The impact of animal agriculture is a major issue for the entire planet. The expansion of agriculture attributed to just about 90% of deforestation on a global scale. More than half of forest loss is due to the clearing of lush vegetation for crops to moving cattle and other livestock onto the land, accounting for about 40% of forest loss. Trees and other vegetation serve a huge purpose on the planet by absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen into the atmosphere, which is vital and needed for all creatures on the planet to survive. By clearing the forests we are not only removing the natural beauty of our earth but we are cutting off our oxygen supply, which will do so much harm to all life on the planet. Animals, amphibians, insects and humans alike all could end up on the endangered species list.
One small creature that has been effected by deforestation is the monarch butterfly, which is now inches away from being listed as an endangered species. Their migration to Mexico is nothing like it had been for hundreds of years prior. Not only was the 2017 hurricane season deadly to so many, but from 2001 to 2021, Mexico lost about 15% of tree cover from burning the forests which destroyed where the monarchs used to migrate to, as they used to hang by the thousands like glorious chandeliers throughout the forests. The accelerated destruction of forests in Mexico has also placed a great variety of species of flora and fauna dependent on this ecosystem in a state of emergency. For example, the milkweed. The milkweed is one of a few nectar plants that the monarch’s feed off of; it not only is their food, but it is the only plant in which they lay their eggs. Without the amazing monarch butterfly, this plant species would not be able to reproduce and the outcome would be its complete extinction.
And then there is the issue of palm oil. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the African tree, Elaeis Guineensis. It is from West and Central Africa and was brought to Indonesia and Malaysia over 100 years ago. The oil is extracted from the seeds within the fruit, and is used from everything to soaps, cosmetics to biofuels, the manufacturing of chocolate confections, breads, margarine and even pharmaceuticals. It’s pretty much in 50% of packaged products and the residue left from the seeds is used to feed cattle. So what’s the problem you ask? What is the harm? Sounds like it’s a good all-around oil, correct? No. Not one bit. 90% of the world’s oil palm trees are grown on a few islands in Malaysia and Indonesia-islands with the most biodiverse tropical forests found on earth. Many vast monocrop oil palm plantations have displaced tropical forests across Asia, Latin America, and West Africa. The production of palm oil is the major driving force behind the deforestation of these amazing forests destroying the habitat of many endangered species: the Orangutan, Sumatran Rhino and the Pygmy Elephant. Every year it is estimated that between 1,000-5,000 Orangutans are killed in Palm Oil concessions. We must put a stop globally of these palm oil farms which are killing the worlds most amazing biodiverse forestlands.
Five ways to stop deforestation:
- 1. We must use our voices. Speak up together for our forests.
- 2. Get educated. The more we know the easier it is to make a difference.
- 3. Spread the word! Share on every social media platform you can!
- 4. Eat sustainably. We must restore our planet by transforming our food system. In other words, GO VEGAN!!
- 5. We have to question legislation, the logging industry, forestry practices, and infrastructure.
We have to engage now more that ever and become part of the movement of the thousands of people on this beautiful place we call earth, to fight both locally and globally for our forests. Together we CAN truly make a difference!