We’ve all rather grasped the idea that the Amazon is the lungs of the planet – it ain’t but we’ve been told it for so long – and that the Amazon is entirely irreplaceable – it ain’t, it’s mostly grown over the past few hundred years – and in general we should all Sting and worship at this altar of Gaia.
There are also those who would insist that international trade in stuff, especially food stuff, is a really bad idea and we must stop it. Because green, Gaia, etc, shut up peasants it’s now the four months of the year you get to eat turnips.
Mix and match the two together and you get the campaign against Brazilian soya:
Supermarkets and fast food outlets are selling chicken fed on imported soya linked to thousands of forest fires and at least 300 sq miles (800 sq km) of tree clearance in the Brazilian Cerrado, a joint cross-border investigation has revealed.
Tesco, Lidl, Asda, McDonald’s, Nando’s and other high street retailers all source chicken fed on soya supplied by trading behemoth Cargill, the US’s second largest private company. The combination of minimal protection for the Cerrado – a globally important carbon sink and wildlife habitat – with an opaque supply chain and confusing labelling systems, means that shoppers may be inadvertently contributing to its destruction.
The broadcaster and campaigner Chris Packham said the revelations showed that consumers needed to be given more information about their food. “Most people would be incredulous when they think they’re buying a piece of chicken in Tesco’s which has been fed on a crop responsible for one of the largest wholesale tropical forest destructions in recent times,” he said.
You see how this works? “Tropical forest destruction” means our Nando’s is burning the Amazon! Quick. Stop!
And the thing is this ain’t true. It’s not the Amazon they’re doing this to. Rainforest soils are truly terrible as places to go grow crops. So, people don’t. Well, OK, starving peasants burn down a few acres to grow runty corn for a year or three but capitalist farming doesn’t. There’s no point to it.
It’s the next area over:
which buys from farmers in the Cerrado, a woody tropical savanna that covers an area equal in size to Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined.
The Cerrado is not the Amazon. “Woody tropical savannah” means grassland with the occasional stand or clump of small trees. In terms of girt big trees it’s less forested than Gloucestershire.
Do look also at their claim. That an area about half the size of western Europe cannot, should not, be used to grow food. 2 million square kilometres is that Cerrado and they’re complaining that 800 square kilometres has been cleared (much more has, but their actual complaint here is about the 800). 0.04% that is. And 25% of the place is protected anyway.
No, really, think about this. Someone’s farming the area between, say, Farrington Gurney and Market Lavington and this really must stop because we’ve only the rest of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain to go.
They are, in effect, lying. They want to stop the international trade in food because localism. They know that the Amazon thing is fixed in our minds. So, they conflate the two.
In entirely unrelated news Chris Packham can go boil his head.