The Amazon Rainforest has been suffering from deforestation for decades, which isn’t doing our environment any favors. Rainforests play a crucial role in slowing global warming, given they absorb a significant amount of CO2 in our atmosphere.
It’s a simple equation, really: the more we cut down the rainforests, the more CO2 remains in the air, the hotter our planet gets.
But did you know that when it comes to the Amazon rainforest, the primary cause of its deforestation is meat?
According to The World Bank, meat production is responsible for more than 90% of the Amazon rainforest that has been cleared since 1970.
Around 80% of the deforested areas have been used for pastures for cattle and the cattle industry continues to grow (Brazil is the second-largest commercial beef producer in the world, behind the U.S.).
So how could we massively decrease deforestation? Easy — decrease the demand for Brazilian beef.
However, it’s a feat that’s easier said than done. Russia imports 321,058 tonnes of Brazilian beef annually — that’s a hefty chunk to reduce.
But it starts with YOU. That’s right… YOU reading this article. I’m not saying totally cut out meat (unless you want to — by all means, be my guest). But what about a simple reduction? Instead of 5 times a week, maybe eat beef twice.
Would you do it for the rainforests?
If you need more convincing, here are some crazy statistics about rainforests that show just how dire the situation is:
- Nearly half of the world’s plants, animals, and microorganisms species will be destroyed or threatened over the next 25 years due to rainforest deforestation
- One and a half acres are lost every second — severely damaging our environment
- Most rainforests are cleared of timber and then used for farming ranching operations (hence the impact of the cattle industry on the Amazon Rainforest)
- 5 centuries ago, there was an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazon Rainforest. As of 2012, there were an estimated 200,000
The rainforests provide an immense value to humanity — especially as global warming increases. However, without curbing the global appetite for meat, we could continue to see rapid deforestation in the name of cattle ranching, which could have irreversible effects on our environment.