Amazon.com Inc. should save the Amazon Rainforest

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The Amazon Rainforest. Photo from Wikipedia.

By Winona LaDuke

Ever worry that one day you will wake up and find you are owned by Amazon? They keep growing. With all their influence, gobbling and growth, it would be great if they would do something good with it. Like save the Amazon Rainforest.

Really though, they are buying everything, and somedays I have to pinch myself to see if I am really still me or if I am owned by Amazon.

I sit here on my beautiful lake and watch a circus of corporate take overs. You’ve got Bayer Aspirin buying Monsanto. General Electric, the guys who make appliances and nuclear power plants, they own 80% of NBC TV, and MSNBC. Enbridge bought Spectra. Exxon bought Mobil. Delta bought Northwest. And Amazon bought Whole Foods. It’s kind of like watching a Pacman game.

I just can’t keep track of the drama in the corporate world. Seems like their identities come and go so quickly, it must be hard to keep the right make up, or logo on. I don’t really know who they are… I don’t think they really know who they are .

And then, they go bankrupt and aren’t around any more. Poof. They are gone. That, however, usually occurs after they have a catastrophic accident (ie: Union Carbide, after the Bhopal disaster). Take California’s Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE). PGE was one of the largest corporations in California, providing power transmission to 16 million customers. They did not take care of their powerlines, so those lines caused a fire, aka the Camp Fire – the one that took out the town of Paradise. That’s where 86 people died, and it was a crazy time. Now PGE is filing for bankruptcy because they have $30 billion in liability. That means that they have to pay off their creditors – the guys who gave them money. But they don’t have to pay for the destruction or for the lives disrupted and lost at Paradise.

Poof, they are gone. That corporation is no more. So some how I am trying to rectify in my little head why the President of PGE gets to sit in his arm chair in Bermuda – having sucked $6 million a year out of California, and not having to pay for any of the disaster he has caused. I’m trying to get my head wrapped around why that’s fair.

This corporate gobbling and getting rich thing is really bothersome to me. It also boggles me why a corporation is considered a person under the law, with the same rights as you and I. Now, a corporation is not actually a person, because a person has a soul. And, if a corporation was a person, I think they would be suffering from a multiple personality disorder after all those mergers and limited liability things are sorted out. It just boggles me.

But back to Amazon. That corporation is one of my favorite corporations, I love that Amazon Prime. Amazon bought Whole foods. Now Amazon is getting bigger. If only that big Amazon would help save the actual Amazon. The rainforests are getting clear cut, dams are breaking and killing people, mining companies are running amuck, and the new president of Brazil has said he will kill the Native people, pretty much to get to the Amazon.

Deforestation rates hit a 10-year high last year and are expected to drastically expand under President Bolsonaro’s administration. All of that comes with killing more Native people.

Deforestation is considered the second-largest contributor to climate change, after fossil fuel use, accounting for about 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Forests act as sponges for carbon dioxide, soaking it up and converting it into plant material, and oxygen. When trees are cut down or burned, they release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The Amazon Rainforest are the lungs of Mother Earth, and the people who live there are the ones who have taken care of it forever, and they just want to be left alone. There’s even about 5000 of them who are “uncontacted”, that means they want nothing to do with the rest of us. I, for one, want to support that. Leave them alone. After all, oil mining corporations are causing enough messes in the Amazon, and I’d like to see one “Garden of Eden” or maybe just a safe place for Nature.

So, let me be clear about this. This past year Amazon.com was worth $600 billion and earned $ll billion in profits. They will pay zero dollars in federal taxes. I used to think of the word Amazon as the lungs of Mother Earth, but now a google search engine will point me to a shopping site instead. They appropriated the name of a place, and apparently don’t give a damn about that place. I find that sad.

Simply stated, before you gobble up anything else Mr. Amazon – can you pay some royalties for the protection of the Amazon Rainforest? Or maybe you could use the money you saved on taxes (from all those tax breaks you get that the little people don’t have) to help the Rainforest. Those Forest Guardians, the guys with machetes on scooters protecting the Amazon, could use some gear and some support. Maybe get it delivered Amazon Prime to a nearby town. That would be swell.