Updated: Jun 8, 2022
Sometimes we have the tendency to focus only on the details that are in front of us, and we forget to see the bigger picture. The rapid decline of our forested land is not about losing a few trees here and there, but the major impact this is having on us and generations to come. Don’t just look at the tree but see the whole forest.
As we are aware, trees are crucial for sustaining life on Earth; unfortunately, our forests are being destroyed. It is estimated that 42 million acres of forested land in Asia, Africa and Latin America are being destroyed annually, along with it we lose over 135 species of plants and animals with the loss of their habitats.
WHAT’S THE CAUSE OF DEFORESTATION?
One of the driving forces for deforestation, especially in the Amazon, is the animal agriculture sector. The livestock industry is reaching profits that are approximately 100 billion USD a year in America alone, sparking farmers around the globe to want in on the profit.
With increasing demand for meat, dairy and eggs over the last decade, it has increased the pressure on farmers to grow more crops to be used as feed for the livestock.
If this continues with our population growth along with the demand for more animal products, it is estimated that this will almost double the amount of crops we grow in the next 30 years; at the expense of our forests.
Forest destruction is caused by clearing forested lands and converting it into crops to grow feed for grazing, livestock and housing; even though the forested land may not be appropriate for farming. The negative effects of deforestation is increasing at an alarming rate globally. In the US, roughly 260 million acres+ of forested land has been cleared to make room for more crops, most of which will solely be used to grow feed for livestock.
Deforestation, Brazil - An aerial shot shows the contrast between forest and agricultural landscapes near Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. Photo by Kate Evans/CIFOR
These crops could be used to feed people around the world. One thing I can do to make my carbon footprint on the world smaller is to reduce my intake of animal products. Imagine a world where everyone ate fewer animal products? Hard to believe, right? We could send those crops that would typically feed livestock directly to people who would otherwise starve.
Each year 70 billion farm animals are raised solely for our food. Intensive animal farming also known as Factory Farming is on the rise. This method of farming is to produce vast quantities in a short amount of time. Case closed, nothing else matters except profit. Whether it be the negative impact this farming method has on our ecosystem and environment, or the cruelty and poor living conditions these animals suffer on a daily basis.
While the undeniable truth remains that animal agriculture has increased the availability of animal products at more affordable prices, we cannot deny the fact that this is at the cost of our environment, our animals and our overall health.
Each person can make a difference in the fight to save our forested lands; now the question becomes, how do we do this?
It’s simple. Consumer power. As everyday consumers we have more power than the major corporations let on. If consumers demand change, then we take control of the market.
Cleared trees in a forest located in the concession of Karya Makmur Abadi, which is being developed for a palm oil plantation in Indonesia.
(Photo by Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images)