The Instigator
lin0913
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
zxcvzxcvzxcv
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The US should prohibit the import of all goods derived from the Amazon Rainforest.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
lin0913
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 836 times Debate No: 43022
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

lin0913

Pro

First round is acceptance.
Second round is constructive only (no rebuttals).
Third round is constructive and rebuttals.
Fourth round is rebuttals only (no new arguments).
Fifth round is summary and impact weighing.

Please keep content organized, appropriate, and respectful. Use correct grammar and spelling. Ad hominem will not be tolerated. A forfeit means a win for the other side. I will define in the second round and set up framework.

Thanks, and good luck!

-Lulu

P.S. Feel free to leave constructive criticism in the comments. Voters, give reasons for your decision.
zxcvzxcvzxcv

Con

You crazy environmentalist. People are more important than plants.
Debate Round No. 1
lin0913

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate.

My three main contentions are:

P1: The effects of mining in the rainforest are disastrous.
P2: We need to minimize deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest.
P3: Banning imports from the Amazon will help protect & preserve it.

Define:
Should = Moral obligation to take specific action
All imports = The goods and raw materials that are produced from the Amazon

Framework: Since "should" means to have a moral obligation, we are limiting the debate strictly to discussion about whether the US has moral obligation to prohibit imports.

1. The effects of mining in the rainforest is disastrous.
Gold, copper, diamonds, and other precious metals and gemstones are found in the Amazon. However, the means we use to get them, mining, is a destructive activity that damages the rainforest ecosystem and causes problems for people living nearby and downstream from mining operations.
According to Rainforest Mongabay, cyanide, a highly toxic compound, is used in mining. While cyanide is supposed to be carefully monitored to prevent its escape into the surround environment, spills do occur. This obviously is detrimental to the land surrounding the disaster.
An easy example of this would be the 1995 Amazon Rainforest cyanide spill in Guyana.
According to the Amazon Aid Foundation, in August 1995, the Golden Star Mine released more than a billion gallons of cyanide-laced waste water into a tributary in the Amazon. It caused widespread die-offs of aquatic and terrestrial plant and animal life, poisoned floodplain soils used for agriculture, and polluted the main source of drinking water for thousands of people.
Mining has in the past proven to be detrimental to the delicate rainforest ecosystem. We need to prevent more land from being polluted by mining.
According to NASA, mining accounts for more than 43% o/deforestation in the Amazon.
Therefore, we can conclude that mining plays a HUGE role in the destruction in the Amazon, leading me to my 2nd contention, which is --

2. We need to minimize deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest.
Right now, the Amazon, one o/the most valuable international wonders o/the world, is losing thousands of acres o/forest.
And according to Natural News, each hectare in the Amazon contains up to 750 types of trees and 1500 species of higher plants. That amount is lost every two seconds.
Let"s do the math here. All the destruction adds up to 137 species of animals and plants being lost each day.
The U.S. is the international role model. How can we just stand by & let all the deforestation and destruction happen, and even have our own citizens participate in the destruction?
According to NASA, currently, the RF is losing about 21,000 square miles of forest a year due to logging and deforestation. If this continues, scientists estimate that more than " of the rainforest will be gone by the year 2030, and everything in the rainforest will be gone by 2050.
Clearly, the Amazon"s expiration date is not so far away. If we want to preserve our planet, we have to help out & ban imports from the rainforest. This leads me to my 3rd contention which is --

3. Banning all imports from the Amazon will help protect & preserve it.
Building off my previous 2 contentions, America CAN help the Amazon rainforest.
According to the Census Bureau the U.S. is almost 5% o/the world"s population.
That"s more than 300 million people.
According to USA Today, 79% o/all our wooden household items come from the Amazon.
So, If we ban imports from the Amazon Rainforest, there will be 300 million less people hammering away at the Amazon Rainforest. Our country could possibly be game changer in the rainforest"s survival and preservation.
According to the World Preservation Foundation, the US is the largest importer of tropical hardwoods at more than 20 million cubic meters a year.
Obviously, if we stopped importing, we would make a huge difference.
According to National Geographic, Currently, palm oils from the Amazon are banned in Europe, saving 9 football fields of trees from being clear-cut, PER MINUTE.
Now imagine if we could ban all imports. That would save so many trees. It is our duty as American citizens to protect the world we live in.

