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Amazon Destruction Financed by BlackRock, World’s Biggest Investment Firm | Take Action Tuesday @EarthFoodLife

August 27, 2019
Rainforest rights: Activists gathered outside the Brazilian Consulate in San Francisco on June 21, 2019, urging Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to protect the Amazon and respect Indigenous rights. The private sector must also play a role. “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” wrote Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, in his annual letter to CEOs last year, calling for “sustainable, long-term growth.” He added, “Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” These sentiments, however, are at odds with his firm’s practice. As the nonprofit AmazonWatch points out, “BlackRock’s portfolio includes many companies operating in the Amazon; companies whose operations both contribute to rainforest deforestation and run roughshod over the territorial rights, health and ways of life of the hundreds of indigenous peoples with unique languages and cultures who live in and rely on the rainforest for their livelihoods and wellbeing.” (Photo credit: Peg Hunter/Flickr)

Action Network: BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, has more money invested in the fossil fuel and agribusiness industries–the biggest drivers of climate change–than any other company in the world. That means that BlackRock’s portfolio constitutes a huge liability for putting the planet on a path towards runaway climate change. In fact, BlackRock contributes more to climate change than almost any other company on Earth. The Amazon rainforest and its Indigenous inhabitants are under acute threat from BlackRock, which is taking advantage of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s removal of environmental barriers to economic activities in the Amazon. And now they will have even more access to deforestation and destruction. Bolsonaro has advocated for the opening of new areas of the Amazon rainforest to agriculture and industry. As a result, BlackRock announced plans to expand its operations in Brazil after Bolsonaro was elected. Moves like this signal strong support for Bolsonaro, whose rhetoric is inspiring violence against Indigenous communities in the Amazon and beyond. As one of the largest investors in Brazil’s agribusiness industry, BlackRock could use its financial clout to curb, not encourage, further forest destruction. It should divest from companies that continue these destructive practices.
>>>Urge BlackRock to stop financing Amazon destruction.

Care2: Trump’s main campaign goal of erecting a border wall along the U.S. Mexico border is not only unnecessary and a bad use of funds—it would also actively harm the environment. The walls that already exist along that border show us just how damaging a more expansive one would be. Borders are not real; they are imaginary lines created by humans to maintain power and hierarchies. Wildlife don’t care about which country says they own a certain piece of land: They live and travel where they need to. And because borders are so arbitrarily drawn with zero consideration for the environment, they wreak havoc on natural habitats. There are already some wall-like structures across the U.S.-Mexico border, and they are causing huge problems. For one thing, birds are literally getting stuck in the structures during migration, while other land-based creatures are hemmed in and prevented from moving around. And animals are not the only ones suffering. Water drainage, protected areas and more are not even being considered before these barriers are placed.
>>>Tell the Trump administration that you oppose the border wall.

WWF: From beaches in Indonesia to the Arctic, plastic is choking our planet. Most plastic becomes trash after a single use. It has contaminated the soil, rivers and oceans. Eight million metric tons of plastic ends up in the oceans every year. They break down into tiny bits of microplastic, small enough to enter our food chain, along with other types of microplastics like those that are released when we wash our clothes. On average, we could be ingesting around five grams of plastic every week—the equivalent weight of a credit card. In fact, we could be consuming, on average, over 100,000 pieces of microplastic every year. That’s approximately 21 grams a month, just over 250 grams a year. Many of us are doing our bit to reduce plastic pollution, but it’s time that governments and businesses took responsibility too. 
>>>Urge world governments to introduce a global legally-binding agreement to stop plastics polluting our oceans.

Cause for concern…

Lungs on fire: A NASA satellite image take on August 21 shows smoke from the fires raging in in the Amazon basin that has created a shroud clearly visible across much of central South America. Environmental groups and scientists say the unusual number of wildfires blazing across the Brazilian rainforest were set by cattle ranchers and loggers seeking to clear the land, emboldened by the pro-business stance of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. “The vast majority of these fires are human-lit,” said Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch, pointing out that Amazon—called the “lungs of the planet” since it provides a fifth of the Earth’s oxygen—is fairly resistant to natural wildfires even during dry seasons due to its high humidity, unlike the arid bushland typical in Australia and California. Humanity’s taste for meat is a main driver for the destruction of the Amazon. According to the World Bank, cattle ranching is responsible for up to 91 percent of Amazon deforestation since 1970. Moreover, soybeans used for animal feed is one of the region’s primary crops.(Photo credit: NASA).

Round of applause…

Sisters-in-arms: Lakota Elder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, where she founded Sacred Stone Camp, one of the grassroots resistance camps fighting against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This past June, Allard joined fellow Sacred Stone Village residents who made the five-hour drive from Standing Rock to join the first annual Sovereign Sisters Gathering in Black Hills, South Dakota, which brought together women and their allies to oppose to the current industrialized, extractive model with the development of a new economic vision. This new model, writes Tracy L. Barnett in YES! Magazine, is one in which “Indigenous women reclaim and reassert their sovereignty over themselves, their food systems, and their economies.” (Dark Sevier/Flickr)

Parting thought…

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” —Chris Maser, “Forest Primeval: The Natural History of an Ancient Forest” (Oregon State University Press, 2001)

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