Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro may not want people to talk about it (or write about it, for that matter), but the Amazon rain forest is on fire. And those fires were started by humans, greedy for new land to mine, farm, or raise cattle on. Now one hotel chain is taking a small but significant step to help fight back against that greed.
Eaton DC, a hotel for activists that was one of Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies in 2019, has decided to go beef-free for the months of September and October 2019 as part of an initiative to donate over $40,000 from revenue toward Amazon Watch, a nonprofit organization working to protect the rain forest and the indigenous people who live in the Amazon Basin.
Why will going beef-free help the Amazon? There’s a lot of research that shows that eating less meat can be a powerful tool for helping the planet, including the Amazon, by curbing energy use, land use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and cutting the number of pollutants produced. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, providing close to 20% of the total global exports, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and that figure could rise in the coming years. To keep up with demand, Brazilian ranchers are lighting the Amazon on fire to clear the ground for grazing cows.
“While Eaton DC has always sourced our beef domestically and locally, we are choosing not to contribute to the rapidly increasing global demand for beef in this moment of tragedy,” Sebi Medina-Tayac, director of impact at Eaton DC, said in a press release. “We hope this inspires our peers in the service industry, as well as our guests, to make decisions like decreasing beef consumption that make for a happier and healthier planet.” Plus, they expect that cutting beef will decrease the hotel’s carbon footprint by 27 tons for those two months.
While Eaton DC is taking beef off its menu to make a point, guests won’t have to go hungry, of course. The hotel has swapped beef for Impossible plant-based burgers on the menu, giving meat eaters a chance to sink their teeth into the new vegetarian craze that is sweeping the nation’s fast food restaurants. Twenty percent of the proceeds from those Impossible burger sales, which will be on the menu through the end of the year, will be donated to Amazon Watch.