If you’re a keen environmentalist, you’ve probably been following COP26 in the news recently. One key action that came on the very first day was that over 100 nations pledged to end deforestation by 2030. Which, depending on what end of the spectrum you are, is either too far away or too close and unrealistic. While we wait for world leaders to make a change, we’re going to do what we can. Ultimately, deforestation occurs due to demand. So how can we do our bit to help end deforestation by reducing our demand? Here’s how:
Reducing your use of palm oil and soy
You may already be familiar with palm oil effects on the environment, but in case you’re not, here’s why it’s causing deforestation. Forests are being bulldozed across the globe in extremely high numbers to make way for oil plantations. It’s because palm oil demand is so high, it can be found in anything from chocolate to face creams. Local communities are experiencing a lot of violence as people battle it out to financially benefit from palm oil.
Sadly, it only gets worse in places like Indonesia. While deforestation is horrifying, much of Indonesia’s forests grow in deep, swamp peat fields which help benefit the environment. But in order for the oil plantations to be successful, they need to be dry, which means drying out the peat areas. Giving the room for aggressive wildfires to occur and creating a double whammy of destructive palm oil effects.
When it comes to soy, the tale is even more devastating. Soy is pitched as an eco-friendly solution for vegans and vegetarians but in recent years it’s been getting a lot of bad press. In some cases, it is undeserved, especially when it comes to soy milk. In fact, soy production is largely an issue for farming and meat industries as 80-90% of produced soy is fed to animals.
The issue with soy is that it is an annual crop. One that produces one yield in a lifetime and is virtually unresponsive to fertilisers. Why does this create an issue? Because every time you want to grow more soya, you need a new piece of land. Creating an excessive and unsustainable need for deforestation.
Reduce your demand for foods grown in deforestation areas
This may come as a shock, but not every plant is good for the environment. Especially the ones mass-produced to chop and sell as food in quick turnaround times. Yes, soy is one of them. What may come as a surprise is that any food is bad for the environment if a forest has been removed to grow it. When we mention growth, we’re talking about live animals as meat as well as items like avocados. It may come as a surprise but 80% of Brazil’s deforestation comes from cattle ranching.
It’s, for this reason, we say that supporting locally grown food is the best way to reduce your demand for deforestation. That and searching for sustainably grown versions of unsustainable ingredients like coffee and cocoa. One way to ensure this is by looking for the Fairtrade symbol. As for shopping for locally grown products, you can ensure no forests were removed in order to grow products and you’ll reduce your packaging waste too. A more positive double whammy!
Supporting reforestation programmes
While reducing our demand for harmful food items and products, it’s important that we support regrowth where possible. Plants and trees are crucial to removing carbon emissions from our atmosphere – that’s why deforestation is having such an alarming impact.
There are plenty of projects out there with the aim to help plant as many trees as possible to replenish our once very green earth. You can find some here to support, or you can make your mark in the local area by setting up a campaign. Even planting a tree in your back garden can help!
Now you’re ready with all the ways you can help reduce the demand for deforestation it’s time to see how those 100 nations take action. Our efforts can help spark change, but we need to work together if we’re to succeed. Make sure you’re doing your part so when it comes to crunch time you can shout proudly from the rooftops that you made a positive impact.