I've been breaking my head about this and all the articles on the topic, trying to figure out what would be a real solution. Personnaly, I don't believe sanctions are a way to solve this: the rainforest is burned down by locals (or for companies), looking for land for their crops and live stock, because it is economically way more viable for them than keeping the rainforest. They worry about their livelyhoods and income short term and some may not even have the 'luxury' to worry about the long term (f.e. climate change). Creating more land by burning forests is economically attractive because of the global (growing) demand for soy and meet.. if we just stop trade with Brazil, where else in the world will they start burning down forests to obtain more land meet the still existing global demand? And sanctions will not just hurt Bolsonaro, they will also take away income from the people and might make their attitude towards our dealings with climate change more sceptical. Shouldn't we rather think of an economicly attractive alternative to solve the issue and help the economy so more people will have the ability to be concerned about climate rather than their short term income?
Looking at it this way and thinking about the donut-economy principles, where it is noted that it is strange that we don't allocate reasonable economic value to many natural resources such as clean air and water, I'm wondering about the following. Looking at the news articles, it seems as though we view preservation of the rainforest as an obligation to the world, because we all need it for our future survival. But if we all need it, isn't preservation something of economic value and more of a service to the world? What if farmers would be paid more for keeping lots of rainforest preserved because of our growing demand for intact rainforests? Don't we need clean air at least as much as we need food and thus shouldn't it have more economic value? I have no idea how this could be realized, but I do believe a shift in our view towards this problem could help somehow (long term I'm affraid).
These are just some thoughts, curious to hear how you see this and sorry for the long post ;-)
@Jodi I think it is a really interesting idea - I agree with you, that sanctions are unlikely to make an impact because there are deeper and more mundane reasons and causes to this. I feel that the challenge with climate change issues, especially in the countries where not everyone can afford to think about it are often because there is no monetary value assigned to it, no tangible impact or currency to it that everyone can understand - and therefore it doesn’t quite feature on the practical agendas. Until the governments make it hard to make the wrong choice, we won’t move very far and especially with common goods like water, air, forest etc. If you look at New Zealand, they are now not only measuring but budgeting around metrics on sustainability and welfare - which means structurally it is on the agenda of those who have the power to make decisions. After the Second World War, the nations came together and pooled funds to support mutual growth and development - understanding that it wasn’t something that an individual country could address. Perhaps this is what is required? Government to start measuring important, not just financial metrics and be accountable for it but also nations to come together and create an economic system around common goods preservation, where taking care of it is not just a cost for the greater good in the long term - which is what it is often perceived to be now, but a very tangible outcome
Jodi, thank you for being a real voice of common sense. Part of the issue in Brazil is the backlash against palm oil in Malaysia and Indonesia drove a high degree of substitution from palm to soy, which takes 7x as much land to produce the same amount of oil. Your points about farmers seeking to make a living are also incredibly accurate and much more empathic than "let's sign a petition", "let's get the placards and have a protest".
If there is one thing that we can do, it is to maintain a broad-based holistic view to Sustainability and ensure that we really do focus on long-term vision. In 20 years time we have 2 billion extra mouths to feed - unless we plan appropriately for climate smart agriculture, optimised land productivity (without soil degradation) then we will all be in deep trouble. We actually need economically attractive agricultural practices that are also sensible for the soil, water consumption and the environment - it is possible but it will not be achieved by ranting against Big Food, Big Ag and Big Government (even though Bolsonaro is clearly an idiot of the highest order, perhaps only second to one with bouffant orange hair!)
© One Thing Is, powered by microcosm.
Report a problem
"One Thing You Can Do is" - the intersection of sustainability conversation