Image credit: Friends of the Earth Paraguay
Inevitably, when we publish a post about the ethics of meat eating versus vegetarianism or veganism, somebody will chime in with comments about the environmental impact of soy farming. They are right—of course—the mass-cultivation of soy beans has a hugely detrimental impact worldwide. However, while the carbon footprint of tofu is not totally negligible, it is the cultivation of soy as an animal feed that is by far the largest environmental concern. A new video shows just how harmful industrial soy farming can be for the people exposed to it. Deforestation for Soy Slowing?
There has, it should be noted, been some success regarding soy's environmental impact. The Brazilian government has already enacted a ban on soy beans from deforested areas of the Amazon, McDonalds has made moves to stop deforestation for soy, and there is some evidence to suggest that land cleared for cattle pastures in the rainforest is more of a problem than soy plantations.
Pesticide Poisoning a Major Issue
Whether or not the problem of deforestation is being slowed, campaigners say that industrial agricultural techniques—exacerbated by the use of genetically modified crops—mean that pesticide and herbicide poisoning near soy plantations is still a major, unchecked concern. In fact Friends of the Earth Paraguay is launching a major push against pesticide spraying on soy farms after 27 residents of Colonia Yeruti in Eastern Paraguay were taken to hospital—with one person being dead on arrival—in January of this year.
Alternatives to Industrial Agriculture Exist
Residents report of constant areal and tractor spraying regardless of the wind, humidity and time of day. And, say Friends of the Earth, this is far from unusual. Large-scale farms are driving people from their land, a move which further exacerbates deforestation and industrialization. Just one more reason to listen when the UN tells us that small-scale agroecology can double developing nation food production in just ten years.
More on Soy, Rainforests and Sustainable Agriculture
Small-Scale Agriculture Could Double Developing Nation Food Output in Ten Years
Cattle Pastures a Bigger Problem than Soy for Amazon
Soy Bean Ban from Deforested Areas Enacted in Amazon