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The Meat/Global Warming Connection

8/18/2009

If we want peace on earth, we need to prioritize careful stewardship of our land and atmosphere, in order to mitigate climate change, provide everyone with clean water and air, and feed the maximum number of people. Current agricultural practices, which include the confinement and crowding of billions of livestock animals, take us in the opposite direction. Our societyís taste for meat wastes and destroys resources, threatening our planetís ability to sustain life, both now and in the future. Livestock agriculture contributes more to global warming worldwide than the entire transportation sector.

To educate its readers about the impact of our food choices on the environment, the current issue of Organic Bytes, e-newsletter of The Organic Consumers Association, contains this headline: "Washington Post Reports Meat Eating is 'Huge Contributor' to Climate Change." It continues:

"Last week, the Washington Post summarized a number of recent reports indicating that one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint or greenhouse gas pollution is to reduce your meat consumption. Here are some quick highlights:

-A Carnegie Melon study found that the average American would benefit the planet more by being vegetarian one day per week than by switching to a totally local diet (heck, why not do both?).

-A University of Chicago study found that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading your gas guzzler for a Prius.

-The head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recommended that people give up meat one day a week to take pressure off the atmosphere.

-According to a 2006 United Nations report, livestock accounts for 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions."

Whether you decide to have one meatless day per week, or continue changing your diet until you become vegetarian or vegan, know that whatever amount of meat you can leave off your plate matters. It matters to the planet. It matters to the 10 billion-plus animals killed annually for meat in the U.S. alone. It matters to your health, because the diseases that kill the most Americans--including heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, breast or prostate cancer--are closely linked to a diet high in meat and other animal products. Make your next burger a veggie burger.

The Washington Post article, entitled "The Meat of the Problem is Meat," can be found at http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_18688.cfm

If you care about sustainable food and the health of the planet, consider signing up to receive Organic Bytes (itís free), and supporting the Organic Consumers Association, www.organicconsumers.org.