Where does your food come from? It’s a simple question, but according to the folks at the Rainforest Partnership, it’s an important and impactful one.
That’s because about 80 percent of global deforestation is caused by agricultural production (especially from products like beef, palm oil, and soybeans).
The result is that we’re losing a lot of forests (and all the biodiversity and carbon capturing powers that come with them). In May alone, the Brazilian Amazon lost 739sq km of land. (To put that in perspective, that’s bigger than the entire city of Austin.)
So what can we do about this problem here in Austin, miles and miles away from the world’s rainforests?
Saturday, June 22nd is World Rainforest Day and as Niyanta Spelman, CEO of the Rainforest Partnership, explained to AEN in an interview earlier this week, one of the best ways to celebrate is simply by making a habit of asking restaurants and grocery stores where their food comes from. Even if they don’t know the answer, simply asking the question can be valuable, explained Niyanta.
“We can hold the corporations accountable,” Niyanta said. “And really, the way we’re holding them accountable is by saying, we care. And if we the consumers care, they’re going to care and they’re going to respond.”
Looking for more ways to have an impact on World Rainforest Day? Here’s how you can celebrate:
- Go to the Sustainable Food Center Farmers Market in Republic Square Park on Saturday, June 22nd from 9am to 1pm. Certain vendors will be donating a percentage of their sales to the Rainforest Partnership. Plus, Mayor Steve Adler will be there to officially proclaim June 22nd as World Rainforest Day.
- Donate to a nonprofit organization that works to protect the rainforests. One local option is the Austin-based Rainforest Partnership, which works to protect and regenerate rainforests by working with the people of the forests to develop sustainable livelihoods that empower and respect both people and nature.
- Start a practice of asking restaurants and grocery stores where the food you’re about to eat comes from. (Remember, locally produced food is generally better.)
- Do one of the seven actions listed on the World Rainforest Day website, which include eating less beef and learning more about the importance of the rainforests.
- Share your actions on social media using #WorldRainforestDay. One of the goals of World Rainforest Day is to raise awareness of the importance of rainforests and to encourage more people to take action. Every time you share the ways you’re having an impact, it inspires others to do the same!
- Take a breath. If you don’t have time for much else, the Rainforest Partnership says that the simplest thing you can do is just take a breath, and thank a rainforest 🙂