The Amazon rain forests are disappearing at an increasing rate and along with them the best exquisite-chocolate-producing cacao trees.
From August of 2015 through July of 2016, the Amazon forest lost nearly 8,000 square kilometers of area to clear cutting, compared to a year earlier when 6,207 square kilometers were lost. That’s an area considerably larger than the state of Delaware. Delaware may be small, but like a 1000 piece puzzle covers a large picture, the annual loss amounts to ultimate devastaion..
The Amazon has long been dubbed the lungs of the planet due to its ability to absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. Rainforests can also be characterized as the medicine cabinet of the world as they are filled with medicinal treasure both discovered and yet to be discovered. Quinine, novacain, and cortisone to name a familiar few. In fact, half of the top ten prescription drugs in the U.S. are of animal, plant, or microorganism origin. 70% of plant-based cancer drugs come from plants only found in rainforests. Many plants and animals—potential sources of vital medicine—have gone extinct. Only a small percent of the existing known plant and animal species have been thoroughly examined for their medicinal potential.
About a decade ago, the problem was highlighted in the news and measures were taken to stem the destruction. Evidently, we spanked our hands on the problem and turned to other issues. Without the spotlight, Cargill and other agri-companies are not sufficiently ensuring compliance with their stated policies of only buying products from agricultural lands. The Brazilian government has become lax about enforcing legislation to protect the forest by forgiving those who have engaged in the practice.
At the same time, Mark Christian is turning to producing premium chocolate he calls wild chocolate from rare cacao trees in the Amazon forest. He is not only hoping to promote the specialty chocolate as an industry there, but hoping that it will contain the amount of clearcutting for other crops.
I confess to attempting to trick readers who may be weary of the plea to save rainforests and view people like me as tree huggers. We might not know if we could benefit from some undiscovered medical cure or how the air we breath is affected, but I hope that the love of chocolate in all of us will help rally the world. Truffles, anyone?
If you want to do something, click here for a list of worthy organizations, which are fighting to save this natural resource.
Sources: Medicinal treasures of the rainforest
Preserve rare cacao resources in the Amazon
Amazon deforestation increases when our planet can least afford it.
Deforestation in Brazil and Bolivia roars back
Video photos taken by NASA