Title

Great Article: Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time

Summary

This is a great article about many of the challenges facing our species and world, and how a poor choice of diet is the biggest cause of these problems.

Below are selected quotes from the article, along with a copy of the footnotes. You should read the entire article. Note that the article is on three pages.

We have only a few years left, at best, to make radical changes to save ourselves from ecological meltdown. A person who is vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain, and one sentient animal’s life (13) every day. We do not, given what lies ahead of us, have any other option.

Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all worldwide transportation combined—cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes. (3) Livestock and their waste and flatulence account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. (4) Livestock causes 65 percent of all emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. (5) Crops grown for livestock feed consume 56 percent of the water used in the United States. (6) Eighty percent of the world’s soy crop is fed to animals, and most of this soy is grown on cleared lands that were once rain forests. All this is taking place as an estimated 6 million children across the planet die each year from starvation and as hunger and malnutrition affect an additional 1 billion people. (7) In the United States 70 percent of the grain we grow goes to feed livestock raised for consumption. (8)

The natural resources used to produce even minimal amounts of animal products are staggering—1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk. (9) Add to this the massive clear cutting and other destruction of forests, especially in the Amazon—where forest destruction has risen to 91 percent (10)—and we find ourselves lethally despoiling the lungs of the earth largely for the benefit of the animal agriculture industry. Our forests, especially our rain forests, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and exchange it for oxygen: Killing the forests is a death sentence for the planet. Land devoted exclusively to raising livestock now represents 45 percent of the earth’s land mass. (11)

We have only a few years left, at best, to make radical changes to save ourselves from ecological meltdown. A person who is vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain, and one sentient animal’s life (13) every day. We do not, given what lies ahead of us, have any other option.

“The world’s climate scientists tell us that the highest safe level of emission is around 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” he says. “We are already at 400. They tell us that the safest we could hope to do without having perilous implications as far as drought, famine, human conflict and major species extinction would be about a 2 degree Celsius increase in temperature. We are rapidly approaching that and with all the built-in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere we are going to easily exceed that. On our watch we are facing the next major extinction of species on the earth that we have not seen since the time of the dinosaurs disappearing. When whole countries go under water because of sea level rise, when whole countries find that there is so much drought they can’t feed their populations and as a result they need to desperately migrate to another country or invade another country, we are going to have climate wars in the future.”

If that wasn't bad enough, the animal agriculture industry is very powerful, and heavily integrated into the fabric of western civilization. The movie Speciesism stated, rightly, that animal agriculture is the cause of the largest, longest, and most engulfing holocaust ever.

The animal agriculture industry has used the excuse of national security, public safety, trade agreements and the need for business secrets to pass what are known as ag-gag laws in about a dozen states and, on the federal level, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, all enhanced with anti-terrorism laws to criminalize anyone who investigates or challenges the industry. It is illegal under the Patriot Act to issue statements or carry out actions that harm the profits of the animal agriculture industry. Radical change, as with every challenge to the power of our corporate state, will have to be built outside the structures of power, including the leading environmental groups, which have refused to confront the livestock industry.

“Most people in this country are aware of the influence of money and industry on politics. We really see that clearly on display with this industry in particular. Most people would be shocked to learn that animal rights and environmental activists are the No. 1 domestic terrorism threat according to the FBI. … They, more than any other social movements today, are directly threatening corporate profits.”

Footnotes:

1. “Water Footprint Assessment.” University of Twente, the Netherlands.
2. “What’s the Problem?” United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2006.
3. Ibid.
4. Goodland, R; Anhang, J. “Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change were pigs, chickens and cows?” WorldWatch, November/December 2009. Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C., USA. Pp. 10-19.
5. “Lifestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2006.
6. Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In “Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-Based Diet Could Save Your Health and the Environment.” Washington, D.C.: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.
7. Oppenlander, Richard A. “Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet.” New York City: Beaufort Books, 2012.
8. Ibid.
9. “Water Trivia Facts.” United States Environmental Protection Agency.
10. Oppenlander, Richard A. “Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work.” Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street, 2013. Margulis, Sergio. Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Rainforest. Washington: World Bank Publications, 2003.
11. Thornton, Phillip, Mario Herrero, and Polly Ericksen. “Livestock and Climate Change.” Livestock Exchange, No. 3 (2011).
12. Pimental, D., Pimental, M. “Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, 660s-663S, September 2003.
13. “Water Footprint Assessment.” University of Twente, the Netherlands.

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Created date

Tue, 2015/07/21 - 11:48am