Skip to content

Tragedy in the Amazon: Meat, Greed, and the US-China Trade War

September 3, 2019
by
brazil-fires-august-2019-nasa-meat-eaters

Amazon Fires Aug 15-22. NASA/Earth Observatory, Source Sentient Media

Source Sentient Media
By Grant Lingel &Mikko Jarvenpaa



The Amazon Rainforest is burning and the world is finally paying attention.

The rates of deforestation have been soaring under the new far-right government and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro who sees the Amazon as not much more than an opportunity to raise more cattle and plant more soy.

In fact, Bolsonaro joked in an interview with Reuters saying “I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame.”

Bolsonaro, who has promised to bring prosperity to the people by ruling with the iron fist that is popular among populists, has been doubling down on agriculture, the strongest performing sector in Brazil in recent years. It is this economic interest combined with a complete disregard for the environment that is now burning down the rainforest.

Amazon Ablaze: The Current Situation

The Amazon, unlike many other forest types, rarely burns naturally even in the dry season. There are many indicators that the majority of the fires have been started intentionally. Folha da Progresso reported that farmers and ranchers in the state of Pará had organized a “fire day” for August 10th to start clearing the land.

According to Inpe, the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil, fires in the Amazon have increased 84% in comparison to the same time period back in 2018, before Bolsonaro took office. Infamously, Bolsonaro has discredited the data, up to the satellite imagery showing the extent of the damage. He fired Ricardo Galvão, the head of the agency last week because he claims the agency is trying to undermine the government by publishing fake news.

Meanwhile, the smoke from the fires is reaching as far as São Paulo, 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) away, darkening the daytime skies.

The Amazon is being cleared to grow soybeans. That soy is almost exclusively harvested and exported to feed livestock on factory farms around the world, an easy and cheap way to feed animals and get them fat for slaughter quickly.

It is the world’s appetite for beef that is fuelling the fires in the Amazon.


Political Will to Disregard Reality – and the Planet

Bolsonaro may not be to blame for every single fire that’s burning in the Amazon, but it is now easier for cattle ranchers and loggers to get away with criminal arson when they know that their current government is not going to step in.

With the current international attention being drawn towards the catastrophe, Bolsonaro announced a “zero tolerance” towards environmental crimes and said the army would be deployed to fight the fires. But he never wavers from his line that the Amazon is Brazil’s to do as they please and to provide for “economic opportunities” for the population. He has said numerous times in the past that the Amazon needs to be privatized and exploited in coordination with major industries and other countries in order to turn larger profits.

There is no overstating how much less Bolsonaro cares for the environment – let alone the global climate – than he does for short-term gains in productivity of the exploitative industries that supported his rise to power. And it is crucial to understand that while the regime favors developing land for production, up to 80% of the deforestation going on is illegal, even under the country’s own current laws, but the government is turning a blind eye to this. Earlier this year, the military police detail that this far accompanied the inspectors looking for violations was removed. This makes the work of inspectors so dangerous that it might as well be impossible to monitor the vast rural areas of Brazil.

Jair Bolsonaro does not take the threat of climate crisis seriously or the mounting evidence that the Amazon Rainforest may be reaching a tipping point of runaway deforestation as the region’s ecosystem falls out of balance: mega-droughts alternating with major flooding. He infamously stated that if people want to make a positive change for the environment, they should “poop every other day” instead of on a daily basis.

Who Lit the Match? Global Appetite for Meat

Why is the forest being cleared in the first place? Logging, mining, and cattle ranching are often mentioned, but this doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Mining, first of all, does not take large amounts of land compared to the other types of natural exploitation. Cattle ranching needs much more land, but while Brazil is infamous for producing livestock and beef cows, it is not even ranching that is really driving the current momentum. Logging has traditionally been thought of as the scourge of forests, but logging makes a quick buck, and then you’re left with a lot of cleared land (also, if you’re planning on exploiting the timber in a forest, burning the trees doesn’t really make sense). So what’s going on, really?

The Amazon is being cleared to grow soybeans. That soy is almost exclusively harvested and exported to feed livestock on factory farms around the world, an easy and cheap way to feed animals and get them fat for slaughter quickly.

It is the world’s appetite for beef that is fuelling the fires in the Amazon.

While most soy typically comes from different areas of Brazil, most notably the Cerrado region, that doesn’t mean that planting soy in the Amazon doesn’t happen. And with a government that encourages the exploitation of nature to turn a profit and a soy-hungry China increasing their demand for Brazilian livestock feed, it’s no surprise that the Amazon is burning.

Trade War’s Collateral Damage

Bloomberg reported on August 15th that China has increased purchases of Brazilian soybeans after freezing the US trade of the crops. In tandem, Argentinian farmers have been holding back on sales due to currency instability. That leaves the giant, Brazil.




