According to CI, every 4 hours an area the size of Manhattan is burned down for grazing animals, releasing more carbon than we all emit driving SUVs.
It reminds me of that horrible scene in Lord of the Rings where Saruman turns his gorgeous tree-lined grounds into a fiery pit from Hell so he can build a goblin factory. There's even a memorable quote: 'The old world will burn in the fires of industry.' Heavy. But at least he wanted to take over the world, we just do it so we can eat more hamburgers.
Clearing rainforests is responsible for about 20% of carbon emmissions. Funnily enough, with that uncanny symmetry you sometimes find with important numbers, the rain forests are also reponsible for producing 20% of our oxygen.
When I read stuff like this I fear that we are fated to go the way of the dodo bird, which was too stupid to survive. Actually that's not quite fair since there's some controversy about whether the dodo was stupid or just unlucky. When it comes to people, however, there's less controversy.
The good news is that we can all help protect a global resource that helps keep us alive by buying an acre or two of rainforest. If we own it, they can't burn it down and put cows on it.
You get a lovely certificate of purchase, which makes a great gift for that person who has everything. It also makes a fine hostess gift - for example, Ralf and I are taking one to a barbeque this afternoon.
(Yes I see the irony.)
PS I think all our friends can guess what they're getting for Christmas this year.