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Are We Eating the Rainforest?

Andrew Mitchell, in his latest op-ed for the BBC’s Green Room, “Big Business Leaves Big Forest Footprints,” says yes. Everytime we indulge in a fast-food burger or pig out at home on bacon and eggs and bread made with “vegetable oil” or “soy lecithin” or any of the millions of processed foods made with these ubiquitous cheap ingredients, we’re eating the forests that were felled to plow monoculture fields or graze livestock. There are three problems with continuing down this road, Mitchell says: “Firstly, evolution is being changed forever. Most of us, sadly, can live with that. Secondly, burning tropical forests drives global warming faster than the world’s entire transport sector; there will be no solution to climate change without stopping deforestation. Finally, losing forests may undermine food, energy and climate security.” Well, I can’t live with it. I found Mitchell’s piece sobering—indeed, deeply distressing—but it sent me into my kitchen cupboards and refrigerator shelves looking for evidence of how I’m eating rainforests. I wasn’t happy with what I found. Time to make some changes.
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