Notes from Virginia: We Share Responsibilty for Activists’ Deaths and Rainforest Destruction

Not long ago, these fields were part of Brazil's rainforest. We all share responsibility for its destruction. Photo: © Xico Putini -

Dear Reader,

Today I read an article on the Huffington Post called Adelino Ramos Killed: Third Environmental Activist Murdered This Week In Brazil. In case you didn’t know, as I didn’t, there’s conflict in Brazil. Loggers, farmers, and ranchers are illegally laying claim to the rainforest. The most terrifying aspect is that environmental activists, 1150 recorded to date, are being killed by hit men hired by the companies that profit from the destruction of the rainforest.

It’s hard to think of a better reason to act on principles. I’m writing to get us started on thinking of how we can make a difference for those struggling to sustain the most vital piece of our planet’s environment, our life sources, and biological diversity. The enemy is obvious, and his power is too: money. What’s less obvious is how American consumers are responsible for the conflict.

As much as I hate the myth of free-market, supply and demand, and capitalism in general, there is one tool that we can use to reverse our purchasing trends: boycott. While most consumers pretend the dollar shields them from responsibility for the consequences of their purchases, the truth is that by buying new furniture at box retailers, uncertified imported lumber, even foreign fruits and vegetables, we are supporting the terrorist companies in Brazil.

There are a few solutions. Buy used. Buy local. Buy recycled. Reduce demand. Be proud of who your money supports. Of course we can make other contributions, but this is how I involve myself as an environmentalist, and how I hope to make a difference. I hope that sharing my ideas with you will also spread change and awareness about the political ramifications of our money on ecosystems—and human lives.

Thank you,
Elias Simpson

Blacksburg, Virginia

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living

P.S. You might also want to reconsider using paper towels next time you spill something. Paper products also increase the demand for cheap wood.


2 Responses to “Notes from Virginia: We Share Responsibilty for Activists’ Deaths and Rainforest Destruction”

  1. Dipak on June 1st, 2011 9:22 pm

    Consumers any where have great power to control/ stop all kinds of mal-practices.
    We have seen it happen so many times, be it the Mink, the Ivory or even child labour and various pollution related issues.
    We in India have seen few such problems solved because the consumers in some other country were made aware of the issues. This certainly is one aspect of the free market that needs to expand . We as consumers should have the inclination to question the claims a product makes and what it tries to hide.

  2. Elias Simpson, Contributing Writer : Blue Planet Green Living on July 2nd, 2011 3:16 pm

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