The cattle industry in Brazil is slaughtering the Amazon

by Mike Gaworecki

June 1, 2009

For the past three years, my colleagues here at Greenpeace have been investigating the cattle industry in Brazil. Our new report, “Slaughtering the Amazon,” is the product of that investigation.

The cattle industry is Brazil’s chief source of CO2 emissions and is also responsible for 80% of deforestation in the Amazon, making it the largest single driver of deforestation anywhere in the world. Our investigation exposed the Brazilian government’s complicity in bankrolling the companies responsible for deforestation in the Amazon, as well as several top name shoe brands – such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok, and Timberland – whose demand for leather may be supporting cattle ranchers that are illegally slaughtering the Amazon. Write to these shoemakers now and tell them to protect the Amazon and the climate.

Greenpeace: Top name brands implicated in Amazon destruction

Forests are vital to stabilizing the world’s climate because they store such large amounts of carbon. There is about one-and-a-half times as much carbon stored in the Earth’s forests as there is in its atmosphere. It is estimated that the Amazon alone stores somewhere from 80 to 120 billion tons of carbon. If the Amazon were destroyed, it would release some 50 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the United States. All of which means that if we are to curb global CO2 emissions, we have to save the Amazon. And that means we have to deal with the cattle industry in Brazil. Read more here.

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