The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to create a plan to stop purchasing products that have contributed to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the killing of indigenous people in Brazil.
"We need to change the way the city spends its money to let the Brazilian government and the companies that are complicit with this terrible action know that the Amazon rainforest is an international treasure ... (it) supports life and biodiversity that is essential to the whole world,'' said Councilman Paul Koretz, who proposed the policy changes with Councilman David Ryu.
"The city has long used its purchasing power as a tool to influence policies in other regions. I think there's never been an issue more compelling in terms of the future of the planet than this one," Koretz said.
Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix and recording artist Moby came to the Council Chamber to echo their support.
The motion was drafted by Koretz and Ryu in November in conjunction with the New York City Council, which introduced a similar proposal, calling on the nation's 35,000 other cities to join the boycott.
"The especially tragic part about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is the almost uselessness of the things that are produced by it," Councilman Paul Krekorian said, referring to palm oil used to make packaged snacks with low nutritional value. ``It's really ludicrous that the world could allow this to happen."
The council also voted unanimously to adopt two resolutions, one that would support legislation to require products that have come from the rainforest to be labeled and to support legislation that would prohibit "clearcutting," mass deforestation operations for logging, throughout California.
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A state bill, AB 2002, has been introduced that would support the city's efforts in halting deforestation.
The council voted 13-0 on the three items.
City staff will submit a report to the council in 45 days on policies and procedures it can implement to stop purchasing products that have resulted in the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest or the killing of indigenous people.
"The importance of the Amazon rainforest to our very survival cannot be understated,'' Ryu said. ``These fires are not happening by accident. They are intentional. Mining, logging and farming have made the world's greatest forest vulnerable to the demands of the almighty dollar. But there is good news: we as individual cities can stop this ... We can remove the incentive that's driving these fires in the first place."