Americans' love affair with beef has consequences beyond our borders. According to Boucher's 2012 study, U.S. beef consumption helps drive tropical deforestation, which is now responsible for about 10 percent of the world's carbon emissions. As demand for beef goes up worldwide, so does deforestation.
At what point do mistakes aggregate into something evil? At the very least, do they prevent us from claiming the mantle of good? And, of course, it's not just the mistakes that are problematic but also the deliberate policies that, for instance, align Washington with dictators and other murderous actors.
Recycling used cell phones to combat deforestation is an encouraging development -- hopefully one that will be replicated and scaled up around the world. However, efforts to combat the act of illegal logging must be paired with efforts to curb the demand for illegally harvested timber from importing countries.