I Dare Eat That Banana?
TO AVOID TO SPARE THE RAINFORESTS
such as tropical plywood (sometimes called lauan or meranti in the
stores), mahogany, teak, rosewood, wenge, cocobolo, zebrawood, paduak
and ramin are all highly detrimental to the rainforests. Demand for
these species is driving devastating logging, both legal and illegal,
throughout the rainforests of the world. Logging is the number one
cause of rainforest destruction in S.E. Asia. Philippines is now 80%
deforested, Thailand, 80%, and two Malaysian states, 50%, all for
logging for plywood. The US is the second largest importer of tropical
hardwoods. The plywood is used for paneling, door skins, sub-flooring
and sub-roofing, furniture backing and picture frame backing. The
other woods are found mostly in furniture (all), futons (mahogany,
ramin) but also in musical instruments (ebony, mahogany), picture
frames (teak, rosewood, ramin), and even tool handles (ramin).
any wood product that you cannot identify as domestic. For plywood,
use domestic softwood plywood (pine and spruce) or domestic hardwood
plywood (maple and birch). Avoid tools with wooden handles unless
they are oak, ash or hickory. Buy used furniture or antiques. Always
ask if any tropical woods are independently certified, such as Smart
Wood (tm). These are okay to buy.
the most popular fruit in the world, is responsible for massive degradation
of the land, chemicalization, worker poisoning, and oppression. Workers
all over the tropics are now attempting to organize for better conditions,
but are being fired for it. New rainforests are being cleared daily
for more plantations. Currently, no fresh banana available in the
US is grown in a way that is not detrimental to the rainforests. Organic
is better, but even those are grown on plantations that used to be
rainforests. Good for Dole, bad for the rainforests.
bananas can be certified as Rainforest Safe (tm), the best bet is
to avoid them entirely. If you must have bananas, eat only organic.
Ask your grocer to order Rainforest Farms (tm) dried bananas. Eat
locally grown produce, such as peaches and apples.
is highly responsible for the continuing loss of rain-forests. Coffee
growers in Central and South America are being convinced to convert
their "shade-grown" coffee plantations into high-yield monocultures.
This necessitates much higher use of chemicals, since the full-sun
varieties (developed with the help of US scientists) is much less
hearty. Vast areas of formerly productive coffee farms are being turned
into chemicalized deserts. Birds using the farms drop from 93% of
those in primary forests, to 3%. Good for those with stock in Monsanto,
but bad for the rainforests.
coffee unless it is organic and shade-grown, and co-op grown. You
can find this at specialty shops (almost all coffee from Africa and
Asia is such), or look for labels such as Equal Exchange, Thanksgiving
Coffee, Frontier Coffee and the Organic Coffee Company.
of Central West Africa's rainforests have been converted to cocoa
plantations. The workers are being poisoned from the use of agricultural
chemicals and those shelling the nuts are contracting cancers of the
hands and skin. This is now expanding to Central and South America.
chocolate unless it is organically grown. Newman's Own Organics and
Cloud Nine use organic chocolate from a co-op in Costa Rica.
largest cause of deforestation in Central America. The US is the largest
imorter of Central American beef.. Because of its poor quality, it
is used in processed beef products.
all processed beef (hotdogs, hamburgers and dog and cat food).
and more, temperate rainforests are being converted to tree farms
for production of paper, be it newsprint, magazine paper or copy paper.
In the process, jobs are lost through greater mechanization and exports
of raw trees. The same is happening.in the tropics as large corporations
convert tropical forests to pulp plantations of non-native species.
This dooms the wildlife and native peoples. The top exporters of paper
to the US are Canada, Brazil and Indonesia, all coun-tries where rainforests
are being converted to paper planta-tions. All because our demand
for paper is insatiable. Accord-ing to the US Forest Service, our
demand for paper has doub-led since 1950, and will double again by
2040! Much of the last doubling was packaging; the current one is
avoid disposable paper products. Use real plates, napkins and bring
a mug with you for drinks. Share newspapers with neighbors. Clean
and recycle everything made of paper. Seek out paper with recycled
content. Avoid packaged foods and use a reusable shopping bag. At
the office, copy both sides, and use already used paper for draft
print-outs and memos.
requires massive inputs of energy to mine, process and form into products.
The entire Columbia River basin in the Northwest US was dammed to
provide cheap power to the US aluminum industry. This has totally
destroyed the North-west fishing industry, which provided many more
jobs and in-come. Now that power rates are climbing there, US companies,
such as Alcoa and Reynolds, are mining aluminum in Central and South
America. Venezuela is seeking to become the world's top aluminum producer.
In the process, rainforest riv-ers are dammed for hydro power, vast
areas of rainforests are flooded, human populations are displaced,
and entire species wiped out. 70% of our aluminum is made into beverage
aluminum if you can, but since aluminum recycles completely, if you
use it, make sure you recycle it. All of it. You can save the energy
equivalent to a beverage can of gasoline just by recycling that aluminum
can! Making aluminum from recycled aluminum requires only 5% of the
energy to make it from ore!
than anything else, the quest for gold has been responsible for wiping
out indigenous cultures the world over. And the process continues.
In the US, gold was the greatest factor in wiping out native Americans.
In the Amazon, gold miners constantly invade indigenous lands, murdering
indians and spreading deadly diseases. Entire ecosystems are contaminated
from the chemicals used to process gold. In Papua New Guinea, the
Ok Tedi gold mine -- the world's largest -- has silted the river with
contaminated tailings, killing it and making life along the river
impossible. The natives are suing the company. Recently in Guyana
a tailings dam broke, spilling cyanide into the river, killing it
for 5 miles downstream. The company was not kicked out -- on the contrary,
they received approval to expand the mine. 70% of gold production
goes to making jewelry.
gold entirely. There is no good reason to buy it. If you own it, con-sider
areas of rainforests in Ecuador, Bolivia, Indonesia and Nigeria have
been contaminated by oil drilling operations. The natives of Ecuador
are suing Texaco to clean up the mess it left from 22 years of oil
production in the middle of pristine rainforests in a National Park.
According to the government's own figures, Texaco spilled 1.5-times
the amount of the Exxon Valdez spill in 17 years, just from the main
pipeline! In Nigeria, activists attempting to get Shell to clean up
the mess it has made of the Ogoni homeland were recently hung by the
military dictatorship. 50% of the oil we import is used to fuel our
cars. 40% goes to make electricity.
less, walk, use a bicycle or mass transit. Car pool, ask your neighbors
when they are going out. Turn out the lights unless absolutely necessary.
Install energy efficient lighting (this saves you lots of money, too!).
Turn down the thermostat in the winter and turn off the air conditioner.
Recycling saves great amounts of energy as well, as does buying used
Brazil, the Carajas iron mine, the world's largest, uses charcoal
made from the surrounding forests to process the iron. This mine is
estimated to consume 16% of the Amazon forests by the time it is spent!
your car and don't buy another one. Recycle all metal objects. Most
towns now have bulk recycling or try the phone book under "recycling".
more help with or information about reducing consumption, contact Rainforest