Bananas: cheery and tasty fruit or destroyer of nations? Well, Breakfast of Biodiversity contends that the banana that you most likely ate this morning (or if you didn’t eat a banana the one that you passed up) does quite a bit of damage to South American countries. Banana farming leads to rainforest clear cutting and land re-purposing. Saving the rainforests has been a cause that I have seen around for as long as I can remember – little booths at the zoo and commercials were my primary sources of information on the topic. Nowadays, however, the amount of attention payed to the failing rainforests have diminished lately for some reason, probably the increased focus on domestic environmental issues (as if they were the only ones that mattered). We need to save the rainforests from ourselves (50% of animal species can’t be wrong!). What else does somebody need to hear to make them want to save the rainforest? It is the must diverse habitat on Earth and has the most environmental impact throughout the world of any one place (that is to say, cutting down the rainforest changes the environment in Denmark, regardless of what they do for their own country). Rainforests are a world good, and we should all be working towards their conservation lest we succumb to greed and ruin our ecosystems for good.
Long story short, corporations are evil. They look at the world as standing reserve, existing only to cater to their whims. While the rainforest is a resilient ecosystem, it cannot possibly keep up with our constant clear-cutting to make way for plantations and other farms. These big businesses not only do significant environmental damage to their host countries, but absolutely devastate the economies and political stability of the nation. Look at UFCO in Guatemala, for example. They controlled 75% of the land in the country, and it was a US based industry! Any time a politician arose threatening land reform to help the peasantry, the CIA would take care of them and ensure the continuation of these horrible practices (from both an environmental and human-rights perspective).
How can we stop this destruction you ask? Vandermeer and Perfecto believe that reducing globalization and changing economic systems can give the rainforest a fighting chance. If you remove the system that makes this sort of resource abuse unprofitable, the companies will abandon it. Would you be willing to forgo that banana in the morning if you knew it would lead to a healthier planet? I’ll put my money down that you would, so let’s take that first step and hold corporations accountable for the environmental damage that they do!