2019 started off with a decrease in Chinese imports of Brazilian soy, a 13% drop in the first four months from the previous year. However, as Washington and Beijing continued fighting and have been unable to work around the bickering between leaders, the demand from China has increased. If it wasn’t for the African Swine Fever having reportedly infected and killed as much as a quarter of China’s pigs being grown for pork, Chinese demand for feed could be even higher.

The environmental catastrophe is ringing the alarm bells in Europe where countries in the G7 summit in France have planned for both carrot and stick to Brazil. Any sanctions or demands may throw a wrench in the near-concluded Mercosur negotiations between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. France and Ireland have already declined to sign the Mercosur contract if the Amazon fires are not curbed. If that happens, then Brazil will increasingly be aligned with China buying its crops to feed the meat-hungry population.

With these dynamics, the European Union may yet find itself in a power position. For the remainder of 2019, the Presidency of the European Council is with Finland, and the country is pursuing an EU-wide ban on Brazilian beef. The Commission is expected to take action later this week.

Burning the Planet for Beef

The world is finally waking up to the existential planetary risk that animal agriculture poses. It is not just the climate emissions, or deforestation, or disruption of the water cycles. It is an ecosystem-destroying combination of all of these things, critically demonstrated by the Amazon Rainforest fires. Whether or not they will be put out in time, the Earth will not have dodged the bullet yet.

What can you do to help? You can donate to charities working to control and mitigate the damage. You can share this article and the linked resources. And you can stop eating meat.

If you are interested, here is an online event: https://www.facebook.com/events/712257439198354/




Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA: https://www.petaliterature.com/

Vegan Outreach: https://veganoutreach.org/order-form/

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE




You are the heart of our earth
The flowing blood of all
That we keep
Now,
We weep.
You are the heart of our lives
Each breath each step
Each moment
before
You are the everything
That makes everything
Fall into place
The sun in the darkness
You light our earthspace.
You are the essence
The center
We must find a way
To honor and keep
With us forever
And
A
Day.
Our amazon.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson




8 Comments leave one →
  1. karen lyons kalmenson permalink
    September 3, 2019 5:08 am

    You are the heart of our earth
    The flowing blood of all
    That we keep
    Now,
    We weep.
    You are the heart of our lives
    Each breath each step
    Each moment
    before
    You are the everything
    That makes everything
    Fall into place
    The sun in the darkness
    You light our earthspace.
    You are the essenceThe center
    We must find a way
    To honor and keep
    With us forever
    And
    A
    Day.
    Our amazon.
    ;
    if you are interested, here is an online event: https://www.facebook.com/events/712257439198354/

    Liked by 2 people

    • September 3, 2019 9:11 am

      Perfect, I love it, thank you so much, hon; I posted the link, too, thank you so much for everything you do, all your talent, work, and efforts. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • karenlyonskalmenson permalink
        September 5, 2019 4:59 am

        you are so very welcome and thank you for your commitment to our planet and the precious lives that dwell upon i

        Liked by 1 person

  2. September 3, 2019 6:57 am

    wake up world while we still have one.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. September 3, 2019 7:13 am

    Hard not to despair:(

    Liked by 2 people

  4. September 3, 2019 1:20 pm

    In truth, this makes sense. A crazy asshole in the Brazilian government… the exponential increase in the appetite of “corpses” (meat market) from the Far East (see China).
    One wonders, is everything triggered as a chain reaction of Trump’s misrule? The discussions at the national level (Switzerland) are felt in a moderate way considering that we are extra-community, but however, the pressures that are brought against us are heavy. We pay billions to the EU to maintain bilateral agreements that we don’t need (I guess since we get no profits)… but pressures continue. Here. There. Everywhere. Well, of course there is to be afraid. Much fear. We’re screwed for good and I can understand Animalist Untamed.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    September 5, 2019 4:59 am

    you are so very welcome and thank you for your commitment to our planet and the precious lives that dwell upon it

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Plantbase Patriot

Health & Wellness, Plantbase/Vegan Lifestyle & Investments

Veganista

news∙food∙life

World Animals Voice

Animal news from around the world.

Purplerays

spiritual enlightenment and self improvement

The Bruges Vegan

more than waffles and chocolate

DirtNKids Blog

Soil, Kids, Vegan -- Connected Through Nature

Amici del Lupo - Svizzera italiana

per sensibilizzare e farlo conoscere...

Animalista Untamed

The only good cage is an empty cage

Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Organic Opinion

Finding it, aye there's the rub~

Eat No Harm

Living consciously for our planet, the animals, and ourselves.

Flawless Pandemonium

Question everything~

Veganism is Nonviolence

Being Vegan Is A First Step To A Nonviolent Life

The Biotrotter

The Globetrotting Biologists

GILLIAN PREW // POETRY

for the earth and the animals

Nepali Today

Coffee break Photo Blogs Base In Tokyo, Japan.

%d bloggers like this: