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·         Environmentalists say Minnesota's Cargill partially to blame for Amazon burning

·         Protesters call on Cargill to take action to prevent Amazon rainforest deforestation



Environmentalists say Minnesota's Cargill partially to blame for Amazon burning


by Hannah Jones, City Pages (MN) 

September 6, 2019


The Amazon rainforest is burning.


Like the destruction of Notre Dame on a much larger and much more devastating scale, the world is looking on in horror as one of our richest and most fragile ecosystems goes up in smoke – along with the trees that clean our air, and the ancestral homes of countless indigenous people.


It can be difficult to understand why this is happening. But on Thursday evening, volunteers with the grassroots environmental nonprofit Mighty Earth gathered at the Minneapolis Institute of Art to draw attention to what they see as a key contributor to the blaze. Not the museum itself, but one of its chief donors.


“We are calling out Cargill for its role in driving the devastating fires destroying the Amazon,” organizer Michael Greenberg says. He and the volunteers want to remind both the museum and its benefactor that there “is no art on a dead planet.”


Experts say the fires are burning in a pattern we’ve come to expect when people clear forest for ranches and farms. The Amazon is not just “burning,” it is being burned – largely because Brazil is the world’s biggest exporter of beef and soy. We eat its cows, our animals eat its grains, and big banks and megacompanies all over the world profit from it.


Cargill, based in Minnesota, is about as mega as it gets. It’s the largest privately owned company in the United States, and one of the world’s largest food and ag companies. It’s also the biggest trader of Brazilian soy.


Mighty Earth has long taken issue with Cargill’s environmental and human rights practices. Earlier this year, organizers bestowed it with the dubious honor of being the “worst company in the world.”


Be that as it may, Cargill has long since pledged to “eliminate deforestation” in its business practices. More than a decade ago, it and a handful of other grain traders agreed to stop farming soybeans on cleared Amazonian lands.


But Mighty Earth and other advocacy organizations are having a hard time swallowing that. As the nonprofit pointed out, the 2006 Soy Moratorium doesn’t stop Cargill from buying from farmers who clear out large sections of forest for something other than soy. Nor does it stop it from profiting from the deforestation of other fragile habitats, like the Brazilian Cerrado or the Gran Chaco of Argentina.


Nor did it stop it and four other grain traders from buying over 3,000 tons of grain produced in Brazilian land that was supposed to be off-limits to farming just last year. The five companies ended up getting slapped with a $29 million fine by the Brazilian government.


“The deforestation crisis in Brazil and Bolivia wouldn’t be happening without companies like Cargill, Bunge, JBS, and their customers,” Mighty Earth’s recent study on the Amazonian crisis says.


Cargill sent a statement saying the company is "committed to protecting the Amazon," pointing to the Soy Moratorium as an example...


more, including links



Protesters call on Cargill to take action to prevent Amazon rainforest deforestation



Sep 6, 2019


MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A group of protesters was out Thursday to call on companies to stop practices they say are having negative effects on the Amazon rainforest.


In recent weeks, advocacy groups have called attention to increased deforestation in the rainforest. As of late August, Brazil's National Space Research Institute had recorded more than 76,000 wildfires across the country in just a year. The agency said that it equates to an 85 increase over last year's figures.


In Minneapolis, protesters put their focus on Minnesota-based Cargill who they say has contributed to the forest's deforestation. A group of 50 showed up to the Minneapolis Institute of Art -- an organization that Cargill and the Cargill family has supported.


Protesters went into the museum but after staff prevented them from getting into the gallery they laid on the floor for about five minutes, blocking an entrance.


"I hope that our message got through to their heart and their soul because that’s where all of this is going to have an impact," said protester Kyle Samejima.


The group says they want people to take action before it's too late. They say large-scale soy animal feed companies, like Cargill, have contributed to the forest's destruction.


"Once you burn those forests, all the biodiversity goes all of the critters that live in there have no place to live now," explains professor Jean Ross.


"It cannot not touch us emotionally that the Amazon, which is the lungs of our planet, is burning thanks to actions by multinational corporations," adds Samejima. "The bigger message is these giant multinational corporations need to be held accountable because the connection between climate change and industrial agriculture is clear."


In a statement, Cargill denied the protesters' claims....


more, including photos, video report [2:39 min.]