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Amazon forestation - "abstinence vs. innovation"

** The future of our civilization lies in the ingenuity of scientific research, not in the government-led reduction in consumption. **

Date:   2/8/2020 5:35:09 PM   ( 9 mon ) ... viewed 319 times

The Arrogance

It takes a minute to dawn on people with what temerity we judge Brazilian forestation from a North American or European perspective. Large forest areas comparable to the Amazon do not exist in Germany, France, Italy, or the United States, for that matter, because they were transformed into farmland and used to enrich local communities through effective land use.

In Brazil, 80 percent of the Amazon is protected from deforestation and remains untouched. In the meantime, we also need to note that deforestation has also declined by 70 percent in recent years, and only a fraction of the land can even be used for things such as soy farming.

Portraying the inhabitants of the Amazon region as greedy egotistical savages will only stoke memories of colonialism.

Hovering above Brazilian authority over the Amazon, spreading the need for "immediate action" by misinforming the public when the leaders of the countries in question have put deforestation much further than Brazil ever has, is all quite rich. The will to fight accidental fires (which are set to increase due to climate change) is there. However, the way the debate has been held over the past weeks will disenfranchise political leaders in South America as well as the population who votes for them.

Portraying the roughly 30 million inhabitants of the Amazon region as greedy egotistical savages who need Leonardo DiCaprio to educate them on global environmental challenges will only stoke memories of colonialism. That word is chosen with some care—modern-day environmentalism has grown into a set of rich individuals and countries telling low-income populations that they need to stay poor for the sake of international environmental safety.

The Amazon rainforest fire debate is another edition of "abstinence vs. innovation" (here's the aviation edition). Global agro-consumption and demand for things such as meat are said to be the cause of the problem, and within this narrative, only cutting consumption can produce positive results. That is not true. Through genetic modification and gene editing, we can identify the problems of today and solve them with the technology of today.

The future of our civilization lies in the ingenuity of scientific research, not in the government-led reduction in consumption.

In 2014, GMOs allowed farmers to use 51 million acres less land to produce the same amount of food, fiber, and fuel. Without GMOs, we would have needed an additional 22 million acres of corn, 19 million acres of soybeans, nine million acres of cotton, and 1.5 million acres of canola. We also know of wonderful scientific advances in the area of meat, where "Impossible Burgers" now deliver meatless and tasty burgers in major fast-food chains.

The future of our civilization lies in the ingenuity of scientific research, not in the government-led reduction in consumption. We need to stop the myths about our very real environmental challenges and address the actual problem with real solutions.
Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is a Young Voices Advocate and a FEE Eugene S. Thorpe Fellow. His work has been featured in several outlets, including Newsweek, Rare, RealClear, CityAM, Le Monde and Le Figaro. He also works as a Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center.

Learn more about him at his website.

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