Friday, August 1, 2008

Want to Save the World- Stop Eating Meat

Global warming may be the issue that finally melds the environmental and animal rights movements into a powerful, cohesive lobby. Environmentalists for the most part are rarely vegan or even vegetarians. Many are conservationists and hunters. Advocates for the environment are confronted by the "Inconvenient Truth" that meat production causes more harm to the environment than use of cars. The American addiction to a meat based diet may be more difficult to cure than the addiction to gasoline.

I've noticed that when I suggest that someone consider trying a vegan diet for a short time, most people become borderline nasty. I suppose I understand, since I really don't like it when just about everyone I know tries to get me to eat meat. It is time we consciously think about our relationship to food and our planet. To be conscious about this relationship, we need to know the facts. The cover story in this week's Metro Times provides is a good place to start. Jim Motavilli, in Meat of the Matter exposes the truth about the meat industry. Some of the facts presented in the article are frightening:
  • livestock production is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gasses
  • one medium sized feedlot produces 500,000 pounds of manure daily
  • one medium sized feedlot emits greenhouse gases equivalent to 33 million cars
  • grazing occupies 26% of the ice/water free land of the planet
  • grazing is responsible for deforestation of the Amazon
  • raising livestock consumes 90% of the soy, 80% of the corn and 70% of the grain grown in America

The environmental impact of livestock is disastrous and yet, Americans are oblivious to the impact that their food choice has on the planet. Americans have an inkling that their food choice is disastrous for the beings that are their food, but they tend to ignore, evade or just turn away from the facts that animals suffer horribly before they are put on the American table. It is becoming more difficult to avoid the truth, Americans must move from a meat based diet to a plant based diet and quickly. Begin exploring a vegetarian lifestyle, you will be healthier, you children will be healthier and now you know the planet will be healthier. If you hesitate, ask yourself this question - How do I, my children or the planet benefit from a meat based diet?

9 comments:

Sandy said...

I was so surprised to learn about the effects of meat production on the environment. I work for a public health campaign called Meatless Monday. We encourage people to give up meat one day a week to lower their risk of preventable diseases. We know that lowering meat consumption is not only good for your health, but also for the environment. Eating less meat is a great way for people to make a positive change. Take a look at www.meatlessmonday.com for some recipe ideas. We also have an article up about meat and the environment with some great resources for more information at http://www.meatlessmonday.com/dyk_environment

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