While our crew can feel pretty good about ourselves having spent the last few weeks treeplanting and doing revegetation work, it’s pretty disheartening to realize that deforestation has us beat – by about a million to one. Global economics fuel continually destructive practices in areas that receive little attention, eastern Paraguay in this case.
It is a story that starts on the dinner tables of the UK and other rich nations, where a hunger for meat and dairy products fuels an ever-rising demand for the industrial farming of animals using high-protein feed. At the bottom of this food chain is the soya plant. Millions of hectares of intensively cultivated soya are gnawing at tropical forests and savannah – displacing farmers and communities, leading to poverty, ill-health and even violence, ruining habitats and exacerbating global warming.
A report by campaign group Friends of the Earth is to be published on Tuesday to focus the attention of UK consumers and the government on the scale of this destruction. It will detail for the first time the cutting, burning and spraying that occurs as a consequence. The report, What’s Feeding our Food?, will start a campaign urging the government to take action, ending subsidies and other policies that encourage intensive farming and making sure public money spent on food is not propping up damaging practices.
Here’s somebody who’s found a creative way to deal with the problem:
Ride for the Trees is a 10,000-mile environmental bicycle tour through 13 countries from South America to North America.
The mission is to advocate protection of endangered forests worldwide and to raise funds to support conservation efforts in Paraguay’s San Rafael Reserve. The fundraising goal is $100,000 ($10 per mile), which will support Guyra Paraguay and Procosara, two non-profit organizations fighting to save San Rafael.