brazil was up 72% between August 2019 and May 2020 in comparison with the previous year, giving rise to a horrifying new metric: more than half a square mile of deforestation per hour.”
This is just in Brazil and doesn’t include the horrifying metrics throughout the world. Only calling for the immediate mass reduction of beef consumption will lower demand enough to globally collapse the market for this foolhardy commodity.
Doing so would remove the incentive for rainforest destruction: the money to be made by satisfying Western nations’ insatiable demand for beef. Eliminating demand is the only way to eliminate the meat industry’s profits.
In the 70 years since my mother’s birth, the area of Earth covered in forests has diminished from 65 to 35 percent.
And last year, my two teenagers repeated my long-ago trip to the rainforest of Peru to spend time with their Grandma. I long for the day when their kids – my grandchildren – will follow in our footsteps and visit their South American roots.
If we don’t stop the destruction now, however, there’ll be no jungle left to greet them!