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Soy plantation in Paraguay.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Fifty percent of the deforestation in eastern Paraguay is caused by the conversion of forests to soy monocultures. In the Chaco region, home to uncontacted Ayoreo tribes, most of the deforestation is taking place to create pasture and establish cattle ranches. In 2013, 268,000 hectares of forest were destroyed in the Chaco. Deforestation rates in this region were the highest in the world in 2013, reaching up to 2,000 hectares/day.

Transcript of Earth Minute:

COVID-19 does not exist in a vacuum.  It is deeply connected to the destruction of the world’s wildest places. Protecting forests isn’t just about protecting biodiversity or Indigenous rights, it is also about heading off the next pandemic.

In The Ecology of Disease, Jim Robbins writes, ” If we fail to understand and take care of the natural world, it can cause a breakdown of natural systems, and come back to haunt us in ways we know little about. A critical example is a developing model of infectious disease that shows that most epidemics don’t just happen. They are a result of things people do to nature.”

“emerging diseases, he writes, have quadrupled in the last half-century, largely because of increasing human encroachment into habitat…”

But at the same time that research is exposing the links between ecological destruction and global pandemics, corporations are cynically looking to COVID-19 to distract people from their ongoing plunder of both people and the Earth.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.