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.
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.