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Vegetarianism - The most effective tool against global warming

(My July 2007 ToledoTalk.com post )

The next time someone starts clamoring about how we need to do this and that to stop global warming, ask the person if he or she is a vegetarian. If the person isn't a vegetarian, then the person is a hypocrite in addition to being ignorant of the information espoused by environmentalists.


How Environmentalists are Overlooking Vegetarianism as the Most Effective Tool Against Climate Change in Our Lifetimes

The strategy with the most impact is vegetarianism. By far the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture. Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2.

The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by going vegetarian (or, strictly speaking, vegan), , , we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.

Also, polls show that concern about global warming is widespread, and environmental activists often feel helpless to do anything about it. Unless they happen to be buying a car or major appliance, most people wanting to make a difference are given little to do aside from writing their legislators and turning off their lights. Reducing or eliminating meat consumption is something concerned citizens can do every day to help the planet.

Moreover, the same factory farms responsible for these methane emissions also use up most of the country’s water supply, and denude most of its wilderness for rangeland and growing feed. Creating rangeland to feed western nations’ growing appetite for meat has been a major source of deforestation and desertification in third world countries. Factory farm waste lagoons are a leading source of water pollution in the U.S. Indeed, because of animal agriculture’s high demand for fossil fuels, the average American diet is far more CO2-polluting than a plant-based one.


Fight Global Warming by Going Vegetarian

Many conscientious people are trying to help reduce global warming by driving more fuel-efficient cars and using energy-saving light bulbs. Although this helps, science shows that going vegetarian is perhaps the most effective way to fight global warming.

In a groundbreaking 2006 report, the United Nations (U.N.) said that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. Senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization official Henning Steinfeld reported that the meat industry is “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.”

The most powerful step that we can take as individuals to avert global warming is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Take the 30-Day Veg Pledge today to start helping the environment every time you eat.

What You Can Do

There is no such thing as a meat-eating environmentalist. The meat, dairy, and egg industries are poisoning and depleting our land, water, and air. Every time we eat animal products, we contribute to ecological devastation and the wasteful misuse of resources on a global scale.


Cut Global Warming by Becoming Vegetarian

Here is a study that hits all kinds of treehugger buttons: British physicist Alan Calvert calculates that animals we eat generate 21% of all the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity. "We could therefore slash man-made emissions of carbon dioxide simply by abolishing all livestock." he continues: "Worldwide reduction of meat production in the pursuit of the targets set in the Kyoto treaty seems to carry fewer political unknowns than cutting our consumption of fossil fuels."


Vegetarian is the New Prius

[T]he United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.

That's right, global warming. You've probably heard the story: emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are changing our climate, and scientists warn of more extreme weather, coastal flooding, spreading disease, and mass extinctions. It seems that when you step outside and wonder what happened to winter, you might want to think about what you had for dinner last night. The U.N. report says almost a fifth of global warming emissions come from livestock (i.e., those chickens Hoover was talking about, plus pigs, cattle, and others)--that's more emissions than from all of the world's transportation combined.

Going veg provides more bang for your buck than driving a Prius. Plus, that bang comes a lot faster. The Prius cuts emissions of carbon dioxide, which spreads its warming effect slowly over a century. A big chunk of the problem with farmed animals, on the other hand, is methane, a gas which cycles out of the atmosphere in just a decade. That means less meat consumption quickly translates into a cooler planet.


Another Inconvenient Truth

Geophysicists Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin, from the University of Chicago, concluded that changing one's eating habits from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a vegetarian or, better yet, vegan diet does more to fight global warming than switching from a gas-guzzling SUV to a fuel-efficient hybrid car. Of course, you can do both - and more! It has been said "that where the environment is concerned, eating meat is like driving a huge SUV.... Eating a vegetarian diet is like driving a mid-sized car [or a "reasonable sedan," according to Eshel], and eating a vegan diet is like riding a bicycle or walking."Shifting away from SUVs and SUV-style diets, to much more energy-efficient alternatives, is key to fighting the scourge of global warming.

Eating animals simultaneously contributes to a multitude of tragedies: the animals' suffering and death; the ill-health and early death of people; the unsustainable overuse of oil, water, land, topsoil, grain, labor, and other vital resources; environmental destruction, including deforestation, species extinction, mono-cropping, and global warming; the legitimacy of force and violence; the mis-allocation of capital, skills, land, and other assets; vast inefficiencies in the economy; tremendous waste; massive inequalities in the world; the continuation of world hunger and mass starvation; the transmission and spread of dangerous diseases; and moral failure in so-called civilized societies. Vegetarianism is an antidote to all of these unnecessary tragedies.


Meat-Eaters Aiding Global Warming?

Cut global warming by becoming vegetarian


Jul 19, 2007 story

Su Taylor, the press officer for the Vegetarian Society, told New Scientist: "Everybody is trying to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints, but one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat."

Japanese scientists used a range of data to calculate the environmental impact of a single purchase of beef. Taking into account all the processes involved, they said, four average sized steaks generated greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 80.25lb of carbon dioxide. This also consumed 169 megajoules of energy.

That means that 2.2lb of beef is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions which have the same effect as the carbon dioxide released by an ordinary car travelling at 50 miles per hour for 155 miles, a journey lasting three hours. The amount of energy consumed would light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days.

Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals' digestive systems, New Scientist magazine reported. But more than two thirds of the energy used goes towards producing and transporting cattle feed, said the study, which was led by Akifumi Ogino from the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan.

Buy local

Jul 24, 2007 Politico story

The politics of global warming got very concrete, and oddly difficult, in a meeting with local environmentalists in the coastal town of McClellanville today, where Elizabeth Edwards raised in passing the importance of relying on locally-grown fruit.

"We've been moving back to 'buy local,'" Mrs. Edwards said, outlining a trade policy that "acknowledges the carbon footprint" of transporting fruit.

"I live in North Carolina. I'll probably never eat a tangerine again," she said, speaking of a time when the fruit is reaches the price that it "needs" to be.

Only eat fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts that are grown in the Lake Erie West region or at least in the Midwest. Do not eat anything grown outside the U.S. or grown in California or Florida because of the fuel used and the pollution created when transporting the produce to the Toledo area.

(Actually, buying local, especially local and organic, means better tasting produce. Try local community supported agriculture.)

April 2014

Climate Report: Cutting Meat Consumption Key to Reducing Emissions
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/04/04/18753573.php

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on March 31 highlights the increasing threat from rising global meat and dairy consumption to limiting global warming, especially as the world population continues to grow. The study says that beef and lamb account for the largest agricultural emissions, relative to the energy they provide. By 2050, estimates indicate, beef and lamb will account for half of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, while only contributing 3 percent of human calorie intake. Cheese and other dairy products will account for about one quarter of total agricultural climate pollution.

“We can’t ignore the devastating impact of meat consumption on our climate and our planet anymore,” said Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which just launched a campaign to reduce meat consumption. “The IPCC report shows that our appetite for meat is not only harming the environment, but is a threat to a livable climate for people and wildlife around the globe. We need to drastically reduce the amount of meat in our diets if we hope to fight climate change and the extinction crisis.”

http://www.ipcc.ch/

#environment - #politics - #health - #food - #energy - #blog_jr

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