Los Angeles City Councilmen Paul Koretz and David Ryu called on the city Thursday to cut ties with companies that conduct business contributing to the wildfires burning in the Amazon Rainforest and the murder of indigenous people in the Brazilian wildland.
The recent fires have been linked to aggressive taking of lands for agriculture. Rallies calling for the boycott were held Thursday in both Los Angeles and New York City.
"Today, our two largest cities call for the other 35,000 cities in the United States to join us in our boycott of Brazil, its cattle industry and the reckless corporations profiting from deforestation, murder and climate madness," Koretz said. "If we lose the Amazon, we lose our critical carbon-sequestration defense, and we lose the climate fight, period."
Koretz said he wants the entire country behind the boycott by the end of the year.
A motion officially making the call, co-sponsored by Koretz and Ryu, will be introduced at Friday's City Council meeting in coordination with similar legislation introduced today by New York City Council members to condemn the destruction of rainforests around the globe and ongoing violence and murder of the indigenous peoples who protect them, Koretz's office said.
An uptick in meat demand has spurred South American cattle ranchers to clear more of the Amazon for grazing and feed crops, Koretz office said. Demands for which increase 5% each year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Forest fires throughout the Amazon have jumped 80% since last year, putting resources and lives at risk. The Brazilian National Institute for Space Research recorded over 41,000 fires throughout the country as a result of this clearing.
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"As consumers, as cities and as global citizens, we have a choice: we can continue to feed an industry that is destroying the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous peoples, or we can stand together and fight for it," Ryu said. "There is no back-up Amazon rainforest. The choices we make today will decide the fate of this incredible ecosystem and the fate of our atmosphere as a whole."
The motion from Ryu and Koretz will ask city departments to examine ways to eliminate the purchase of products, contracting with or investing in firms that engage in the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest or the murder of the Indigenous people who live there.
The councilmen were joined by leaders of Los Angeles indigenous people and local activists who spoke at the rally, and they also called on Angelenos to reduce how much meat, dairy and eggs they consume.