The Demand For Soybeans For Animal Feed Is Deforesting The Planet

The conversion of forest to field for soybeans is not news. But the use of drones is opening up a new perspective on this problem:

The hamburger chain Burger King has been buying animal feed produced in soy plantations carved out by the burning of tropical forests in Brazil and Bolivia, according to a new report.

Jaguars, giant anteaters and sloths have all been affected by the disappearance of around 700,000 hectares (1,729,738 acres) of forest land between 2011 and 2015.

The campaign group Mighty Earth says that evidence gathered from aerial drones, satellite imaging, supply-chain mapping and field research shows a systematic pattern of forest-burning.

Local farmers carried out the forest-burning to grow soybeans for Burger King’s suppliers Cargill and Bunge, the only two agricultural traders known to be operating in the area.

Mighty Earth’s devastating report can be found here. Perhaps it will help people connect their love of fast food and burgers to the changing face of the planet. Have to hope at least…

Major Misperception On Climate

Perceived contribution (gray bars) versus actual contribution (red dots) of different industries to global carbon emissions.

 

This has puzzled me for years:

The general public has a major lack of understanding of how eating meat and dairy contributes to climate change, according to a survey of Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa by the market research organization Ipsos MORI. Although meat and dairy production accounts for roughly 15 percent of total global carbon emissions — equal to exhaust emissions from the international transportation sector — less than 30 percent of survey respondents identified meat and dairy production as a major contributor to climate change. More than twice as many — 64 percent — said transportation was a major contributor.

Interestingly, many people are aware that deforestation contributes to global warming, but don’t apparently don’t connect deforestation to clearing land to run livestock.

I guess the meat and dairy industry has a better PR team than the oil and gas companies.