Is your steak or burger worth the rainforest?

An informative 5-minute read

I think it’s very easy in this day and age to not really give a sh*t about real issues that face humanity because we think someone else will sort it out. 

In light of all the cruelty, brutality and persecution faced by the minorities that has been addressed and brought to light recently, it has made it really important for us to be aware of our impact on others, as well as our planet. The latter is obviously what we are focussed on at Biostays, but that’s not to diminish the first. At the end of the day, much, if not all of today’s problems come from greed. Suppressing minorities and exploiting others is a trait of the powerful and how they assert control. 

Today’s newsletter is about how greed has literally resulted in the destruction of over 20% of the Amazon rainforest and other pristine rainforests of our planet, allowing hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere – heating up our planet. Not to mention the terrible destruction of biodiversity and loss of species which has a very real knock-on effect with the rest of biodiversity and, eventually, humans too. So a nice non-depressing newsletter hey! 

In the last 50 years, the global Cattle population has increased by 400 million. There is now estimated to be over 1.5 billion cows on our planet. We consume 40 billion animals a year for meat but with the population of humans on course to increase another 2 billion by 2050 – we are going to need a heck of a lot more meat to feed the world population. Think about that for a second. A vast proportion of this population increase will be in developing countries who will need to be fed and will have more money to spend on meats. And in order to sustain that growing appetite, the meat industry will be totally unsustainable. Sorry, I mean more unsustainable than it already is. Yay humans!

Together with other livestock, the meat industry now produces more greenhouse gases than all transport (freight and cars, planes and ships) combined. Methane is more than 30 times more potent than CO2. Methane is released from livestock manure and from the animals themselves in the form of burps and farts. You thought your farts were bad – cows farts are literally melting the ice caps and causing climate change (don’t hate on cows, they can’t help it). 

Over the course of a year, the burps of a single cow heats the planet as much as burning around 600 litres of petrol. As the vast quantity of methane is lingering in our atmosphere, the air literally heats up, which then melts our icecaps and the millions of acres of arctic tundra. That releases yet more methane which then exacerbates the situation at a geometric rate. And this is what is causing the crazy weather in the past years. Dear friends, we are pretty screwed.

We love a cheeky graph here at Biostays. But these are quite depressing. As you can see there is an enormous correlation between meat industry production and rainforest destruction. Sources: https://mapbiomas.org/en http://www.inpe.br https://globalforestatlas.yale.edu/amazon/land-use/cattle-ranching
Thanks Serena for compiling these juicy graphs.

Since Jair Bolsonaro (pictured below), the absolute **** of a Brazilian president got into power, he has allowed and encouraged illegal land grabbing by farmers and ranchers for their cattle to graze, as well as for soybean plantations to feed cattle. Brazil’s biggest export is beef. And Bolsonaro is allowing this horrendous destruction of the rainforest in order to bolster his economy. He sounds like a corrupt guy, right? So getting backhanders and bribes is out of the question. I mean a president that is allowing his country’s rainforest to be illegally destroyed in order to boost business is surely not going to accept bribes and money huh?! (that’s sarcasm for any of our American followers 😉 ).

2019 onwards saw a HUGE increase in deforestation efforts in Brazil’s rainforests. 5 football fields of rainforest were lost every, single, minute. This is still happening now. 20% of Brazil’s rainforest are now gone forever. That’s an area 3 times the size of Great Britain… gone. And this is JUST in Brazil. I haven’t even mentioned what is happening in the rest of South America and other parts of the world.

According to a study published by the GWF (Global Forest Watch at the University of Maryland), the loss of rainforest in 2019 resulted in the equivalent carbon emissions of 400 million cars. Over 1.3 million hectares of tree-covered, rich biodiverse rainforest were lost in 2019 under Bolsonaro alone. 

Companies like JBS, which is a Brazilian company and the largest meat processing company in the world, are a big part of the problem. Others, like Walmart, also don’t help. Walmart conducted 1.68 billion dollars worth of business with JBS in 2018. Which was essentially illegal because the US banned any imports of meat from Brazil. Other companies around Europe and the rest of the world demand cheaper meats, which of course, usually come from Brazil.

When you see a fresh patch of the rainforest… hehe (evil president chuckle)

A simple solution to this enormous problem is to eat less red meat. And if you do fancy a steak or burger, make sure it is sourced locally and is free-range. If the entire human population of meat-eaters halved their meat consumption, we would save literally millions of acres of rainforest.

The meat industry is not the only cause of the massive destruction of the rainforests. Other causes are the BRI (belt and road initiative) of China, Palm oil plantations, Oil and petrochem concessions and construction industries. I will talk about these in future newsletters.

By the time you have read this newsletter, another 25 acres of rainforests will have been chopped and burnt down for agriculture, palm oil, oil concessions and agriculture. As mentioned before, there are two things you can do to help. Firstly, you can eat half as much meat as you do now, that will make a huge difference. Secondly, spread the word of Biostays. Get your friends and family to sign up to the newsletter, forward this newsletter to a mate, follow our Instagram and generally spread the word. The way this helps is it gets us to gain traction. Biostays is an eco-travel and adventure company. We aim to provide awesome adventures and eco places to stay, while also protecting the rainforest. The more people book their holidays and places to stay though Biostays, the more rainforest we will save. It’s that simple. 

You guys are awesome! This week we have protected an additional 45 acres of rainforest from the Instagram follows and newsletter signups. For every newsletter sign up and Instagram follow, we were making donations to our close partners The Rainforest Trust to protect one acre of rainforest. This brings the current total acres saved by us to 505 acres!

Stay safe out there! Fight for equality! Don’t eat too much red meat! Look forward to a nice summer and let’s beat Covid-19!

Ed and the Biostays team