THE LUNGS OF THE EARTH ARE BURNING – HOW CAN WE BREATHE FREELY WITH A CLEAR CONSCIENCE? CURRENTLY, WE CAN’T.

As you read this, the Brazilian Amazon rainforest continues to burn to the ground, three weeks after the devastatingly destructive fire ignited in the very rainforest that plays an incremental role in keeping us alive.

The Amazon rainforest provides us with 20% of the oxygen and fresh water needed to survive, yet 2019 has seen an 84% increase in rainforest fires just this year, with 72,000 fires reported since January 2019. The fire, which continues to ferociously engulf what remains of the beautiful home of indigenous people and endangered species, is finally receiving the media attention it so drastically requires, whilst the Brazilian government fail to protect the rainforest that supplies us, and them, with a clean supply of air and water each day.

 

President Jair Bolsonaro claims that environmental NGOs deliberately started the fire to embarrass his government, despite openly encouraging illegal deforestation to clear land for farmers in aid of economic advancement. Obviously, an advancement very much backed by the Brazilian government, as the head of Brazil’s space agency was fired last month when the President disputed the official deforestation data from satellites.  

But why must deforestation, and as a result our depleting oxygen supply, be favoured over a little less farming land? The answer – Palm Oil, described by The Guardian’s George Monbiot as “the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century.”

Palm oil is one of the most profitable crops, easy and inexpensive to grow. ‘Slash and burn’ agriculture is therefore considered to be the quickest way to clear land for plantations, appealing to corporations and small-scale farmers alike. But with the sheer ignorance these farmers are demonstrating of the impact this murderous behaviour is having not only on the environment, but the future of the human race and endangered species alike, what can we do to help?

 

For years, we have been ignoring this environmental crisis and have continued to consume the thousands of products available to us without fully comprehending the damage we’re inflicting. Up until now, we haven’t necessarily been completely to blame, as the promotion of the consequences associated with our excessive consumption of Palm Oil has been hidden in the shadows – like the 2018 Iceland Christmas advert, for example, that never made it to our television screens.

 

However, hopefully by now you realise that we really do live up to the statement you see on our homepage, as we refuse to hide from controversy and do everything we can to promote positive change. We’re proud to work with brands that recognise the importance of embracing change if we wish to protect the home of indigenous people, endangered species such as the beloved ‘Rang-tan’ and years of generations to come, and ensure that our supply of clean air and water also remains clean of guilt or greed.

 

We’ve recently been working with plastic free, vegan brand Lavandi, that use absolutely NO Palm Oil in their products; 1% of Lavandi’s turnover is pledged to the World Land Trust to buy acres of rainforest to stop any development of it, with one acre protected so far and a further six acres soon to be the same.

 

It’s small steps like these that truly start to make a difference, and we plan to keep taking them.

 

*The National Institute for Research, 2019