Brazils environmental minister has called for $1bn in foreign aid to be granted to Brazil from nations such as the US to decrease deforestation within the nation.
Minister Ricardo Salles stated that the $1bn will be used over a 1 year period to reduce deforestation by between 30 and 40% if the resources are used correctly.
The lead causes of deforestation within Brazil is the resource exploitation that is going on in the Amazon.
Every day, upwards of 80,000 acres of rainforest are lost which is placing a significant dent on not only the ecosystems of the world but also the progress we are making towards slowing down the effects of climate change.
Hence, slowing down the burning of the Amazon is an essential part of the environmental steps nations have to take to preserve resources for future generations, however, Brazil’s President believes otherwise.
President Jair Bolsonaro stated that he would much rather prefer to exploit the economic resources of the rainforest rather than protecting and preserving it.
The main current cause of Amazon deforestation is due to massive-scale cattle farming.
63% of Amazon deforestation is a result of pasture farming, and this figure is slowly approaching 70%.
This mass cattle farming began to occur between the late 1970s and mid-2000s where large areas of the Amazon were felled for cattle pasture and soy farms, drowned for dams, dug up for minerals and bulldozed for towns and colonization projects.
Additionally, the western palette is also to blame for the mass deforestation and cattle farming, many nations have beef as a very palatable and popular form of meat, because of this, the global demand for beef is immense.
Consequently, this incentivises and signals farmers to produce more beef, so, to expand their operations, they must increase their land.
Because of this process, the Amazon rainforest has experienced mass deforestation over the years as the global demand for beef has grown.
So what can be done?
Well first of all the foreign aid which has been requested may be somewhat of a solution to the problem, however, due to the corrupt nature and economic policies of the Brazilian government, it is unlikely that the money would be effectively used to curb deforestation.
Consumers could instead change their habits to begin consuming other types of meat that are more ethically produced, or, remove meat from their diets altogether.
New technologies are being developed that make this meatless transition much easier. For example, lab-grown meat is now a thing and the company, Impossible Foods, specialises in meat made of plant-based substances.
However, it is not certain that consumers would be willing to change their diets to such an extent, so, there could be a financial incentive.
Governments could choose to place aggressive tariffs on Brazilian beef, a decision that would cause a price rise in Brazilian beef for western consumers which may make them choose their native alternatives.
But, the decision would hurt Brazilian farmers as they would see a massive reduction in demand for their beef, so, although the policy may be an effective measure to curb deforestation, it would be somewhat unfair as western countries also had similar unregulated exploitation of natural resources in the past so why should developing nations be punished?
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