By Amanda Wilkes:
Nearly 6 times the size of Texas, the Amazon, also known as the “lungs of our planet,” is under constant pressure because of the human race’s demands for commodities. However, the Amazon may be breathing a little easier these days, thanks to the efforts put forth by several industry associations responsible for the Soy Moratorium.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 480,000 hectares of tropical forest were destroyed every year due to soy production. Thankfully, concerned associations have made big changes that have nearly eliminated deforestation in the name of soy. Two associations in the industry took a pledge called the Soy Moratorium not to trade or finance soy originating from land in the Amazon Biome that has been deforested post July 2006. Thanks to this initiative, renewed in 2015, soy is no longer a major contributor to the risk of the Amazon’s deforestation. This is wonderful news, considering soy is one of the big four forest risk commodities responsible for grand scale deforestation worldwide.
Rather than being regulated by the government, the soy industry is now being run by a private sector firm, which has proven significantly more successful. Within the private sector, there are more resources to regulate a forest that spans such a great space. It is exciting to know that, although soy production has skyrocketed in Brazil, only a little over 1% of it has been produced on newly deforested land, which is definite proof that the Soy Moratorium and its advocates have made a significant difference.
It is highly encouraging to see what we can do when we set our minds to it and demand change. Unfortunately, though, soy is not the only industry that has threatened the Amazon. This giant forest faces trials and tribulations every single day and will continue to do so until we again demand a change for the better. Because of illegal logging, mega-dams and cattle (beef production), the Amazon continues to be at risk for deforestation at an alarming rate. In order to save our tropical forests, let’s take action, as we did with soy, and eliminate high risk practices used to produce these commodities!