The Environmental Impact of Cocaine

Whenever we talk about the production of cocaine fueling rainforest destruction, or the electricity consumption of indoor marijuana growing, many commenters decry that it is prohibition that causes these negative impacts, not the drug itself. There is, of course, some truth to that fact. We know, for example, that legalizing pot could drastically reduce its energy consumption. But, whatever side of the legalization debate you fall, in a world where these drugs remain illegal, shouldn't users take some responsibility for the impact of production, in the same way as consumers buying food from factory farms, or consuming oil, must take responsibility for their hand in supporting unscrupulous industries? Lucy Siegle over at The Guardian thinks so, as she calls on Western users to reduce the demand for illegal drugs for the sake of our environment:

The human tragedy is profound. As the fragile forest has to support a swollen population, indigenous peoples find their resources and communities consumed by guerilla armies vying for control of the cocaine trade. In Colombia thousands have been made internal refugees, displaced by coke. And as coca production spreads to Peru and Bolivia, so too does the violence.

We need more protected reserves; while they will not stamp out illegal coca production, they can lessen it. Most urgently we need to reduce demand. Your drugs counselling is not just about cleaning up your own act but also preventing ecocide.

Tags: Biodiversity | Colombia | Conservation | United States

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