The NY Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is not a Radical Idea
But what I’m going to talk about today should not be a radical idea. It’s actually a very small idea. I’m going to talk about a piece of legislation called the New York Tropical Deforestation Free Procurement Act.
It’s a simple idea that shouldn’t be radical. But if radical means getting to the root, which is what it does mean, this is a radical idea because it challenges the old racist, colonialist notion that multinational corporations should be allowed to take whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want for profit. And it presents the simple, maybe radical idea that governments should use their power not to continue to pursue exploitation and extraction, but to pursue resilience and restoration and rights.
It is time for New York State to take a lead in climate justice. Despite Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities being responsible for safeguarding over 80% of the world’s biodiversity, their lands and rights are constantly threatened for the sake of global consumption. The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act mandates that any company seeking to sell products or services to the state of New York must ensure that their products do not contribute to tropical deforestation, labor rights abuses, or abuses of Indigenous People’s rights.
How to transform the system?
Those most affected by the climate crisis are also those with the least power to decide and act on it. Tackling climate justice demands a shift in power, not only to repair frontline communities, but also to make sure that those who negotiate, sign and approve are also those most knowledgeable of what needs to be done to stop the crisis.