From Ed Le Quesne, some Greenpeace news.
He writes "Some good news, which shows that campaigning does work. well done to Greenpeace."
In the last few months our campaign to protect the Amazon rainforest has gone from strength to strength. Today I'm writing to share with you the most significant victory yet. Four of the largest players in the global cattle industry just announced their collective agreement to zero deforestation in the Amazon. This means they will stop purchasing cattle from newly deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon. They will also register and map all cattle ranches which supply their business to ensure their commitment is upheld. Cattle ranching is the single largest cause of deforestation in the world which is why this win is so important. Massive areas of the Brazilian rainforest will now be safe from deforestation for cattle. It's phenomenal that these multibillion dollar companies have bowed to pressure generated by our campaign. Over the last three years we investigated the supply chain, exposed those involved and pressured key companies that we knew had the ability to influence the industry and win this campaign. I cannot express how important this victory is for the future of our forests and the climate. We are making huge strides and I guarantee this win would not have been achieved without individuals like you behind us funding our work and taking action.
The rainforests, as David Attenborough showed so well in his Planet Earth TV series, are one of the "green lungs" of the planet. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.
The wanton destruction of the rainforests not only effects carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, but also a location for so many of the ingredients for major pharmaceutical discoveries of the past (and the potential for the future)
Currently, 121 prescription drugs currently sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. And while 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest.(1)
Dr David Bellamy has this to say about rainforests:
Forests perform a number of crucially important environmental tasks using only solar power, water and recycled minerals. Trees help hold carbon rich living soils safe from erosion, thus saving rivers and inshore waters from siltation and pollution. Trees provide shade, windbreaks and a range of habitats both above and below ground, habitats for everything from nitrogen fixing bacteria, soil micro flora and fauna through all the birds and animals of the native bush. Trees control peaks and troughs in river flow helping to ameliorate the effects of floods and droughts. (2)
You don't have to be a proponent of climate change to see that the destruction of rainforests is based on short term gains (something that the free market tends to be very good at) to the long term detriment of the planet. David Bellamy is skeptical about climate change, yet sees the destruction of the rainforests as an ecological disaster with the potential to make the atmosphere unbreathable.
What is more, the local market can effect the change of land use across the globe. A three year research project by Greenpeace showed that:
Britons' enthusiasm for ready meals as well as tinned beef and leather products was contributing to a boom in demand for cattle ranching in Brazil. The expansion of the cattle industry in the Amazon region was the single biggest cause of deforestation in the world, the report added. Greenpeace said 40% of our prepared, cooked or tinned beef came from Brazil and of this nearly 90% came from a trio of companies who "knowingly" buy significant volumes of cattle from farms engaged in "recent and illegal" deforestation. The Slaughtering The Amazon report called on UK companies to stop buying from Brazilian suppliers who do not commit to cleaning up their supply chains and support a moratorium on all deforestation for cattle ranching.(3)
Think before you buy!
I hope that Clameur de Haro, the blogger who cheerfully quotes Bellamy on climate change, is as supportive of the campaigns by David Bellamy, Greenpeace and others, to stop the destruction of the rainforests.
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