A report recently issued by the Earth Policy Institute provides an in-depth look at global trends relating to soybean yields as well as revealing the link to destruction of tropical rainforests. First grown by farmers in China some 3,000 years ago, soy is now one of the world’s dominant crops, going from 17 million tons to 250 million tons in just 50 years, representing a 14-fold increased in yields. However, the report states that only about 30% of soybeans are consumed directly by humans with some 70% being processed for consumption by livestock and poultry.
And as new acreage is carved out of the Amazon and other countries like Honduras and Paraguay, vast amounts of carbon are released from both the areas cleared for soybeans and the livestock that consumes them. Currently, Brazil is the world’s second largest producer of soybeans, with countries like China importing 75% of the 55 million tons consumed primarily by livestock in that country. The Earth Policy Institute report concludes that saving the rainforests depends on reducing demand for soybeans and thus eating more plant-based foods.
Our heartfelt thanks Earth Policy Institute for calling our attention to the connection between meat consumption and the demise of our irreplaceable rainforests. May we all act now to save both the trees and the planet by adopting the sustainable vegan diet.