Ron Haviv / VII / Redux
This article by Robinson Meyer, a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of the newsletter The Weekly Planet, is worth reading if Brazil’s role in climate change has been on your mind:
A new bipartisan bill would treat it that way.
The world doesn’t agree on many things, but one of them is that global deforestation is a problem. If deforestation were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest source of climate-warming pollution, after the United States and China. (It would also be a terrible place to live—bulldozers everywhere and no shade to speak of.) Parts of the Amazon now emit more carbon pollution than they capture because of deforestation, a recent study found.
Knowing about a problem is, of course, different from knowing what to do about it. Continue reading
Progress is slow on the route to vegetarianism, so we monitor what we can about the meat we continue to consume. Thanks to Mighty Earth for this scorecard:
Beef Scorecard: Global Food Brands Failing to Address Largest Driver of Deforestation
WASHINGTON, DC – The world’s top supermarket and fast-food companies are largely ignoring the environmental and human rights abuses caused by their beef products, a new scorecard by Mighty Earth finds. The scorecard evaluates the beef sourcing practices of fifteen of the world’s largest grocery and fast-food companies that have pledged to end deforestation across their supply chains. Despite beef’s role as the top driver of global deforestation, only four companies- Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, and McDonald’s – have taken some action to stop sourcing beef from destructive suppliers. Continue reading
A sawmill in Peru, where more than half of the logging operations are illegal. Credit Tomas Munita for The New York Times
Strange as it may sound, we have arrived at a moment of hope for the world’s forests. It is, admittedly, hope of a jaded variety: After decades of hand-wringing about rampant destruction of forests almost everywhere, investigators have recently demonstrated in extraordinary detail that much of this logging is blatantly illegal.
Mar-a-Lago, Entrance to Master Suite from Cloister, 1967,
United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs
This recent op-ed has a perfect final thought, and the photo here to the left is our way of offering a preview to that point. Richard Conniff, the op-editorialist, has frequently been featured in our pages, linking this type of story. You might also click the green cover below to go to one example of how this progress has been years in the making), but read this editorial all the way through before being distracted by the side stories, though they are equally relevant and important. Conniff continues:
And surprisingly, people actually seem to be doing something about it. In November, the European Court of Justice put Poland under threat of a 100,000-euro-per-day fine for illegal logging in the continent’s oldest forest, and early this month Poland’s prime minister fired the environment minister who authorized the logging.
In Romania, two big do-it-yourself retail chains ended purchasing agreements with an Austrian logging giant implicated in illegal logging there. And in this country, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, normally dedicated to free trade at any cost, has barred a major exporter of Peruvian timber from the American market after repeated episodes of illegal shipments. Continue reading
Serro Ricardo Franco is in one of the world’s biggest and most diverse ecological reserves. But reality on the ground is different, putting many animals at risk, such as Yacare caiman and giant river otters. Photograph: Angelo Gandolfi/Getty Images/Nature Picture Library
Sometimes, sitting in a glass house, reading the news makes me want to throw a stone. The glass house where I live includes a farm in an extremely biodiverse area. It is surrounded by nearly half a million acres where logging happens. But there is farming, as you can read about in the news below, and there are plenty of better ways of farming; there are loggers like those in the news below, and there are forests where extraction happens according to standards such as those set and enforced by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Instead of throwing a stone, I get up every day and make sure the glass around here is as transparent as possible, because we can demonstrate a better way of supplying food, of harvesting wood, and doing so with the protection of wildlife in constant view. Meanwhile, I do read the news from elsewhere and continue to share it here (thanks to the Guardian’s Jonathan Watts in Vila Bela da Santíssima Trindade for this one):
By The New York Times
It is a heavy read, but now is not the time to shrink away from the tough news. Something can be done, and something must be done. Soon. Thanks to the New York Times for the reporting on this topic:
A decade after the “Save the Rainforest” movement captured the world’s imagination, Cargill and other food giants are pushing deeper into the wilderness. Continue reading
Reserva Los Cedros is a place of hidden beauty, starting with it’s location. Although only 60km from Quito, it takes a full day, about four modes of transportation, and a bit of very muddy hiking to get there. There reserve just feels distinctly…hidden. It can be reached only by a ~2 hour hike on a smally, unmarked trail, and from its center you can’t see past the nearest hillside. The rest of the surrounding landscape is hidden by forest and clouds. Even from Google Earth it’s invisible ( 0.308390°, -78.779466°).
Los Cedros has good reason to hide. Continue reading