Brazilian Beef & Cornellians In Kerala

Click the image below to go to the story.  Brazil, host to the 1992 summit that put the concept of sustainable development into global consciousness, host to its follow up this year, and an erstwhile hotbed of environmentalism, is in recent years also the home of cattle-ranchers and soy farmers who slash and burn the Amazon rainforest in vast swathes to feed a growing global population.  What shall we do?

We have already noted our support of beefs with major corporations over irresponsible forestry practices; and we have a beef with US tax code that warps market forces, reduces the incentive for ecologically sound grazing practices and leads to poorer human health outcomes… but here our beef should be with beef itself, since Brazilian political leaders seem ill-equipped to contain the destruction of Amazon rainforest by enforcing that country’s already strong environmental law. May we suggest a simple change in diet?

Raxa Collective sees travelers increasingly mentioning their love of vegetarian options on the menu (e.g. here and here) so we are doubling our bet on vegetarian cuisine.  A group of seven amazing Cornellians will be working on this with us, among other green initiatives, for the next few months so the next post(s) will introduce them. Meanwhile, send your favorite veg recipes…

Cattle at an illegal settlement in northern Brazil: such ranches are the leading source of rainforest destruction in the Amazon. Photograph: Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images

Greenpeace’s latest investigations follow a groundbreaking study in 2009 that for the first time established a clear chain of responsibility stretching from Amazonian ranches on land cleared illegally to western companies including luxury brands, supermarkets and a variety of “household name” firms using everything from leather, beef and other cattle byproducts to paper packaging.

After that report, a wide range of multinational companies pledged to re-examine their supply chains to ensure no material from illegally cleared forests in the Amazon reached their customers. As part of that effort, the Brazilian companies most heavily involved in the Amazon trade also vowed to clean up their supply chains, going further than the minimum required by Brazilian law.

But this latest study alleges that in the past three years JBS has failed to live up to its pledges.

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