To make room for plantations, hectares of rainforest are cut down every year. For example, oil palms, soy plants and cocoa beans grow on farms – they are the raw materials for our food. A new study shows how much forest area a person uses on average in industrialized countries.
Rainforests are very important to the environment: they store carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and are home to many animal species. But they are in danger. There is no longer enough farmland around the world – which is why companies cut down rainforests, plant their plants there, or allow animals to graze. Among other things, palm oil, soybeans, beef, leather, wood and paper are commodities for which forests are destroyed.
A study published in the specialized journalNature’s ecology and evolutionIt shows how much each individual contributed to this destruction. Among other things Online mirror And Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (the masterI mentioned it. According to the study, each person in the G7 countries is responsible for 3.9 trees cut down annually. The G7 countries include France, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Germany.
Consumption in industrialized countries is wreaking havoc on the global south
An expressive result from the study: In industrialized countries such as France, the United States of America and Germany, the forest area has increased in recent years. The consumption habits of its inhabitants do not primarily result in the loss of forests in their homeland, but in countries located in the Global South. Given deforestation, France, Germany and a few other countries leave 91 to 99 percent of their ecological footprint in other regions.
The study authors closely examined this relationship. They wanted to find out what consumption is destroying forests in what areas. To find out, they combined data on deforestation with data on international trade relations in 15,000 industrial sectors. Some of the results that Spiegel included online:
- There is a strong demand for cocoa in Germany. For cocoa, tropical forests are cut down in Ivory Coast and Ghana.
- Soybeans, palm oil, and wood mainly come from Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia, and the Ivory Coast. All G7 countries, as well as China, buy these commodities on a large scale – and thus are responsible for deforested areas.
- Japan imports a lot of cotton and sesame seeds. For this purpose, coastal forests in Tanzania are being destroyed.
- The high consumption of coffee in Germany, the USA and Italy is causing the forest areas of the Vietnamese highlands to disappear.
What we can do about rainforest deforestation
The study authors advocate a “no-deforestation” policy. This requires, among other things, more transparent supply chains and financial support for the tropics. This means that politicians are called upon to implement effective measures to protect rainforests. But everyone can also be sure that it causes the least possible amount of deforestation. you can do it:
- Don’t buy meat, eggs, or dairy products from industrial farms: Animals are often fed soy which can come from rainforest farms (for the environment and animals, the following applies to meat and animal products anyway: less is more.)
- Do not buy meat that is imported from South America.
- Avoid (traditional) palm oil.
- Enjoy coffee and chocolate in moderation. Also buy certified products: The organic farming associations Demeter and Naturland guarantee that the rainforests are not cleared for their coffee and cocoa products. Naturland is tougher and also bans planting in former woodland areas that have been cleared years ago and used for planting for a long time. (Bjoland has yet to respond to a request from Utopia.)
- Save paper and use recycled paper.
- Don’t buy furniture made from tropical wood.
- Avoid leather products or buy used leather and use it for a long time.
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