1. DEFORESTATION ADDS MORE CO2 TO THE ATMOSPHERE THAN ALL THE WORLD’S CARS, BUSES, TRUCKS, PLANES, TRAINS, AND SHIPS COMBINED. Deforestation contributes 18% of global GHGs (greenhouse gases); all the world’s vehicles, aka the transportation sector, emit 13% of global GHGs.
READ MORE “Cowspiracy” FACTS: http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts
• READ MORE facts: http://www.new-harvest.org
• READ United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization’s article:
“Tackling Climate Change through Livestock [reduction]“
3. ANIMAL AGRICULTURE EMITS MORE GREENHOUSE GASES THAN ALL THE WORLD’S CARS, BUSES, TRUCKS, PLANES, TRAINS, AND SHIPS COMBINED. Industrial animal agriculture — the raising of literally billions of animals every year for people to eat — is an environmentally devastating business, polluting land, air, rivers and oceans.
THE 3 FACTS ABOVE ARE HARD TO BELIEVE — BUT THEY’RE TRUE. Partly this is because animal production creates so much of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide that are, respectively, roughly 20-100 and 300 times more destructive to the atmosphere than carbon (CO2) emissions from cars, trucks, buses, planes, etc. (what’s known as, “the transportation sector”). Partly this is because feeding huge amounts of grain to cattle and pigs rather than directly to people is INCREDIBLY inefficient and wasteful of plant food, water and land (that is deforested to raise cattle and all the corn and soy they eat, rather than have humans eat plants directly).
CALL YOURSELF AN ENVIRONMENTALIST? WATCH SHORT (35 min.) VIDEO on the huge grassroots movement toward a plant-based diet to save our forests and oceans from more degradation, reduce animal abuse, and improve human health:
If you consider yourself an environmentalist or a nature, tree, or animal lover, you owe it to yourself to see a 2014 documentary film, “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” which focuses on the environmental effects of eating meat. It’s not one of those hard-to-watch films documenting the brutality of industrialized animal production, although those films have tremendous value too. It will enable you to look in the mirror and reconcile your environmental desires with your assumptions, actions, habits and societal conditioning we all receive.
You may know SOME of the facts presented in “Cowspiracy,” but likely NOT see The Big Picture. That’s partly because it’s a cultural paradigm shift to see it, let alone accept it. For most people, there is a semi-conscious resistance to learning ugly or painful truths, which point us toward considering breaking lifelong habits.
Don’t take my word for all this. Because the implications are so staggering, I don’t expect you to. I wouldn’t take yours. But this is all easily verifiable. These revelations with their profound implications are now trickling into mainstream media via news, governmental and institutional reports.
One example is a thorough article by Matthew Scully in the December 19, 2016 National Review:
Today, the majority of large animals on planet earth are domesticated farm animals that live and die as cogs in the wheels of industrial agriculture. . . . The disappearance of wildlife is a calamity of unprecedented magnitude, but the plight of the planet’s majority population — the farm animals — is cause for equal concern. In recent years, there is growing awareness of the conditions under which these animals live and die, and their fate may well turn out to be the greatest crime in human history. If you measure crimes by the sheer amount of pain and misery they inflict on sentient beings, this radical claim is not implausible. FULL ARTICLE: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443161/animal-welfare-standards-animal-cruelty-abolition-morality-factory-farming-animal-use-industries
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to change is simply our own cultural and societal inertia to break our lifelong, generations-old habits of what we eat. But we must change. If we don’t, nature will force us to change anyway — with heat waves, droughts, floods and storms — in a much more dramatic, painful way.
