As environmentalists and people committed to healing the earth, what do we see when we look at our plates at mealtime? How do we measure the environmental impact of the food we eat? Since eating is something we do at least three times every day, wouldn’t it be lovely if we could make a big difference for the earth simply by choosing foods that cause the least possible harm to our planet? Consider these findings.
1. World Bank researchers reported in a 2009, Worldwatch Institute Magazine, that livestock and their byproducts create 51% of the annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
2. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released their report Livestock’s Long Shadow showing that 70% of the Amazon rainforests have been cut down for grazing and one third of our planet’s agricultural land is dedicated to raising animal feed.
3. Christopher Weber and Scott Matthews wrote in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, that adopting a vegan diet (no meat, dairy, or eggs) is equivalent to driving 8,000 miles less per year, while switching to a local diet that includes meat and dairy would save only 1,000 miles per year.
4. “…the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future—deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communitites, and the spread of disease.” Worldwatch Institute Magazine.
5. According to Kathy Freston, New York Times bestselling author, if everyone in the U.S. went vegan for only one day, it would save in that one day: 100 billion gallons of water; 1.5 billion pounds of crops grown for livestock, 70 million gallons of gasoline; 3 million acres of land, and 33 tons of antibiotics. It would also prevent: the emissions of 1.2 million tons of CO2; 3 million tons of soil erosion; the release of 4.5 million tons of animal excrement and of nearly 7 tons of ammonia. She reported these findings in her recent Huffington Post article, “The Breathtaking Effects of Cutting Back on Meat.” Her statistics, were calculated, she stated, “ from scientific reports by Noam Mohr, a physicist with the New York University Polytechnic Institute.”
Today, as never before, we are all being called to do what we can for the planet. Urgently, we are facing one of the most devastating environmental disasters in our unrelenting history of human mismanagement of our planetary home—the near apocalyptic BP Gulf Oil geyser. So many of us have felt a sense of helplessness while watching the oil and BP’s chemicals take their toll on so many lives. It may seem too simple to be true, but there is a lot we can do to help prevent more oil drilling and usage by immediately reducing our own personal need for oil. How? A meat based meal, according to a 2008 New York Times article entitled “Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler” by Mark Bittman, requires 16 times more fossil fuel than a plant based meal. We cannot and must not ignore the connection between animal food and oil any longer. This BP disaster can be our wake-up call to stop, look at our own individual footprints, and find a way to end our reckless race toward total environmental breakdown.
The Guardian newspaper recently published an article entitled “UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet.” In it we find this powerful statement: “A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger…and the worst impacts of climate change.”
Going vegan is the single most important thing any of us can do for the planet, and it is something every one of us can do. Easily. Right away. No extra time. No extra money. A simple change with consequences so vast and far reaching, we just might be able to turn this ship around in time. What is so amazing about making the switch to veganism is that, although it might seem like a sacrifice at first, it soon becomes a joyous new way of life full of delicious food, better health, more energy, and the great feeling that we are saving the lives of animals and doing something big for the earth three times every single day for the rest of our lives.
Peace to you and to all beings, Judy
Animal Liberation is Human Liberation
Welcome to Peace to All Beings. Until we liberate animals from human exploitation and violence, we cannot expect to have true freedom and peace for ourselves. We human beings can awaken to our higher consciousness and embrace a new paradigm of living in harmony, rather than in fear and domination. We can become "Homo Ahimsa," my term for a new nonviolent and kind human, but we must make that choice together. There is hope for our species--hope that we will not continue this war against animals and the earth. Together let us co-create a new culture and heal the wounds humanity has caused to the earth, to each other, and to the animals who share this world with us.