Friday, April 20, 2007

It's easy eating green

Many people who are disgusted by the world climate crisis do not realize that one of the top contributors to greenhouse gas emissions is connected with their diet. Eating vegan or vegetarian does more to reduce emissions than does driving a fuel-efficient, hybrid car. Unbelievable? Check out the following articles:

Vegetarian is the New Prius

Kathy Freston, in this article dated 18 January 2007, cites the findings of a recent report released by the UN, which points to livestock production as "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." She also reports on the results of research conducted at the University of Chicago, in the following statement:

[Researchers] noted that feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we'd need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels--and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide--as does a calorie of plant protein. The researchers found that, when it's all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.

You can read more about the UN report in the following article on the website of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations:

Livestock a Major Threat to Environment

How about this article by investigative journalist Jeffrey St. Clair, which points to cattle production as a top threat to the health of the Western U.S.'s public lands?

Till the Cows Come Home

The following article, written by Dan Brook, points out that the two gases that comprise 90 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are carbon dioxide and methane--both of which are emitted by large-scale cattle farms at the rate of millions of tons each year. The article also addresses livestock cultivation's role in the destruction of the world's rainforests, which are absolutely crucial to the removal of harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Another Inconvenient Truth: Meat is a Global Warming Issue

There is so much evidence out there that it is difficult to deny, once you begin studying the issue, that the current state of the planet is inextricably linked to the human population's unsustainable diet. Consider the following quotation from the Kathy Freston article:

The United States alone slaughters more than 10 billion land animals every year, all to sustain a meat-ravenous culture that can barely conceive of a time not long ago when "a chicken in every pot" was considered a luxury. Land animals raised for food make up a staggering 20% of the entire land animal biomass of the earth. We are eating our planet to death.

And yet, it is so easy to eat a vegan or vegetarian diet. Sites like Vegan Outreach and are designed to show how simple it can be to eat a healthy, delicious plant-based diet, and how such a lifestyle benefits the quality of life on this planet for so many creatures in so many different ways. There are vegan and vegetarian cooking sites all over the Web--you can even check out my vegan food blog and from there, explore the many vegan cooking resources that it links to.

I could not consider myself an environmentalist and justify eating an animal products-based diet--the global harm caused by animal agriculture is just too evident. Many people would feel the same way, I believe, if only they knew the facts.

This Sunday, 22 April, is Earth Day--and I believe it is one of the most critical Earth Day celebrations in the history of our country, as more people are aware this year than ever before of the dire climate crisis which our world faces. Please, do not ignore the facts surrounding animal agriculture. Take a look at these articles, and if you are still not satisfied, do some more research. If we truly hope to reverse the destruction of our global environment, one of the crucial steps we must take is turning away from animal-based diets and toward a safer, healthier, greener alternative.

1 comment:

KleoPatra said...

Wow. Laura! Great, thoughtful post. I really wish the world could see this, the whole, wide world... i am with you in spirit and in what you write here, total agreement.