Food map

Published on January 29th, 2009 | by Alex Felsinger

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80% of Amazon Deforestation Stems from Cattle Ranching

Greenpeace Brazil has released a report at the World Social Forum in Belém showing that up to 80 percent of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is due to an increase in raising cattle for human consumption.

 
Brazil has quickly become the largest exporter of beef in the world, but they are not satisfied with their current market share and plan to increase production. The plan flies in the face of their supposed commitment to tackle climate change. The country is currently the fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, 75% of which stem from deforestation.

–> Highly recommended: What is Causing Global Warming?

–> Also see: German Government Advisory: Eat Meat Only on Special Occasions

The map of Brazil above shows the concentration of cattle, mostly focused on the Mato Grosso region in the southwest. Greenpeace used a unique technique to prepare this and other maps in the report:

Our Amazon team used specialized techniques to analyze and compare satellite images of vegetation (or lack thereof) on the ground, and data showing the growth of infrastructure, such as roads and agribusiness. It is the first time that these two types of data have been put together in this way. Our maps in the report Amazon cattle footprint, clearly show how much former rainforest is now used for cattle pastures in Mato Grosso.

Unfortunately, similar as in the United States, the government fully backs the agriculture industry with many politicians firmly in the pockets of agribusiness. They’ve even recently proposed legislation to prevent environmental groups from setting up in the Amazon.

–> Highly recommended: What is Causing Global Warming?

–> You may also like: Global Warming Videos (Best, Funniest, & Most Inspiring)

However, with the economy moving how it is, expansion is becoming less and less of an option.

What can you do? Try going vegetarian, or at least making sure the beef you’re eating comes from cows raised near where you live.

More information about the environmental impact of meat:




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About the Author

is primarily concerned with animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental justice. As a freelance writer in San Francisco, he leads a deliberately simplistic and thrifty lifestyle, yet still can’t help gawking at the newest green gadgets and zero-emission concept cars.



  • idiot

    kk

  • CollegeKid

    Being a college student and currently in Environmental Geography and the problem isn’t that we don’t have food or need more of it, it’s that the rich are eating and wasting more than the rest of the world. Food isn’t distributed evenly throughout the world, even here in the US, and water should be just as much of a concern because big transnational corporations have their hands on a lot of land, even her in the US. With food and water the rule is simple, the rich eat and drink what they want while the people below them social and financially get what’s left. Radical changes are necessary and no one really knows when the poop will hit the fan environmentally. Pointing fingers though and thinking you have the answer to the problem is funny. I would then ask you to put forth your ideas into action and change our planet before we’re all living underground or dead, but you can’t. What you can do though is educate yourself in what you’re eating. Not to bash meat but we only get 10% of energy out of them. The lower you eat down the food chain the more energy and nutrients your body will get. So I was sad to learn all of this but you can’t think that it’s your responsiblity becuase it’s not, what is though is what you do every day and how you impact your surroundings. Some things we have to do, like fart. lol Yes farting actually hurts the earth with the carbon we admit. Kind of a nessasarry thing. But driving a crappy truck that blows out smoke, is not cool and is not going to make anything better. Stop tweeting and texting and get envolved so we don’t have to skim through a video only to read ignorance. We need cows, we eat cows….what about deer? lots of them here, and what about that pyramid about our diet? Nah that can’t be for me because I know I’m healthy. We only need to eat meat once a week at most and the rest is as low down the food chain as your stomach can handle. But what do I know…………

  • http://Web anonymous

    hey dudes i hav3 no friends im on thjis website

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/zshahan/ Zachary Shahan

      Say what? not sure if i follow :D

  • http://Web becka

    we cant keep distroying the rainforest

    • http://Web peter griffin

      hey becka i totals agree with your description of the rainforests n stuff gigity gigity gooooo
      hfoi8lhtyg

  • http://cessaftrutoooo.com/ Trevor Edell

    Hey there, what a pleasant tips in your internet site here

  • Pingback: Deforestation Rates in Brazilian Amazon Dropped 47% in August – EcoLocalizer

  • http://www.brook.com/veg Dan

    Please visit Eco-Eating at http://www.brook.com/veg for more info.

