As the American president loosens environmental protections one after another, Brazil's president has been about the same business. Both leaders are willing to lay down precious natural resources in the pursuit of for-profit resource exploitation. Farmers + ranchers in the Amazon started most of the currently burning fires in order to clear land for cattle grazing. Brazil is now the world's leading exporter of beef.
Discussion over who should have to pay the price of rainforest conservation has been in play for many years. If all people benefit from rainforests, why should only those countries that contain this resource pay the price of decreased land use + productivity? Today, the leaders at the G7 agreed to send $20 million to help put out the fires raging in the Amazon + to aid in reforestation. The Brazilian president views this aid as colonialism...powerful nations dictating preservation. How do we help preserve the environment, if those in power do not wish to protect it? These questions deserve attention.
A little over a decade ago, it was the realization that the rainforest was being clearcut in order to make way for cattle grazing that pushed me over the hump in deciding to stop eating meat. The rainforests are vital to our survival, and I would rather have oxygen than beef.
A few ways we can participate in stopping the fires + deforestation:
-give up beef or decrease consumption
-share this connection with others
-donate to these organizations already at work