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Climate change and the Amazon: trade, meat and tourism

  • by JW

Things are heating up:

Fire Forest Children – Free photo on Pixabay


We can do something:

Climate change: technology, leadership and lifestyle


Tim Root of Friends of the Earth looks at what we can do when it comes to the Brazilian rainforest:


We need a new movement to save the rainforest and the planet

It’s time to think radically when it comes to climate campaigning.

Stop the MERCOSUR Trade Pact

It is vital, as Brazil’s former environment minister emphasised, that governments should know that they will lose economically if they fail to protect forests.  We must push the EU to delay ratification of the trade agreement with the four-nation MERCOSUR bloc, which includes Brazil, until it has shown a sustained and significant fall in deforestation, and is taking rigorous steps to protect the Amazon.

End import of meat from nations who do not comply on deforestation

With global demand for meat predicted to soar, we need an international campaign with wisely chosen actions, informed by the participation of NGOs and indigenous peoples in major forest nations. We need to tell large supermarkets and restaurant chains that they must immediately stop buying meat from specified suspect countries until there is sustained evidence that they have cut deforestation to our target level.

Evidence shows that this can be achieved. We need to insist on seeing the supermarkets’ and restaurants’ public cancellation of relevant contracts, and their written demands to suppliers stating that any contract would be considered invalid if it emerged that any meat from the suspect countries was supplied to them. Supermarkets and restaurant chains know that they will lose a great many customers if they are not taking vigorous action against deforestation…

Target Tourism

We can also go beyond just meat production. For example, tourism accounts for 8% of Brazilian national income. Thanks to Greta Thunberg and others, our movement now has the influence to persuade many people not to travel to countries with guilty governments. Many people considering holidaying in Brazil would be willing to go to a comparable destination instead. If a country like Brazil saw that it stood to lose just 1% of national income due to a tourist boycott, its legislators would see that it made economic sense to cut deforestation.

We should show all governments which are failing badly on the climate emergency that they could suffer a tourism boycott. This would be another powerful weapon against Australia’s irresponsible plans to increase coal mining, which also threatens the precious Great Barrier Reef. Tourism accounts for 11% of Australia’s national income.

We could get high-profile people to publicise a tourism boycott of a few carefully selected countries. Madonna and Lewis Hamilton are among those who have recently expressed concern about the Amazon. We should include Germany, which refuses to stop using coal until 2038, and hence is destroying the Hambach Forest. Tourism brings in 10.7% of Germany’s national income.

Concern about deforestation could slide into pessimism unless we take assertive action soon. Now is the time to launch a bold campaign!

We need a new movement to save the rainforest and the planet