  • http://faris.eu Syed Faris Hussain

    I think its really a sacrifice to loosing millions acres of rain forest for Wenday's Extra Value Meal the things are not going in rain forest’s way.

    • http://Web quagmire

      god yeah i totals agree wiv ure descripiton is it bled

  • GONZALO

    THIS IS ALL TOO FUNNY TO ME… YOU GUYS DONT GET ANYTHING AND WE TALK ABOUT ANIMALS WOOWWW….FIRST OF ALL LET ME ILL START BY SAYING THIS IS PLANET EARTH,AND WE LIVE IN IT.WE ARE DESTROYING IT LIKE ANIMALS…IT MAKES ME SICK TO THINK THAT GOD GAVE US A BRAIN THAT ONLY RUNS ON DOLLARS.
    WE DONT REALIZE THAT WE ARE DESTROYING EVERYTHING WE ADMIRE FOR MONEY IS AMAZING HOW EGOTISTICAL WE ARE….WE ARE HUMANS THE MOST SMART SPECIES ON EARTH,WE SHOULD BE PRESERVING NOT DESTROING OUR ECOSYSTEM,AND TRUST ME WE AREN’T DESTROYING PLANET EARTH ,WE ARE KILLING OUR SELVES BECAUSE PLANET EARTH HAS EXPERIENCED WORST THINGS THEN THIS..
    WE JUST GOTTA COME TOGETHER AS A RACE AND MAKE A CHANGE AND THINK OF HOW WE COULD MODERATE OUR NEEDS THAT’S ALL.
    IF WE CAN MAKE A SPACESHIP WE SURELY COULD TRY AND SAVE US FROM DESTROYING ALL THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD….

  • Alex

    It is apparent that we need to conserve and preserve our rainforests and woodlands for many reasons. However, we as humans being the top of the food chain, should be stewards to our environment not necesarily because of nature’s asthetic beauty, but mainly so we can sustain our natural resources for later use. Using the land reckessly to create other products necesary products is a poor practice, however if used in an accountable manner, it is ok to use the land. The trees cut down could be used to turn a profit or even something like building materials in the local area. This is a somewhat utilitarian approach, but all I am saying is that if in moderation and in an accountable manner, we as humans should have the right to use natural resources for our legitimate needs where and when we have them.

  • TRUTHINESS

    WE made cows, moron. Is there a difference between breeding and evolution? The euro-christian attitude of ‘this planet is ours to consume because we’re going to heaven so who gives a f#@$?’ is the reason we have climate change. End-game masonic armageddon craving babylon slime, OPEN YOUR EYES. Read “Guns, Germs, and Steel” and “Cradle to Cradle” and get your life on track. yeah you NATHAN

  • Nathan

    God made cows for us to eat them. End of story.

  • quintin

    Deforestation is hurting our planet (sad)

  • nathan

    i love me

  • Mike Hawk

    We should all eat babies

  • Mike Hawk

    i think that we should all start eating babies instead.

  • 2 things

    1. Deforestation of the Amazon will have (is having) a severe impact on global climate.

    2. Forests are primarily cleared to produce/export wood. Gaining land for agriculture or cattle raising is a secondary driver. But this doesn’t mean, that this should be played down.

  • http://www.wildideabuffalo.com Jaci

    The lungs of the earth are being “eaten” by humans… Did you know…?
    Wild Idea Buffalo raises organic, native grass fed buffalo living on the prairie where they evolved, in their most natural possible state. Harvested humanely right on the prairie without the stress of transport, slaughterhouses, or feedlots. The meat is better for you and, when you buy Wild Idea, you are choosing to replenish the earth (because buffalo feed the circle of life here – not take from it) and voting against de-forestation. Think about it.

  • steven

    The problem is that we did cultivated all natural rich land, the land that is cultivated in Brazil is rain forest. After a few years the soil get washed away by monsoon, remember rain forest. And at that point the ground is nothing more than barren. So what can you do to keep growing your cattle, cut & burn more forest. If you can’t see this is a downturn than you’re not ever waking up to global warming.

