By now, most of us are aware that changing our
eating habits is one of the best ways to reduce our personal impact on
the environment. We know that it’s good to eat organic and local, and
cut out meat when we can.
Unsurprising, however, is the fact that beef is a huge contributor to deforestation because of how much land must be
converted for cattle feeding. The worst news is that the cattle
industry is growing rapidly in Brazil, which means the Amazon is losing
acres faster than ever. For more info on how the cattle industry is
driving this process, and how you can avoid contributing, check out our
post on Amazon
Another fairly obvious food contributor is rice,
because land has to be stripped and irrigated to form rice paddies. A
dangerous side effect are the millions of tons of methane, a greenhouse
gas, produced from
the rice paddies that cover much of rural Asia and Africa.
One of the most infamous drivers of deforestation
is particularly sinister because sometimes it can be impossible to tell
whether or not you are consuming it. Palm oil, the world’s
cheapest plant oil, is used in the majority of the world’s food and
hygiene products. According to the Rainforest Action
Network’s campaign against the massive deforestation that growing
palm oil causes, it is best to avoid consuming palm oil.
More information on the problem with palm oil:
Some of the more unexpected foods that are
contributing to deforestation are soy, shrimp and sugarcane. The demand for soy has spiked
in recent years because it is used as feed for chickens, cows, and pigs
in Europe. Vegetarians around the world also consume a lot of soy
Another one of the article’s saddening
revelations is that the increase in corn production, which has increased rates of deforestation both in the U.S.
and the Amazon, is related to the growing use of biofuels as a
replacement for fossil fuels. Does the deforestation that growing corn
causes outweigh the benefits of using alternative energy? This tension
adds another dimension to the ethics of energy production.