News & Opinion | October 30, 2019 6:16 am

Chocolate Is Killing the Planet

Chocolate makers are the cause of rampant deforestation

chocolate
Enjoy your Halloween candy, planet killers.

Happy Halloween! Just kidding, your favorite Halloween candy is destroying life on earth as we know it. The world’s leading chocolate makers have long been linked to rampant deforestation contributing to climate change, and according to the Washington Post, the problem is only getting worse.

“Anytime someone bites on a chocolate bar in the United States, a tree is being cut down,” Eric Agnero, an environmental activist in Abidjan, told the Post‘s Steven Mufson. “If we continue like that, in two, three, four years there will be no more forests.”

Back in 2009, Mars Inc., maker of M&M’s, Milky Way and other well-known staples of the chocolate space, publicly promised to switch entirely to sustainable cocoa. In the past decade, however, deforestation has only accelerated. West Africa, the source of two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, has been the hardest hit. According to the Post, one estimate claims the loss of tropical rainforests sped up more in Ghana and Ivory Coast than anywhere else in the world last year.

While illegal mining is to blame for some of the destruction, the Post reports that much of it can be traced back to cocoa farmers felling mature trees in national parks and protected forests by the hundreds of thousands in an attempt to expand their plots.

Meanwhile, the continued deforestation only serves to further tarnish the reputation of chocolate brands already under fire for ongoing child labor practices in West African cocoa fields.

So anyway, if you needed any more incentive to cut back on the sweets this year, deforestation and climate change should do it.

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