World Rainforest Movement

Environmental crime linked to Peugeot in Brazil

The “environmentally concerned” French car producer Peugeot, decided to do something about the global warming effect of the millions of cars it produces. Of course, nothing as radical as switching to a different source of fuel. Instead, it decided to go the easy way: to plant “carbon sequestering” trees in the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil. The project began to be implemented last year, with the aim of converting 12,000 hectares of “degraded” pastures into plantations. According to Peugeot, the planted area would be able to remove 183,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. And very cheaply: for only US$12 million.

However, the results have been very expensive for the environment and for local people. A local subsidiary of the French NGO “Office Nations de Forets” began operations and caused what may have been the worst ecological crime ever committed in the state. Hundreds of animals -including species facing extinction- were found dead in one of the plantation areas. The reason: the use of 5,000 litres of the “inocuous” herbicide gliphosate (Round Up) in an area of 1,500 hectares being prepared for the plantation. The disaster also reached two rivers (the Juruena and Teles Pires) resulting in the widespread death of fish.

What’s worse is that this has not been a mere accident. On the contrary, modern plantation technology strongly recommends the use of herbicides to eliminate competing vegetation -thus effectively eradicating much of the local plant biodiversity. The herbicide being extensively used all around the world for this purpose, on whose effects the company which produces it (Monsanto) has been lying for years, stating that it is less harmful than table salt, is precisely the one that caused this disaster.

The above is the result of bogus environmentalism: the implementation of an allegedly “environmentally-friendly” activity -planting trees- publicized as capable of sequestering carbon dioxide and thereby mitigating the greenhouse effect. In order to avoid the really difficult decision of abandoning the fossil fuel-dependent economy, part of the academic community has come up with these clever schemes and provided them with “scientific” support. Fortunately, another part of the academic community seems to be honestly trying to assert whether plantations are or are not capable of acting as carbon sinks. Their answer is no (see article below).

Source: Nelson Francisco, “Herbicida pode ter causado desastre ambiental. Centenas de animais selvagens foram encontrados mortos em fazenda de MT”, O Estado de S. Paulo, 11/11/1999