The environmental impact of drugs
19th May, 2009
How much rainforest does it take for one celebrity to snort another one under the table? Nick Kettles investigates the devastating environmental impact of cocaine use.
The connection between hard-partying celebrities – from A-list to F – and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) might not be immediately apparent to most. But then the free-market makes strange bedfellows of us all. The twin desires to usurp the existing Colombian power-base on the one hand, and maintain the illusion of bright-lights, big-city careers on the other, have collided to throw the spotlight on a largely ignored form of ecocide.
As controllers of the majority of Colombia’s cocaine production for more than a decade, FARC has been responsible for the slash and burn of more than two million hectares – an area the size of Wales – of both pristine primary- and secondary-growth Amazon rainforest, in the most biodiverse (per square kilometre) country in the world.
As controllers of a large majority of the public’s imagination, celebrities who either openly or clandestinely take cocaine are helping ensure that the Colombian coca farmers who work for FARC stay in business.
The mind boggles at how the ideologies of such diverse groups could find themselves on common ground, but it seems that when it comes to the environment, neither can see beyond the tip...
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