Climate Change and Our Food Choices - Connecting the Dots
Al Gore's second documentary on climate change, An Inconvenient Sequel --Truth to Power, was recently released nationally. While reviews have been generally quite positive, some assessments have criticized Gore, a vegan himself, for omitting the impact that commercial animal agriculture has on the climate—i.e., a strong, negative contribution to our warming planet.
This film asserts that rather than looking for government to take care of the problem, a deeper answer lies in a growing grassroots movement to slow the damage. And what can be more basic and grassroots than our food choices? Shifting from meat as the core of our meals to a predominantly plant-based diet is one cure for climate destabilization, and a powerful one.
Here are just a few (among many) compelling reasons to make the switch:
● 9 billion animals are killed for their meat, eggs and milk every year in the U.S.
● 2 acres of rainforest are cleared every minute for cattle or feed crops
● Meat production accounts for 1/3 of all pesticide use
● Animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide) than the entire transportation sector
● Animal agriculture requires 2 to 15 times more feed than the meat produced
● Decreasing global meat production by 50% could feed 2 billion starving people
Additionally, eating animals subjects them to stress and cruelty at every stage of their lives, seriously damages the environment and ultimately our own lives thru negative health impacts (heart disease, cancers, diabetes), and at a deeper level through the spiritual repercussions of participating in the commodification of other sentient beings. By adopting a plant-based diet, we can begin to repair this damage on all fronts, and simultaneously set a standard for others to follow--a healthful and peace promoting grassroots movement Al Gore would be proud of.
Gore has said many times that at its core, climate change is a moral issue. The use and abuse of farmed animals is a glaring example of this. Alice Walker (award-winning author and activist), has captured this sentiment beautifully in these words, "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white or women were created for men."