According to official data released by the Brazilian environmental ministry deforestation rates dropped by 18% from August 2013 to July 2014 when 4,848 km2 of the Amazon rainforest was destroyed, compared to the previous year in which deforestation increased 29% between August 2012 and July 2013 to 5,871 km2.
The recent decrease in deforestation is an indication that agreements like the Soy Moratorium and the Cattle Agreement continue to mitigate the continuous expansion of the powerful Brazilian agribusiness sector in the Amazon. Recently, the landmark Soy Moratorium was renewed for another 18 months. This voluntary agreement between global soy traders, the Brazilian government and civil society is credited with contributing to the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon. Corruption with the Brazilian government ensures that laws against deforestation are seldom enforced.
Zero Deforestation is necessary to protect the Amazon rainforest and to reduce the threats of climate change. Deforestation in the Amazon is a principal cause of greenhouse gases emissions and is already being linked to extreme climate events.
The return of a decrease in deforestation rates is proof that Brazil can continue to grow without increasing deforestation rates. Brazil is proving that it is possible to decrease deforestation and related CO2 emissions. Now the government needs to ensure deforestation reduction continues to Zero Deforestation and adopt an energy matrix based on renewable energy such as solar and wind.
Consumers can do their part to reduce the deforestation by adopting a healthy non-GMO plant-based diet. Most of the deforestation is done to grow soy to feed animals which are then killed and fed to humans, which is an extremely inefficient use of land. It can take 8-16 kilos of soy or corn to produce 1 kilo of meat.
The soy grown in the Amazon is almost all genetically modified and requires massive amounts of glyphosate herbicide, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The proteins in GE soy can be toxic and create a wide range of disease in animals and humans. The genetic inserts can also be unstable and the inserted genes can transfer to human gut bacteria, creating a wide range of adverse conditions in the human body.
Glyphosate causes DNA damage to microbes in the soil which results in mutations that not only radically alters soil biology but new pathogens that emerge from the soil and infect wildlife. When ingested by humans glyphosate causes DNA damage that leads to cancer, organ failure, birth defects and mutation of intestinal bacteria.
Glyphosate is linked to a wide range of human ailments and many scientists have demanded that it be banned.