Turns Out Organized Crime Is Chopping Down Rainforests Willy-Nilly

Senior Contributor
10.01.12 5 Comments

Despite the common belief, most organized crime is actually fairly pathetic and less than glamorous. It’s really humanity at its most venal and stupid, often hurting others in the long term for minor short term profit.

Witness a recent UN report that revealed that contrary to the records, illegal logging has actually been increasing. Why? Because the Mafia and other international criminal organizations have gotten into the lumber smuggling business.

We probably don’t need to detail the environmental impact of killing the planet’s lungs, but the problem is twofold:

1) Being criminals, these guys are very good at faking permits, hacking databases and bribing people.


2) Shipping illegally cut lumber has the strict penalty of a freaking fine. Yes, killing the planet is basically a misdemeanor to the law enforcement organizations of the world.

In other words, it’s low-risk and high-reward. The worst that happens is that somebody impounds their wood. So, pretty much every criminal organization in the world is charging into the Amazon with chainsaws.

Scientifically, this is a problem because deforestation is responsible for 17% of the world’s carbon emissions yearly. By contrast, that’s more than all the fossil fuel we burn from shipping cheap plastic crap, by any method, anywhere in the world, in a year.

In other words, a bunch of greedy, violent idiots are destroying the environment and sticking the rest of us with the tab. Where’s the Punisher when you need him?

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