Thank you.
The spotlight is now on my opponent.
zxcvzxcvzxcv

Con

P1: The effects of mining in the rainforest are disastrous.
P2: We need to minimize deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest.
P3: Banning imports from the Amazon will help protect & preserve it.

P1) True, but we're not arguing whether or not the effects are disastrous. This is well known. The debate is about banning these items from the US.
You need to provide quantitative proof that banning these items in the US is going to:
A) Make a significant impact on depleting the goods *created* illegally from the Amazon rainforest.
B) Prove that by restricting these items from the public, the good done to the rainforest exceeds on a moral and philosophical level the harm done by restricting these goods from the public. (Take your stance, i.e. utilitarian, etc.)

P2) This is true, but once again you need to quantitatively prove a direct correlation to restricting the goods and a lesser deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Also refer to P1-B. If you cannot provide the proofs then your argument is invalid.

P3) In philosophy we call this kind of argument "inductive reasoning", that is, you stated a conclusion from an assumed but unfounded premise. You have provided no evidence to validate that banning these imports have a substantive impact on protecting and preserving it from illegal deforestation. Thus, you are working from a false assumed premise. Please refer to P1-A

Essentially, your inductive argument is similar to this:
P1) Some white swans are black, and this causes sickness among swans.
P2) We need to make all white swans white in order to prevent them from getting sick.
P3) Getting rid of paint in the world will ensure that all swans are white.

Do you see the fallacies here? There are multiple.

1) Assumption that people are the primary cause of harm to the rainforest (may be probable but without evidence this is not absolute)
2) Assumption that minimizing deforestation by humans will make a significant positive impact on the rainforest (may be probable but without evidence this is not absolute)
3) The assumption that the US is the primary contributor to the deforestation of the rainforest (possible but without evidence this argument cannot be made)
4) The assumption that the US hasn't already made every effort to prevent deforestation of the Amazon
5) Not taking into account the potential negative societal and international impact with making such a restriction

6) Worst of all, other two points not necessary, the assumption that banning imports from the Amazon will have a direct correlation to a decreased deforestation of the Amazon.

For example, banning these items from the US could significantly *increase* deforestation of the Amazon, as in this example:
* Amazonian deforestationists (whatever you call them) lose their legal US market
* As a result they seek more illegal channels into the US which as a result allows them more freedom to import illegal products, further worsening the Amazon Rainforest condition.
* Further they seek more non-US international channels for selling and smuggling products derived from the Amazon rainforests, exponentially increasing deforestation.

In the above example, banning said imports to the US would be devastating to the Amazon rainforests, a direct and total opposite of what was originally intended.

Thus, your argument is flawed and invalid because you neglect numerous possibilities and use inductive reasoning without valid supported premises in an emotional attempt to sway listeners to your point of view, which may in fact be more detrimental to the Amazon rainforest than beneficial on a variety of levels.
Debate Round No. 2
lin0913

Pro

Since my opponent did not put forth constructive arguments of his own, I'll just refute his refutations and build on my own case.

P1)
My opponent refutes this by saying I haven't proven that banning imports will help in part A of his refutation. Well, the Amazon Rainforest is a FOREST. A forest is made out of trees, plants, and animals. Right now, the trees are being cut down (for mines and/or lumber demand), plants are being burned (for the same reason), and animals are dying (because their homes are gone since the trees and plants were their homes). When this happens, we say the forest is being destroyed. When this stops, we say the forest is preserved. Why are the trees being cut down and why are the plants being burned? It's because the demand for precious metals, lumber, and other goods from the Amazon are in high demand. Who is the biggest importer of goods from the rainforest (as I've already stated in the previous round)? The US. What happens if the US stops importing? Demand goes down because the Amazon's biggest importer isn't importing anymore. According to logging company Plum Creek Timber, when there is less demand for wood, logging rates go down. So since banning imports makes demand go down, we can conclude that banning imports will help stop deforestation (cutting down trees and burning plants). If the forest is not being cut down, this means it is preserved and saved. So, the conclusion of this chain of logic is that banning imports will preserve the Amazon Rainforest. See the chain of logic? This will be elaborated on further in the round. Also, in part B of his refutation, my opponent states I need to prove that the pros of banning outweigh the cons, but he fails to provide ANY examples of the harms of prohibiting WHATSOEVER. Thus, my opponent's refutation is invalid and my point stands.

