On May 22, Greenpeace, my former employer, took direct action against Cargill, shutting down their illegal soybean facility in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. As Greenpeace reports: “Our activists unfurled a banner on the conveyor belts at Cargill’s facility, but angry Cargill employees nearby blasted the sign down with high-powered hoses. Police arrived on the scene and arrested 16 of our activists. The Arctic Sunrise itself blockaded the Cargill port, preventing exports of soy from leaving the facility. In the nearby city of Santarém, a group of Cargill’s supporters surrounded the police station holding our activists, but were dispersed by military police.”
Greenpeace activists were mobbed and attacked with pepperspray, but the action itself was based on two years of solid research tracking and exposing how the soybeans support KFC and McDonald’s chicken production.
As Greenpeace reports: “Cargill, based in the United States, is the largest soy producer and exporter in the Amazon, operating 13 silos in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.”
“Soy is now a leading cause of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon. In total, an estimated 12,000 square miles of what was once rainforest has already been destroyed, mostly illegally, to grow soybeans. Cargill makes no secret of helping establish soy farms in the Amazon, some of which are complicit in other illegal activities such as land grabbing and slavery.”
I worked for Greenpeace in the Minneapolis office back in 1996 but Germany Greenpeace shut down all the U.S. Greenpeace canvass offices because in Germany only volunteer-based activism is emphasized.
Considering the huge disinformation about Cargill in its headquarters, the Twin Cities, I think there should definitely be more paid research, supported by grassroots donations, to expose and stop Cargill’s destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The “Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy”:http://iatp.org/>http://iatp.org, works on global trade agreements and they are located just off Nicollet and Franklin in Minneapolis. Supporting their work would be a great first step in helping solve this real catastrophe in global food policy.
In 2000 I had an op-ed published in the Minnesota Daily while working there as a part-time staff writer. The op-ed gave a general expose on the structural crisis that Cargill is part off — how Cargill depends on a huge amount of tax subsidies, only to undermine family farmers, worldwide, creating massive starvation and dependence on the U.S. This is called the “Food for Peace” plan, set up by Hubert H. Humphrey for the Cold War politics. For example, Cargill dumped grain in Somalia at one-ninth the local farmer’s price, thereby greatly destroying the traditional subsistence economy of Somalia.
Well, now Cargill is helping to cause global climate destabilization. The Amazon, through its unfathomable ecological complexity, creates 25 percent of the world’s oxygen and about the same of the world’s freshwater. Soybeans do not take in as much CO2 as the Amazon rainforest. I have a certificate on conservation biology and sustainable development from the School for Field Studies in Costa Rica after a semester of studying rainforest development issues in Fall of 1992. The rainforest crisis is the product of the U.S.-controlled International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the CIA and large private corporations dependent on huge public tax infusions, like Cargill.
Both my exposes of Cargill are still available to read freely online as “Cargill: Our taxes, global destruction” (, 2000) and “Cargill, Soybeans and the Destruction of the Amazon” (Pulse of the Twin Cities , 2004)
To create radical policy change requires focused effort and my previous successes in environmental and social justice policy changes have come with a certain amount of backlash by the powers that be: sabotage of my email account, phone-tapping, threats of censorship and censorship, psychological warfare attacks and assault.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a relative of the V.P. of Public Relations of Cargill whose job it is to “keep Cargill under the public radar,” as he described. So any action that citizens can take definitely makes a difference!
I hope readers can join in the peaceful effort to change the current inertia about radical ecological sustainability. It will make our future much more peaceful.
For more on Cargill and other issues go “here”:http://drewhempel.gnn.tv