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A VEGA Trustee receives “a small Toucan” - 22/12/2006
 
of Appreciation and becomes an Absentee Landlord of Brazilian Ecology

The trustee is a longstanding participant in projects aimed at producing alternatives to supplant (!) the evils of the dairy/beef/veal industry. Plant foods for human nutrition offer wonderful opportunities for this humane progress, utilizing leaves, seeds, and pulses directly as foods rather than committing them – in cattle wastefully and environmentally pollutingly – to turning feeds into the white stuff and its derivatives.

of Appreciation and becomes an Absentee Landlord of Brazilian Ecology



1. The trustee is a longstanding participant in projects aimed at producing alternatives to supplant (!) the evils of the dairy/beef/veal industry. Plant foods for human nutrition offer wonderful opportunities for this humane progress, utilizing leaves, seeds, and pulses directly as foods rather than committing them – in cattle wastefully and environmentally pollutingly – to turning feeds into the white stuff and its derivatives.

2. We recently posted an up-to-date review of the buoyant soya-based dairy-free milk-market, a rapid sequel to which is the arrival to our Trustee of an appreciation and “Very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a rewarding 2007. From everyone at Alpro.” This is accompanied by a certification that “Alpro soya has purchased 0.25 acre of virgin tropical rainforest” located at the Guapi Assu Reserve in Mata Atlantica, Brazil, on behalf or our Trustee.


Location of the Guapi Assu Reserve in Mata Atlantica, Brazil


3. “This land, which is part of a 50-acre block of rainforest purchased by Alpro UK for Christmas 2006 on behalf of our valued customers and suppliers, will now be safeguarded in perpetuity together with the animals, birds, and plants that live in and are dependent on it.” (50 acres = 20.23 hectares; 0.25 acre = about 1000m2; an international football pitch would be about 1 ha in area). So our Trustee has now gained a stewardship of an area of the Brazilian rainforests much greater than his garden.

4. The parcel of land is located in the Guapi Assu Reserve, one of the last stands of tropical rainforest left in the severely depleted Atlantic Rainforest (Mata Atlantica) in Brazil. The Atlantic rainforest is considered one of the most endangered and ecologically important eco-regions in the world. Owing primarily to clearing of forests for coffee plantations and trees and logging for hardwoods there is now only 7% of the original area remaining, most of which consists of isolated fragmented patches. The Alpro certification emphasizes that “The massive destruction of this ‘Global Hotspot for Biodiversity’ had been described as ‘one of the biological tragedies of this century’ and makes preventing more loss of the Atlantic rainforest a priority for international conservation efforts”. We can also note the clearances for growing soya as feed and concentrates for livestock producing meat, milk, and poultry products for exportation and rising consumption within Brazil. Some is used for dairy-free alternatives for human consumption. Customers should scrutinize labelling information and claims on provenance.

5. The Guapi Assu Reserve comprises an area of 5,500 ha and is situated 80km northeast of Rio de Janeiro. The reserve spans 200m to 2000m above sea level and provides a range of unique habitats including highland rainforest and lowland wetlands. The Guiapi Assu is home to a huge variety of wildlife, boasting many endemic species of plants and animals. These include 55 mammal species, among them Puma, Ocelot, Sloth, and Woolly Spider Monkey and at least 420 bird species including the Saw-billed Hermit, Elegant Mourner, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Bare-throated Bellbird, Channel-billed Toucan, and Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant. (How dull the congregation at our suburban seems now!)

6. There is a lot more to the World Land Trust, of which REGUA is a partner, and their efforts at protecting a reserve in one the largest remaining areas of Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest. As part of its program of habitats restoration and species reintroduction it reports: “The Săo Josè farm at REGUA once held a large lowland wetland with rare species of trees, orchids, and bromeliads (epiphytes such as pineapple). It was cut, drained, and turned into pasture 30 years ago. REGUA wants to restore this special vegetation type and the surrounding 60ha of degenerated pasture and use it as an educational tool for primary schools and universities. Its objective is to be introduced to the environment, understand their relationship to the environment, and finally learn to care for the environment.

7. We flew our Trustee over to this plot of land (by online aerial photography) and look forward to more information on the nature of the trees and understory. Just to see birds in their evolved jungle habitat rather than in wretched cages or exposed on barren and hostile “free range”. We hope veggies in Brazil, as well as visitors to carnival in Rio, can offer us more local information.

8. Good for Alpro! The market in the milk of human kindness on general sale has become competitive in a constructive way. For the veggie cause it’s the best thing since TVP. So So Good the ball’s in your court. How about 1p on the price of every carton of your products going to sanctuaries for retired cattle and pensions and training for farmers quitting or diversifying? At half of the British market, say 40 million litres annually, that would make a welcome gesture of £400,000 a year.

9. (And, by the way, the frozen foods industry is staging a comeback with frozen fresh soya beans, which greatly surpass garden peas in protein content. Chances here for value-added mushy peas! And scan the shelves for new initiatives in the tinned beans department! The food-industry is beginning to feel the pulse!).
 
 
 

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