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Friday, June 5, 2009
Cause & Effect

By Jessica Pineda
Join Jessica Pineda on her quest to learn about each parrot species in The Parrot Birder.

A wild parrot is endangered in his own home
Greenpeace International released a study titled “Slaughtering the Amazon,” which examines the impact of the cattle sector in Brazil on the Amazon rainforest. The report concludes that “the cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for 14 [percent] of the world’s annual deforestation.” So how does that affect wild parrots?

Greenpeace International released a study titled “Slaughtering the Amazon,” which examines the impact of the cattle sector in Brazil on the Amazon rainforest. The report concludes that “the cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for 14 [percent] of the world’s annual deforestation.” The report also notes that “According to the Brazilian government, cattle are responsible for about 80 [percent] of all deforestation in the Amazon region.”

This report troubles me for a number of reasons, mainly because it shows that the demand for beef and clothing is jeopardizing our very existence. The report summarizes it up nicely:

“Forests play a vital role in stabilizing the world’s climate by storing large amounts of carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change. The Amazon is estimated to store 80 [to] 120 billion tons of carbon. If destroyed, some fifty times the annual [greenhouse gas] emissions of the USA could be emitted.”

Whether you believe in global climate change or not, when we physically take away the earth’s ability to provide us life-giving oxygen (not to bore you with the process called the Calvin Cycle — aka why we need oxygen — but here is a good summary on Wikipedia) and add more of that which would kill us (carbon), we’re essentially killing ourselves slowly but surely. We’ve evolved to survive in our ecosystem, but we’re changing it so quickly now, we cannot adapt to live along with it.

But, most importantly of all, we’re killing all animals that live in the Amazon, a lot of which are what this site is all about: Parrots. The wild cousins of our pet birds—Amazons, macaws, conures, parrotlets — to name a few are still out there, and still need their rainforest habitat. They are already being pushed to extinction as it is, and we’re the cause of it. Our demand for cattle-based products is destroying the home of our beloved parrots.

We have to do what we can to save our world from ourselves: volunteer at a local zoo, support the groups that work with parrots and always be aware of the impact our actions have. Not to get too soap-boxy, you might also want to consider where your beef comes from, or where the cattle-based part of your clothing is from. Hey, you could be like the BIRD TALK editors! Laura Doering is vegetarian and I am vegan; both of us doing our tiny part to help the birds of the world.

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