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Are your clothes destroying the Amazon rainforest?4 min read

December 3, 2021 3 min read


Are your clothes destroying the Amazon rainforest?4 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This beautiful lush space is referred to as the ‘lungs of the planet’. Do you know what it’s called?

The Amazon rainforest. Photo: CNN Traveller

The Amazon rainforest!

Yes, you got that right. The Amazon rainforest accounts for nearly half of the world’s remaining forests, and is extremely important for the survival of humans and animals alike.

Unfortunately, in recent years, the Amazon rainforest lost a lot of its area due to rampant deforestation for mining, agriculture and more, which is a major cause for concern.

Now, a new study has found that some of the clothes we wear could be playing a role in causing more deforestation! According to this study, some of the world’s top fashion brands may be adding to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

The report by Stand.earth Research Group has claimed that popular brands including Nike, Adidas, Zara, H&M, Coach, LVMH, Prada, New Balance, Fendi Teva, and UGG are indirectly linked to the deforestation of Amazon.

The study claims that the Brazilian cattle industry is the main driver of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. The industry is driven by demand for meat and leather. Brazilian leather is used by tanneries and manufacturers around the world to make countless branded products, including footwear and high-end fashion products.

The cattle industry is a major contributor to deforestation. Photo: Getty

The study, based on nearly 500,000 rows of data, stated that 6.7 million hectares (16.5 million acres) of forests were lost in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest biome over the last decade. It attributes JBS, the largest meat/leather company in Brazil, as one of the largest contributors to deforestation in the Amazon.

“All companies sourcing directly from JBS or indirectly from JBS via leather processors are therefore linked to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest,” the report said.

What is deforestation?

Deforestation is the human-driven conversion of forest land for other purposes, such as cattle rearing or agriculture or construction. Deforestation has gone hand in hand with human development for centuries.

As well as being a major source of carbon emissions, land use change is the primary driver of biodiversity loss.

Can we stop deforestation?

It will definitely not be easy, but there are reasons to be hopeful. Alongside the commitment from world leaders in Glasgow at Cop26 (which Owliver wrote about here), it is hoped big producers and consumers of commodities linked to deforestation will take action. China — one of the world’s largest consumers — is taking deforestation more seriously and is looking at “greening” its supply chain.

What happens if we don’t stop deforestation?

Cutting emissions from fossil fuels is the most urgent task to avoid more global heating. But if the world continues to loose forests, we risk causing a lot of harm.

Robert Nasi, head of the Center for International Forestry Research, says, “We would have climatic change that is cascading: the drying of the Amazon, the Congo Basin … there is a lot of risk of a domino effect. If we don’t protect the forests, people will migrate, there will be climate refugees.”

Sources: The Guardian, Eco Watch

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