  • Andy

    It takes much more land to produce 1000 calories of beef than it does 1000 calories of plant food. Much more! This is the difference.

  • deusexmachina

    Jason-
    Brazil is raising cattle to sell to america. they need massive amounts of land to graze and they strip the soil of all nutrients in a very short amount of time. Rainforest land can’t be used for farming it can only sustain really one crop before becoming useless. Also, if we didn’t need to feed cattle, land used for feed could be used for growing human food. I don’t remember the exact number but a pound of beef requires like, 8-15 pounds of grain (mixed with the beef of sick cows).

    Anyone interested in this who should read Mad Cowboy. It’s written by a reformed rancher and it explains the detrimental effects of cattle farming on the environment, health and etc.

    Also if you can’t understand the difference between climate change and GLOBAL WARMTH…go die. Or don’t procreate. It’s the best thing for the environment.

  • Jason

    Wouldn’t we have to clear land to grow and harvest fruit and vegetables. Sorry if repetitve. I only read the first few comments.

    • ali

      Jason, what do you think all the cattle would be eating?

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Fruits & vegetables require dozens of times less land than livestock production.

  • rfjason

    Rainforests are overrated. Aside from making themselves thrive, they don’t actually do much for the planet. Habor interesting species? Big deal. Sink carbon? The ocean is 100x better at it. Control temperature? NOT REALLY!

    Seriously, crying over the loss of rainforests is like crying over the loss of your childhood: grow the $%^! up.

  • Taryn

    I think that people should do what they can. Try some veggie burgers. Have some chili with just beans and no beef. You don’t have to cut out animal products altogether to do your part. It is often healthier (no cholesterol, etc) so it benefits you in more than one way! I think that people don’t want to admit that their consumption of animals and animal products (and other activities) can be so harmful (ex. people like Dave) because they are just that selfish. Just get over yourself already.

    I am vegan but do not support PETA. I am also open minded to the fact that not all people want to give up meat. I don’t agree with meat eating, but that’s fine – people disagree. What’s important is that people care enough to do what they can and admit that they aren’t perfect. I personally am vegan not because I am extreme, but because I can. I am a poor student, but because I live in an affluent country, I have the choice to eat vegan. If I have the benefit to make small choices that are better for the world, I will.

    Rainforests are primarily cut down for cattle and soy. The soy, however, is mostly used to feed cattle. Adopting a diet with less meat is less harmful to the environment, your health, and the animals themselves. Do the research for yourself. People really should stop just saying random things that they have no idea about. For goodness sakes, read a book.

  • http://antiimpotencepills.info herb

    is this real 80 %

  • interesting

    I dont think people have to stop eating meat to solve this problem because the forest is also cleared to grow vegetables and other plants. The best thing to do is to find a better way of farming.

  • Dave

    Lol thetruth, you don’t raise cattle in the woods. You clear the woods so that you can raise cattle.

    Besides, global warming? Minnesota’s winter is lasting like 8 months this year! Bring on the heat!

    Oh, and “killing the planet” is silly. The planet was fine before we got here, and it’ll be fine long after we’re gone. By “harming the environment”, what we really mean is harming our own ability to survive. Carbon output would definitely go down if humans were suddenly extinct…

    This comment sponsored by PETA (People for the Eating of Tasty Animals) :)

  • Matt

    I for one am more than willing to give up millions of acres of rainforest in exchange for a Wenday’s Extra Value Meal. It’s a sacrifice, but you do what you gotta do.

    • http://Web Name (required)

      but by distroying the rainforest your distroying our planet

  • thetruth

    why do vegans always FAIL MISERABLY in science?
    This piece of shit survey assumes the land was cleared for cattle because cattle might have been on it at one time.

    IGNORANT.

    The trees can be cut down for any number of reasons, and you don’t raise cattle in the woods.

    DUMBASS.

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  • http://GlobalPatriot.com Global Patriot

    While I admit to eating meat, the reality is that this planet cannot, under any circumstances, support the raising of animals for consumption by humans – the effects on the environment are simply too destructive.

    And that makes me sad, as I enjoy many animal products, but the evidence is conclusive that such practices are not sustainable in the long run. The destruction of precious rainforest is just one example.

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