P2)
My opponent refutes this basically the same way as he refuted my first contention. It's basically the same exact refutation, so I won't keep repeating my refutation for this point. Please refer to the refute above, thanks.

P3)
My opponent refutes this by saying I have no evidence to prove that banning imports will help protect the Rainforest from deforestation. However, in my 3rd contention (and in the refutation above), I clearly have proven the correlation between banning imports and the impact on deforestation. As I've stated before, Europe has placed a ban on some goods from the Amazon, and the impact was significant. Although the impact was not as big as it would be if the US banned imports because the US is a bigger importer than Europe, and Europe hadn't banned ALL imports, all the same, the correlation is clear. There's evidence and clear reasoning. My opponent cannot continue to refute all of my points in this way.

My opponent also lists a few fallacies he claims are made in my argument. I'll go on to refute these.
1) "Assumption that people are the primary cause of harm to the rainforest (may be probable but without evidence this is not absolute)"
I've proven REPEATEDLY both in this round and in the previous that people ARE the biggest cause of harm to the rainforest. Loggers are the people who clearcut the forest. Miners are the people who unleash toxic chemicals into the ecosystem. Farmers are the people who burn the plants to make room for ranches. I've brought up numerous pieces of evidence to prove this. Please refer to the previous round's first and second contentions. Also, I'll be bringing up more evidence and reasoning on this point further in the round.
2) "Assumption that minimizing deforestation by humans will make a significant positive impact on the rainforest (may be probable but without evidence this is not absolute)"
Again, this HAS already been proven. Please refer to the previous round and previous refutes. Again, I'll be elaborating more on this later in the round.
3) "The assumption that the US is the primary contributor to the deforestation of the rainforest (possible but without evidence this argument cannot be made)"
It is almost laughable that my opponent has managed to overlook all the evidence I've already provided on this. I'll restate some of my evidence here: "According to the World Preservation Foundation, the US is the largest importer of tropical hardwoods at more than 20 million cubic meters a year." This proves that (literally restating the evidence) the US is the biggest importer of wood from the Rainforest. "According to the Census Bureau, the US is almost 5% of the world's population... According to USA Today, 79% of all our wooden household items come from the Amazon." 5% of the world's population is about 300 million people. 79% of the wood found in these 300 million peoples' houses are from the Amazon Rainforest (again, practically restating the evidence). As I've proven in a previous refute, when the US stops importing, all this wood will not have to be obtained from the Amazon. This mean that demand goes down. What happens when demand for timber and lumber goes down? Deforestation slows down or stops.
4) "The assumption that the US hasn't already made every effort to prevent deforestation of the Amazon"
My opponent accuses me of having no evidence while he hasn't provided a shred of statistics or evidence to justify his claim. Furthermore, it's an obvious fact that the US hasn't made "every effort." We haven't banned imports yet. This point is thus invalid.
5) "Not taking into account the potential negative societal and international impact with making such a restriction"
Seeing as my opponent has not even given me any potential negatives for me to refute, I'll just make some pre-emptive rebuttals to possible negatives:
1. People might lose their jobs
A. Instead of holding a job that works for destroying the rainforest, they can simply get a job REBUILDING it.
B. People are dying on their jobs because of the burning they have to do, the toxic emissions from mining, etc. Would you rather have jobs -- or lives? Is it worth it to DIE for a job?
2. People (who live in the rainforest and sell goods to the US for a living) might lose money
A. These people are having their homes CLEAR CUT and BURNED DOWN. So, should we value their actual homes or their money?
3. The economy might suffer
A. It is actually better for the economy if it's not based off illegal trades because illegal trading makes it unstable.
4. Medicine from the Amazon will be lost
A. We can ban all imports now and focus more on rebuilding the rainforest. Once the rainforest is more stable, we can start allowing more imports on stuff like medicine, but less on wood. Besides, if we don't ban imports, these medicinal herbs will be gone by 2050, so we need to protect them by banning them now.

