Nov. 18, 2019 By Michael Dorgan
Astoria Council member Costa Constantinides has called on New York City to boycott agricultural companies responsible for accelerating climate change.
Constantinides, who is Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, sponsored a groundbreaking resolution Thursday which, if passed, would call on City agencies and the private sector to cut ties with food companies “that benefit from deforestation and the acceleration of global warming.”
The resolution, prompted by the forest fires that have ravaged the Amazon rainforest, notes that the cattle ranchers often use fire to clear land for grazing cattle.
The resolution was introduced in conjunction with a similar motion by Los Angeles City Council and rallies were held in both cities calling for changes in behaviors and policies which contribute to this “existential threat.”
“Climate change is a challenge to our future that isn’t going away. That shouldn’t preclude us, however, from taking a bold stance against deforestation, which only accelerates the effects of this man-made phenomenon,” said Constantinides.
“We are facing a climate emergency, and we can’t continue business as usual while the planet burns,” Constantinides said.
“Just as the loss of trees in the Amazon can exacerbate climate change in New York City or Los Angeles, we can make real change by taking a first stance against businesses whose practices have sparked these wildfires,” added Constantinides.
Advocates for the resolution call on New Yorkers to reduce the amount of meat, dairy, and eggs they consume. They also called out JBS and Cargill for profiting from rainforest wildfires.
An uptick in meat demands has spurred South American cattle ranchers to clear more of the Amazon for grazing and as a result forest fires in the region have increased more than 80 percent since last year, putting vital resources and lives at risk, Constantinides said.
The Amazon rainforest plays a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide emissions and critics argue that without them, those emissions are left to exacerbate climate change.
Deforestation is continuing at rapid rate as global beef demand increases by about 5 percent per year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
This drains the planet’s limited resources as it takes an average 300 square feet of land and more than 200 gallons of water to create a single pound of beef.