Soy is everywhere, most of us associate soy with tofu and soy milk. Nevertheless, only a portion of soy is consumed by humans. 75% of the world’s soy crop ends up in feed for poultry, pork, farmed fish and others farm animals.
Soy is found in almost all commercially produced meat or chicken and other products as chocolate bars, salad dressing, and cheese. It is hard to find a product that doesn’t contain soy these days.
What we can’t image is that the expansion of soy contributes to deforestation. 113 million hectares were required globally to grow soy produced in 2013/2014. This is the size of UK, France and Germany combined!!!
Soy production requires vast lands, contributing to the loss of valuable ecosystems in Latin America. This includes the “Amazon rainforest described as the “Lungs of our Planet“. It absorbs about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year and produces about 20% of earth’s oxygen. The Amazon has lost at least 17% of its forest cover, and soy production in the Brazilian Amazon tripled from 1990 to 2006, according to WWF.
Between 1990 and 2015, the world lost 129 million hectares of forests. Deforestation is advancing at an alarming pace. About 10 hectares of forest disappear every minute as result of human activities.
Soy is one of the world’s most widely traded international commodities. Brazil produces around 30 percent of the global crop, and exported 73 million tons last year. China takes more than half of Brazil’s exports. This is affecting other regions in Brazil as the Cerrado, a matrix of forests and grasslands that occupies a wide belt south and east of the Amazon rainforest.
What can we do ?
Actually a lot, and that’s great! Because this is about what we eat. 75% of the soy produced in the world goes to feed animals. Most of the rest goes directly into food (such as margarines and cooking oils and others)
We as consumers have a big role to play.
Limiting consumption of animal based food, particularly meat is one thing we can do. Go free of meat for one or two days a week, this will make a huge difference to our planet and its future. As bonus, reducing our consumption of meat, which translate more fruit, vegetables and cereals is a healthy choice.
Health authorities in many countries around the world promote increased proportions of fruit and vegetables in the regular diets as well as reducing meat consumption.
This is not about being vegan, it is more about being reasonable. We owe it to future generations!
“Imagine a man without lungs. Imagine earth without Amazon rainforest” Vinita Kinra