Lately, there has been a furore in the media about the fires in the Amazon. The media states that the Amazon covers 2.1 million square miles and produces 20% of the global oxygen, it is referred to as the “lungs of the planet”, and it is being destroyed. The media points the blame at the South American countries, forgetting, that in the west most of our forests were destroyed centuries ago and we are relying on oxygen produced by forests in other countries. Fortunately, there are no boundaries on the globe to physically limit oxygen within the producing area. It would be a shock if other countries charged us for using their oxygen, since we destroyed most of our forests in pursuit of industrialisation in the West. Now these countries are doing exactly the same thing we did, in pursuit of their own expansion. In fact, we are accomplices in the destruction of their forests.
The Cost of Desire
The desire for meat and other ‘profitable’ products, especially from the West, is one of the main reasons why countries are willing to destroy their own forests. There is a huge market for products that voracious consumers in the West desire. Greenpeace suggests that we could replace some of the meat and dairy in our food with plant-based alternatives. A more sustainable approach to farming, means we can produce enough food for everyone, improve our health, and look after our planet as well. They also state that the UK imports huge quantities of soya. Globally, some 90% of soya is used to feed animals, including cows, pigs and chickens. 1
Can We Change our Behaviour?
The South American countries are doing what we have done before, so instead of asking them to stop burning their forests, isn’t it better to stop giving them a reason for doing it. We could change our behaviour and stop using those products, become vegetarians, or if that is too difficult, eat less meat. Some of our children in the West do not even know where meat comes from. In their ignorance they believe it appears in supermarkets in packets. They don’t realise that animals are killed for it. It is also cruel to animals to slaughter them in order to consume them. Most of the Western, or advanced countries have a duty to make a positive impact in this world by shunning cruelty to animals. In 2018, the G7 countries represent 58% of the global net wealth and worth over $300 trillion and yet they offered a paltry $20 million to combat fires in the amazon 2 . Their greed and ego stop them from being a positive force in the face of this opportunity.
We have pets but we don’t consider killing them for food. It is said that a dog is a man’s best friend. However, today people have gone overboard with their attention to their pets. Some dogs are fed very expensive food, while millions are starving in other countries. Some of these pets are even clothed. Pets have become like the owner’s child, especially in the way that they are cosseted. This is true in the West and to some extent in
westernised cities in the East . In the East, a dog is considered unclean and never let into the house. Their duty is to guard the home. They are definitely not allowed on the bed and neither is it considered normal, to let them sleep with you in bed.
Maybe, it is time to become aware that everything we desire has consequences and that there is a cost… like the Amazon fires.