According to news reports coming out of Brazil, the Amazon rainforest has been granted a stay of execution at the hands of soy bean growers. Responding to public protests and activist pressure, Cargill, Inc. and other major soy traders have declared that for the next two years they will stop buying soy from growers occupying newly deforested lands.
The decision should go a long way toward halting the clearing of rainforest for massive soy plantations. At least in the short term. If growers and potential growers know they won’t be able to sell their crops, they’ll have zero incentive to undertake the hard work of clearing tropical forest for new plantings.
As Jeffrey and Gregor discovered when they visited the region in June, soy farming has become perhaps the most destructive force in the Amazon basin. (Greenpeace has an excellent overview of the issue here. Be patient… it takes a minute or so to load.) The word that big international soy buyers will now refuse to tacitly fund this destruction is very welcome. It’s a temporary solution, of course, but it will buy some much needed time to (hopefully) put some meaningful permanent protections in place.