My take: Most soy grown today is animal feed. By eating the soy directly, you’re actually consuming less farmland than if you ate a cow that was fed soy. So, this is a shame, but Soylent is part of the solution, not part of the problem.
(This is an off the cuff opinion. I’m willing to admit that I may be wrong on some counts here.)
I am as troubled by deforestation as the next person here in the Soylent forums. Soybeans are in high demand for their protein content and Brazilian farmers are just responding to this demand. Where is this demand coming from? I think Soylent cannot be blamed for its very small part in driving that demand; it is mainly based on animal feed needs throughout Europe and Asia. I can’t imagine that the USA imports any soybeans, we are a big exporter of soybeans. Most of those exports used to go to China but since this latest tariff war, China has switched to Brazilian soybeans. Something to keep in mind is that genetically engineered soybeans generally allow for more benign agricultural practices like no-till conservation farming and have higher yields than non-genetically engineered soybeans. Therefore, the deforestation would be even worse were the Brazilians not using genetically engineered soybeans. I notice so-called soy milk producers in my grocery store have all jumped on the anti-GMO bandwagon for marketing purposes. Relying solely on organic soybeans would be disastrous for deforestation.