Now I'll move on to elaborate on my own contentions.

P1: The effects of mining in the rainforest is disastrous.
Area deforested by mining may seem relatively small, but given slow forest recovery & the concentration of mines in selected areas, small-scale gold mining is expected to reduce local forest cover & ecosystem services by several times.
World Resources Institute: Between 1976 and 1980, miners had destroyed about 1000 hectares in the Amazon.
Not only does mining cause deforestation, it also pollutes rivers, streams, & other water sources.
Conservation Biology: Streams near mining sites have elevated amount of aluminum, iron, & potassium, & in some parts o/the stream, they even found mercury.
Rainforest Mongabay: Not only are mercury compounds toxic, but highly bioaccumulative, meaning that mercury concentrations increase up the food chain. Top predators, including otters, birds of prey, & ultimately, humans, will have the highest levels of mercury in their systems.
Mining in the rainforest has to stop, & we can stop it by prohibiting all imports.

P2: We need to minimize deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest.
Right now, as we speak, the rainforest is losing several football fields' worth of trees. That includes over 700 species of trees and more than 1500 species of higher plants.
National Rainforest Foundation: The Amazon provides more than 20% of the world's total oxygen.
The Amazon is our world's carbon sink, where Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. Deforestation & burning increases CO2 emissions, thereby increasing greenhouse gases & global warming.
National Rainforest Foundation: The burning of forests in the RF has already led to a 6% increase in global warming over the past 10 yrs.
NASA: If deforestation carries on like it does currently, half o/the rainforest will be gone by 2030.
Natural News: From 2000 to 2005, Brazil lost more than 150,000 square kilometers of forest, an area larger than Greece.
Deforestation will not be going down anytime soon unless the US does something.

P3: Banning imports from the Amazon will help protect & preserve it.
Doesn"t it make sense that if the US is importing tons & tons of timber and other goods, once we stop imports, all the deforestation & mining will slow dramatically? Many other countries are already cracking down on imports from the Amazon.
Cool Earth, a UK charity for rainforests: A new legislation to halt illegally logged timber imports was passed by the European Parliament on July 7th by a massive 644 to 25 vote. Quote, "Now we just have to persuade the USA to follow suit," says Matthew Owens, the director of the charity.
The USA is falling behind on the race to save the Earth, with Europe miles ahead of us. We were supposed to be the role model of the world, but here we are, failing at our job.

We can no longer continue to make excuses for our failure to protect one of the Earth"s most valuable rainforests. Now is the time to act.
zxcvzxcvzxcv

Con

zxcvzxcvzxcv forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
lin0913

Pro

zxcvzxcvzxcv, why did you forfeit? :(
It was a good debate so far and now you have to lose it.
Well I guess... voters please cast your ballot for the proposition (me)
zxcvzxcvzxcv

Con

I didn't forfeit. I guess I waited too long to come back.

But anyway I stand by my points.

I'm not getting paid for this so I don't feel like writing 50 paragraphs over and over.
Debate Round No. 4
lin0913

Pro

I knocked down your points so if you just stand by them then you pretty much lose (although you already lost because of the forfeit, sorry).
If you don't want to write all that over and over, you could use copy and paste... I don't mind... or you could post new content.

Voters, please cast your ballot for the Proposition (due to the forfeit), thanks.
zxcvzxcvzxcv

Con

You didn't "knock down" any of my points.

It seems I have won this debate. Voters vote for me! Thanks!
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by ruiran0326 3 years ago
ruiran0326
ggnore lulu, debating our first tourney.
nice way to spend your winter break ;) i should take a leaf out of your book.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ruiran0326 3 years ago
ruiran0326
lin0913zxcvzxcvzxcvTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: FF, and Pro refuted all of Con's arguments.