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Leonardo DiCaprio has called on his followers to eliminate or reduce their beef consumption in a bid to halt Amazon deforestation.
He made the comment as fires rip through the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, the world’s largest tropical forest. It is not only home to around one million indigenous people and three million species of plants and animals, it is also a vital carbon store which slows down the pace of global warming.
The area has seen a record number of fires this year, with the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), detecting 72,843 fires between January and August. This represents an 84 percent increase compared to the same period in 2018.
‘Lungs of the Earth’
Taking to Instagram, DiCaprio outlined the severity of the situation, describing the rainforest as ‘a critical piece of the global climate solution’ adding that without it, ‘we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check’.
He also shared ideas of what people can do that can actively help like situation, like donating to frontline Amazon groups, and becoming a regular supporter of the Rainforest Alliance’s community forestry initiatives.
He added: “Be a conscious consumer, taking care to support companies committed to responsible supply chains.? Eliminate or reduce consumption of beef; cattle ranching is one of the primary drivers of Amazon deforestation.”
DiCaprio’s final suggestion was to ‘vote for leaders who understand the urgency of our climate crisis and are willing to take bold action – including strong governance and forward-thinking policy’.?
Politics has been a fundamental part of the discourse around the current Amazon fires, as many conservations and scientists have blamed Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, who pledged to develop the region for farming and mining when he took office in January, despite the warnings of conservationists around deforestation.
Over the last 10 years, Brazilian governments had slowed the rate of deforestation, implementing a system of fines and action by federal agencies. But there has been a decline in the number of environmental crime convictions and timber confiscations under Bolsonaro, who has criticized the penalties implemented by former ministers.