As the rainforest continues to burn much like the Australian outback we should all be alarmed. The Amazon unlike the outback though is being burned purposely. Around 80% of the Brazilian area of the Amazon has deforestation caused by cattle farming.
Farmers start large fires burning the rainforest down to make more grazing areas for their “livestock”. They also use “Slash and Burn” techniques to clear the land which further exasperates the issue.
The “lungs of the earth” are being wiped out along with so many unique ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and species of animals we will never see again.
Brazil is the world’s number one exporter of “beef” so it’s really ironic that they have one of the highest rates of vegetarians in the world. Leticia Baird is working to change the way her country eats to make their diets more environmentally friendly even in the more rural areas of Brazil.
A prosecutor in the Bahia state of Brazil, Baird has persuaded four different municipalities in rural areas of Brazil to go vegan / plant-based. She told the Washington Post:
“To preserve the environment for the present and for future generations, we need to take additional measures. Including changing our own habits.”
She faced a torrent of backlash especially from parents and members of the Council of School Food who protested her plan. They dragged out the usual “tradition tho” and “culture tho” excuses and even claimed the children were going home hungry as they were just throwing the food away. One student told the Washington Post:
“It’s good. It’s healthy, and I eat everything. It’s better for nature, too.”
Their parents are hesitant to accept changes but the students have a clear understanding of both the reasoning and purpose of the change. The new generation is changing their traditions and culture to make a more sustainable system.
Young activists are leading the revolution to force our governments to take action on climate change. They are the ones inheriting this polluted planet on the brink of collapse and they know it.
The backlash to the program has caused it to not have taken hold everywhere but it is happening slowly. In Bahia, the schools are providing the plant-based diet 2-3 times a week so far and plan to increase it to full time are moving slowly forward.