Much of the rainforest is being razed to make way for cattle farming (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission) - Media Credit:

The Best Thoughts And Prayers For The Amazon Should Happen At Meal Time. Go Plant-Based

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6 Minutes Read

The Amazon rainforest is on fire and all fingers are pointing to the animal agriculture industry as being primarily responsible for this environmental and public health catastrophe. 

This is not a wildfire, but the consequence of cattle ranching. If this seems like a far-fetched connection, here is the short story on how the flames you’re seeing on social media connect to you and your health.

Brazil is the world’s leading meat exporter.

If you had beef or chicken for lunch in certain countries, it’s highly likely that it was coming from Brazil. The country exports to more than 150 countries across the world. Specifically the Amazon rainforest is responsible for US$5.5 billion worth of beef and US$6.5 billion worth of chicken exports per year.

These numbers are set to grow according to a 2019 USDA report: Brazilian production should increase by three percent and would export 11 percent more beef during 2019. 

Brazil is also a leading player in the processed meats coloring, Carmin, used in sausages, chorizos, and hot dogs.

Since president Jai Bolsonaro entered office in January 2019, organizations fighting to protect the environment are having a hard time doing their job given the climate-change denial stance the current government is silently endorsing.

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There was worldwide outcry when the Notre Dame cathedral was on fire. Why is there not the same level of outrage for the fires destroying the #AmazonRainforest? . **UPDATE** We’re all outraged and heartbroken by what’s happening, and it’s easy to feel powerless, but there are things YOU can do. ? . 1. Show your outrage. Add this post to your story, keep sharing updates, tag friends, family and influencers. The more voices we have, the louder our call. . 2. Educate yourself. The more you know about the crisis that’s happening, the more that can be done. . 3. Think about the things you eat. Food production is the leading cause of deforestation, as land is being cleared to rear livestock, and to grow feed for livestock. Less demand means less deforestation. . 4. Sign our petition calling on world leaders to put this issue at the top of their agenda. (Link in bio) . 5. Donate to our emergency Amazon appeal. (Link in bio) . #FightForYourWorld #Deforestation #ClimateCrisis #Rainforest #Amazon #ActForTheAmazon

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Cattle farming and deforestation

The Amazon rainforest hosts 30 percent of brazilian cattle resulting in more than 80 percent of deforested lands.

Illegal cattle pasture actors see the Amazon as an untapped opportunity to be part of the very lucrative brazilian meat industry. Very low production costs, around US$0.03/litre of milk and US$0.15/kg of meat make it a very high margin business.

To boost the value per head of cattle, farmers promoted the expansion of Brachiaria brizantha, a high-performing sown pasture that adds 600-800g/day of weight per calf. This major forage species has grown at the expense of the rainforest diversity and represents more than 95 percent of the seeds sold in the region.

Conservationist challenges

Conservationists faced big challenges to convert cattle farmers to crop farmers given that it requires low capital and benefits from a well-established brand equity and distribution channels worldwide.

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s lung. For scope, it stores carbon dioxide in its 390 billion trees, which helps substantially in slowing down global warming (if we set aside the recent assumption of low soil phosphorus availability and its negative impact on carbon sequestration). 

It also hosts trillions of types of bacteria in its soil, fauna and flora. In other words, one of the most vital hotspots of life on our planet is endangered because of a staggering demand. This demand – a.k.a the meat sold in your local supermarket or available in your freezer- makes farmers attracted to its high-profit and short-term economic gains. 

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#Regram #RG @rainforesttrust Fires are a major issue for our rainforests and our planet. These fires are intensified by many factors, including the climate crisis and deforestation. Loss of habitat through illegal logging and development exacerbates the intensity and duration of these fires, helping to create situations like the one in the Brazilian Amazon today.? .? Wondering what you can do to help?? .? 1. Keep informed about the situation. Sites like Global Forest Watch Fires (http://fires.globalforestwatch.org/home/) provide valuable information about the fires going on right now.? .? 2. Share your passion for the rainforest with your friends. Educate others about this issue and why it is so important.? .? 3. Try changing your daily habits to be more environmentally friendly. Purchasing environmentally-friendly products and reducing or reusing paper is a great way to start!.? .? 4. If you can, make your voice for the environment heard in your local and national elections.? .? 5. Support organizations like Rainforest Trust. While we can’t help stop these particular fires, our work to prevent deforestation helps stop fires like this from happening again. .? .? .? .? #amazonfires #amazon #rainforest #wildlife #nature #deforestation #saveacres

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Over-consumption

This is not propaganda. It’s science and public health with a sprinkle of self-serving.

You probably live thousands of miles away from the Amazon rainforest and aren’t able to fully empathize beyond a few clicks and retweets. 

In fact, this is precisely what the food industry has been doing for decades: removing us from the source of where our food comes from and telling enticing stories to move its processed products from the shelves.

However, today we know. Science is clear about the impact of our food choices on the status of the planet. It is also clear that even the short-termist versions of us should cut animal products to live longer and healthier lives. 

Regardless of ethics and beliefs, we are currently way past the era where food choices can be the subject of a debate. Our over-consumption and over-production for decades has left us with no alternative than the one where as a species, we will leave our omnivore years behind us and embrace a plant-based or plant-centric diet.

Crumbling food system

A beef patty alters the Amazon’s soil microbiome, as well as your own inner biodiversity. Due to lack of fiber in your diet and climbing meat consumption, what’s happening in the Amazon is linked to the current state of public health globally. 

A crumbling food system with less nutrients, less biodiversity and more global warming is the foundation of the growing number of chronic conditions and gastro-intestinal ailments that are now prevalent among kids and young people globally.

The rainforest is burning as we are writing these lines, our most sincere thoughts and prayers go to every living being suffering from it.

*This article was first published by We The Trillions

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