1) Scientific American (introductory) article: “How Meat Contributes to Global Warming”: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-greenhouse-hamburger
2) Eating less meat would save millions of lives, billions of dollars — and reduce 29-70% of global greenhouse gases: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/21/the-incredible-planetary-consequences-of-a-vegetarian-diet
3) United Nations Environment Program GEAS (Global Environmental Alert Service) PDF: http://www.unep.org/pdf/unep-geas_oct_2012.pdf
4) United Nations News Centre: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772#.VI-qCtZbxE0
5) Dec. 2014 Chatham House research paper: http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/field/field_document/20141203LivestockClimateChangeBaileyFroggattWellesley.pdf?dm_i=1TY5,30JL0,BHZILT,AUGSP,1
6) Worldwatch Institute report (w. link to full PDF document): http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6294
8) Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of The United Nations (2006) report, since revised a few % points: http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm
9) Eating meat causes cancer. A 2015 World Health Organization (WHO’s IARC) October 2015 study classified Processed Meat as “carcinogenic to humans,” and Red Meat as “probably carcinogenic.” READ THE PRESS RELEASE
This world of information about the devastating environmental effects — and also the nationwide health effects — of our industrialized meat industry was a huge shock to me, and embarrassing because I’m a forest advocate and environmentalist who should (and could) have known it years ago. The information is, the facts are, astonishing and upsetting when the veil of societal secrecy (and willful avoidance) is pulled back. You can’t un-know it once you do; you can only push it away, bury it in your subconscious where it will quietly eat away at you. Like cancer.
“Transporation sector” — trains, planes, automobiles, etc. — emissions matter very much of course, as do emissions from filthy coal plants and fracking operations and nuclear power plant spent fuel — accidents aside. But only after five decades of eating animals and animal products daily did I fully grok the PETA (People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals) flyer I rollerskated over years ago, its headline, “Think you can be a meat-eating environmentalist? Think again.” Meaning: Eating animals — or NOT eating animals — is essential to cleaning up our collective environmental mess, more than what we drive and how our nation produces energy.
There is also GOOD NEWS in all this, friends. If you live beyond the reach of mass transit (as I do), can’t afford a Tesla or Nissan Leaf electric car, or even a Prius, and your dwelling doesn’t get enough sun to justify solar panels, you CAN do something with arguably even greater impact — watch what you eat. Learn that what you buy and literally consume, thus encouraging production of, matters immensely. Especially since we are social creatures and our behavior and thinking and choices affect others. Could you have imagined 25 years ago how much the culture of cigarette smoking would change in this country?
And you don’t have to give up eating all meat forever. Just begin your continuing education (it’s what I’m doing) and eat less of it, and the smaller the animal the better. I grew up eating meat 2-3 times daily, and was brainwashed, like everyone else in America, to think meat’s healthy and the best (really, only) way to get enough protein in my diet. Simply, truthfully, that’s a meat industry lie. One of many. In fact, for most Americans, or anyone eating a meat-laden American (and fast food) diet, if you don’t get enough exercise, eating less meat will likely improve your health.
Being an ex adman (copywriter), I’m especially rankled to learn we’ve all been fed a steady diet of misinformation. One of a dozen examples, and this from my childhood: a color poster in P.S. 116, my NYC grade school cafeteria, showing 3 tall, yummy glasses of milk. The poster explained cow’s milk is a great way for us young non-bovines to get Vitamin D and calcium. (There are lower fat, less processed plant foods that do this more efficiently and effectively.)
• over 800 gallons of water are used produce 1 gallon of cow’s milk (raising/watering the cow, processing, bottling)
• over 600 gallons of water to produce 1 (1/3-lb.) hamburger
• over 80% of Amazon rainforest destruction is to clear land for raising cattle, and growing GMO crops that feed them
This is a huge, behavior challenging topic; a big, brutal can of worms.
What to do about it? How to start? If like me, you enjoy digesting documentary films, try these, and in this order:
3) “Food, Inc.” – great primer featuring Michael Pollan (author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”) on the unhealthiness of modern processed foods which have quietly crept into, and taken over, the American supermarket — and gourmet markets too. Trailer HERE.
You don’t have to take all this on at once, just get started. You’ll be glad you did, I promise. You’ll become part of the solution, our collective human solution to our collective human-caused problem. Especially if you have children, or if you love wild animals, or if you love domesticated animals, or if you love this planet’s ecosystem and its countless creatures. And even if you don’t, and you’re just focused on what will keep us humans alive, what other reasonable choice do we have?
We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
- Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod
Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk and author of, “A Plea for Animals” discusses the contradiction between our love for dogs and cats, and the brutal treatment of animals raised in factories as food (2.5 min. VIDEO):
• Longer (15 min.) VIDEO of Matthieu Ricard on this same topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDEQY6svpfM
Think dairy is kinder, gentler and less environmentally destructive than cutting up cows for burgers? Erin Janus VIDEO reveals the industry’s hidden ugly truths — in just 5 minutes: