Guest Post by my awesome friend Andrea…..
“Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet.” The Guardian, May31, 2018
“…we cannot save the planet unless we significantly reduce our consumption of animal products.” Jonathan Foer, We are the weather: Saving the planet begins at breakfast.
Of all possible New Year’s Resolutions for 2020, one matters most:
Save Our Beloved Planet
Our beautiful mother earth, as we know her, is dying. She’s the giver of life to all organisms, providing clean, clear water to drink, fresh air to breathe, food to eat, and means for shelter. Yet, every single day, rather than protecting our mother and her exquisite creatures, we humans destroy her. We continue to emit heat-trapping greenhouse gases into her atmosphere despite knowing that their warming effect is causing irreversible damage, including melting the polar ice caps, causing extreme weather events, and acidifying our mother’s oceans. We also obliterate her forests; tear up her lands; toxify and deplete her rivers, waterways, lakes and underground aquifers; pollute her air; stuff garbage into her lands and oceans; and brutalize and murder her innocent mammals, birds, fish and other aquatic life, reptiles, amphibians, bees, butterflies and other insects, and the bazillions of extraordinary microorganisms living in her soils growing our food and keeping every single organism on this planet alive. Our mother does nothing but give and give and give. Yet we humans do nothing but take and destroy and brutalize. But when the mother of all living beings dies, ALL LIVING BEINGS DIE.
The facts speak for themselves, and I’ve highlighted a handful at the end of this blog post.
So what can WE as Earthlings – brothers and sisters on this planet – do to halt the devastation and save our glorious planet?
There Is Only One Way…
The ONLY WAY we can save our glorious planet in the near-term is by dramatically reducing our global consumption of meat, dairy, eggs and fish and moving toward more plant-based diets. We don’t have to completely eliminate animal foods, but cutting them by a minimum of 40-50% would have a massively positive impact on the earth. And we need to start IMMEDIATELY, like …TODAY.
Animal agriculture – meaning raising animals to make food out of their flesh and out of what they produce (milk and eggs) – and commercial fishing are the most environmentally destructive forces on the planet. Animal agriculture is one of, if not THE, largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) when all inputs to the industry are considered, including fertilizers used on feed crops, soil degradation, and deforestation of the Amazon to graze more cattle or grow cattle feed. Animal agriculture is also a leading cause of ocean dead zones, water pollution, global acidification, loss of wildlife habitat, loss of biodiversity, eutrophication and savage cruelty to innocent animals. And commercial fishing is leading to the collapse of fisheries in our oceans. Distinguished researchers around the globe agree that the world needs to transition away from animal agriculture and toward growing and consuming more plants to address the environmental crisis.
You may have expected me to write that the solution to the environmental crisis was buying an electric vehicle, installing solar panels on your house, or electing to cover part of your electricity needs with renewable energy like wind or solar, because this is what the government and many large environmental entities like Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project are telling you. But while these steps are unquestionably a step in the right direction, none of them will save the planet in the near-term. And if we don’t dramatically cut down on animals products, our planet will still be doomed no matter what we do.
Why are government and environmental groups omitting this urgent and unequivocal message? I can only speculate, but my guess is that they’re afraid to alienate the public, afraid to face a challenge from the meat, dairy and commercial fishing industries, or perhaps, the individuals themselves behind these entities are not ready or willing to change what they eat to save the planet.
Coming Together As One
What this means is that the job of saving our beautiful earth is up to us facing reality right now and COMING TOGETHER AS ONE HUMAN RACE to do what needs to be done. Please spread this message and take the 2020 New Year’s Resolution to cut down on meat, dairy, eggs and fish by at least 50% (or eliminate your consumption altogether) to Save Our Beloved Planet – a place we all call home. Her fate, which is our fate, is in our hands.
What Does The Research Say?
Estimates of animal agriculture’s overall contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions range from about 15% to 51%. Whichever estimate you choose to believe, “…animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change or the leading cause of climate change…We know for sure that we cannot address climate change without addressing animal agriculture.” Jonathan Foer, We are the weather: Saving the planet begins at breakfast.
According to Joseph Poore, University of Oxford and lead researcher of a study published in Science in February 2018, as quoted in The Guardian, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use… It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”
Poore continued, “Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems…Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”
The World Economic Forum in August 2019 summarized the recent monumental report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in this way, “Global meat consumption must fall to curb global warming, reduce growing strains on land and water and improve food security, health and biodiversity, a United Nations report on the effects of climate change concluded. Although the report stopped short of explicitly advocating going meat free, it called for big changes to farming and eating habits to limit the impact of population growth and changing consumption patterns on stretched land and water resources.”
According to the World Resources Institute, “Closing the land and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation gaps [i.e. the difference between the projected annual GHG emissions from agriculture and land use change in 2050 and the target emissions that would hold global warming to a less damaging level] requires that, by 2050, the 20% of the world’s population who would otherwise be high ruminant-meat [i.e. cattle, sheep and goats] consumers reduce their average consumption by 40 percent relative to their consumption in 2010.”
3 Realistic Strategies To Start TODAY
Below are three realistic strategies for making the transition to eating more plants and fewer animal products, each strategy offering a different degree of commitment to change:
1. One Meal a Day (thank you Suzy Cameron) – make just one meal a day completely plant-based (think: black bean and veggie burrito instead of a beef and cheese burrito).
2. Only plants before dinner (thank you Jonathan Foer) – Breakfast and lunch are 100% whole food plant-based and only dinner contains animal products.
3. 100% whole food plant-based – Transition to eating only plants and completely eliminating foods made from animals (try PCRMs free 21-day vegan kickstart).
You could also try going vegan in January with the Veganuary organizations. More resources on this blog:
Plants Win For Health!
It may be surprising to read that the very best thing that each of us can do right now to save the planet is as simple as changing what we put on our plates. But it’s true. And not only is it true, eating fewer animal products and more plants also happens to be the very best way to dramatically improve our health. Plant-based diets not only significantly decrease our risk for chronic diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, many cancers, and even Alzheimers, but they also often halt chronic disease progression and in many cases, even reverse certain chronic diseases (like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease).
Talk about a no-brainer, replacing animals with plants is a win, win, win, win: win for the planet, win for human health, win for animals, and win for the global economy since significantly lower rates of chronic disease will mean dramatic decreases in global health care spending.
ARE YOU IN??
Enough said. Are you IN? I’m IN! Let’s do this!
Please share this resolution with everyone in your life – spouse, kids, parents, friends, teachers, colleagues, social media following, dog, cat…Everyone! And let’s save this glorious, life-giving, nurturing planet we ALL call home, together.
#NewYearsResolution, #2020SaveThePlanet: I’m replacing my consumption of meat, dairy, eggs and fish with plants (vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds) to save our beloved mother earth. I may #GoVegan – Will you join me?
More Research and Facts:
“The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.4 Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010…There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response…current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.” NASA Global Climate Change Website
“The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950.” NASA Global Climate Change Website
“Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans.” NASA Global Climate Change Website
“The planet appears to be undergoing a mass extinction: the sixth time in the history of life on Earth that global fauna has experienced a major collapse in numbers…Historically, mass extinctions have been caused by catastrophic events like asteroid collisions. This time, human activities — including deforestation, mining, and carbon dioxide-emissions — are to blame.” Business Insider, June 18, 2019, “18 signs we’re in the middle of a 6th mass extinction”, based on several recent studies.
“Frogs and insects are dying off at record rates, animal species are experiencing a “biological annihilation,” and invasive aliens are driving native species out. Business Insider, June 18, 2019, “18 signs we’re in the middle of a 6th mass extinction”, based on several recent studies.
“1,000,000 species threatened with extinction…Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely.” Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), May 2019, “
“…300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters, and fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean ‘dead zones’, totalling more than 245,000 km2 (591-595) – a combined area greater than that of the United Kingdom.” IPBES, May 2019
“…3,769 square miles of [Amazon] rainforest were lost to deforestation in a 12-month period ending in July. That marks the highest rate of deforestation since 2008.” NPR, November 2019, quoting statistics from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research
“Fish stocks all over the world are on the verge of collapse due to the twin effects of climate change and overfishing, and scientists warn this could lead to widespread malnutrition throughout poorer countries in tropical climates.” The New Humanitarian, September 2016, citing a 2016 report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
“Our three special reports… indicated that the impacts of current warming are much more severe than previously understood… The three special reports reconfirm the urgent need for immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions…These reports have had an extraordinary resonance…highlighting the importance of an ‘all of society’ response.” Statement by IPCC Chair, December 2019
Did you know that 41% of US land is used for livestock production?