You need to stop eating avocados, like right now. I know it’s a hard thing to even think about, but the environmental impact of avocados is huge. According to the Associated Press, the rising demand for avocados – followed by even higher prices – is fueling Mexican farmers to expand and destroy much of the country’s pine forests.
Avocado trees flourish in the same places as pine and fir trees. As a result, many Mexican avocado producers are dodging authorities and thinning out forests in order to make room for larger avocado orchards – all because they have to keep up with the American appetite for it.
“Even where they aren’t visibly cutting down forests, there are avocados growing underneath (the pine boughs), and sooner or later, they’ll cut down the pines completely,” Mario Tapia Vargas, a researcher at Mexico’s National Institute for Forestry, Farming and Fisheries Research, told the Associated Press.
It is mostly due to the high demand and the top dollar farmers can receive for their avocado harvest. The price tag on avocados, according to the Associated Press, has increased from 86 cents in January to around $1.10 in July. In addition, the peso lost 16 percent of its value against the dollar this year, meaning that the Mexican avocado is that much more attractive to American customers.
This magic combination has transformed avocados into the most profitable crop for Mexican farmers – and thus explains their motivation to keep chopping down the pines.
So what can you do? Instead of purchasing your avocados from Mexico, you can look for other sources. While they will likely be more expensive, at the end of the day, you won’t be contributing to the demise of the environment.
Or, you know, just cut down your general intake of avocado.