By now, you’ve probably heard about the wildfires raging through the Amazon rainforest. More than 40,000 individual fires have spread through the region this year. The high demand for beef cattle, and cleared land to grow crops to feed livestock has fueled the widespread burning of once untouched forest land. Increases in demand for beef from Asia and other countries have also spurred Brazilian farmers to look for ways to clear more land.
While the world grapples with the shocking images of pristine woodlands burning in the Amazon, this type of land clearing for farming is happening in other parts of the world as well. But there are ways anyone can help reduce the demand for cattle and other products than add to the clear-cutting and burning of the planet’s forests.
1. Eat Less Meat
One of the major causes of deforestation in the Amazon is slash-and-burn agriculture, which depending on the source, has increased from 90% to 280% in 2019. In Brazil, cattle farming contributes to the largest loss of rain forest area, due to a global increase in demand and higher export profits on beef. Consuming less meat, even just one meat-free meal per week, cuts back on this demand and makes slash-and-burn agriculture less profitable.
2. Drink Sustainable Coffee
Sadly, coffee plantations are another cause of deforestation. Coffee thrives in the acidic, ashy soil left over from burning rainforests. But you don’t have to give up coffee altogether. Just check the label or do some research online. The Rainforest Alliance inspects and verifies thousands of coffee farms around the world to ensure that their production is being carried out with respect for their workers and our living planet.
3. Buy Some Land
Groups like the Rainforest Action Network and the Rainforest Trust, land conservancies that purchase and protect wild places, offer another way to help the rainforests. These groups work with communities and indigenous groups within the rainforest to protect millions of acres and improve the lives of the people who live there, so they don’t have to engage in destructive industries like milling and mining. While you won’t actually own a chunk of the rainforest, these groups ensure that threatened ecosystems around the world are sustainably managed. You can place acres of rainforest under their care for as little as $25.
4. Feed Your Dogs a Plant-Based Diet
Environmental experts have noted that meat for pet food in the U.S. is responsible for greenhouse emissions equivalent to those of 13.6 million cars. So, the eating habits of pets in the U.S. has an unexpectedly high environmental cost, says v-dog, a manufacturer of plant-based pet food, and one of Orange Orchard’s great clients:
According to a 2017 study by Gregory Okin, U.S. dogs and cats constitute about 25-30% of the environmental impacts from animal production. This is hugely significant, as it means that if U.S. dogs and cats were their own country, they’d rank fifth in global meat consumption.
Your pup can help prevent Amazon deforestation by switching to a plant-based diet. As omnivores, dogs can thrive on a complete and balanced meatless diet without missing out on any nutrients.
5. We Can Do It
Even though we live thousands of miles away from the Amazon, there’s still a lot we can do to help protect it. By living thoughtfully and sustainably, we can help preserve the rainforests one person at a time, right here at home.