Save the planet, become vegan?

I’m not that big a fan of Gore, but this is a fascinating talk, especially one of the comments posted below the video (which deserves a bigger font, so I’m copy-pasting it here):

Andrea Prins – April 15 2008

I can’t understand how Al Gore can be so passionate about advocating immediate and effective action to combat climate change, while completely ignoring what a 400-page U.N. report (published in 2006) has determined to have the single greatest impact on curtailing the current crisis: adopting a vegan diet!

The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change, air pollution, water shortage and pollution and loss of biodiversity. Livestock’s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale. Growing all the crops to feed farmed animals requires massive amounts of water and land. In fact, nearly half of the water and 80% of the agricultural land in the U.S. are used to raise animals for food. Our taste for meat is also taking a toll on our supply of fuel and other nonrenewable resources: about one-third of the raw materials used in America each year is consumed by the farmed animal industry.

Farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population of the U.S. and is up to 80 times more toxic than human waste. Since factory farms don’t have sewage treatment systems as our cities and towns do, this concentrated slop ends up polluting our water, destroying our topsoil, and contaminating our air. There are no federal guidelines that regulate how factory farms treat, store, and dispose of the trillions of pounds of concentrated, untreated animal excrement that they produce each year. This waste may be left to rot in huge lagoons or sprayed over crop fields. Both of these disposal methods result in run-off that contaminates the soil and water and kills fish and other wildlife. The concentration of parasites, bacteria, and chemical contaminates in animal excrement can wreak havoc on the ecosystems affected by farm run-off, and there are countless reports that humans who live near these farms have suffered from the pollution.

Many leading environmental organizations, including the National Audubon Society, the WorldWatch Institute, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, have recognized that raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else that we do. In fact, the animal industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined! Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide together cause the vast majority of global warming. Raising animals for food is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide emissions.

It should also be added that hundreds of millions of acres of forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals. And all around the world, overgrazing by livestock leads to the extinction of indigenous plant and animal species, soil erosion, and eventual desertification that renders once-fertile land barren. Livestock grazing is the number one cause of threatened and extinct species both in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. And the commercial fishing industry is pushing entire oceanic ecosystems to the brink of collapse.

My last point concerns the gross inefficiency of feeding grain to animals, then harvesting their meat or products (milk, eggs). This is why more than 70 percent of the grain and cereals grown in the U.S. are fed to farmed animals. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of meat, and even fish on fish farms must be fed 5 pounds of wild-caught fish to produce one pound of farmed fish flesh. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people! About 20 percent of the world’s population, or 1.4 billion people, could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone.

These are only a few highlights of the devastation caused by the animal industry. If Al Gore practiced what he preached, he would have switched to veganism (which, not to mention, is a much much healthier alternative). I’m extremely disappointed that he hasn’t brought this issue to bear in any of the thousands of speeches he has made in an effort to reverse the potentially catastrophic effects of our continued lifestyle. Promoting the switch to a vegan diet: now THAT would constitute new thinking on the climate crisis!

Ik zeg trouwens al heel lang:
Mensen, jullie eten teveel! En zonder te weten waar het vandaan komt, zonder te weten waar je lijf het laat, en vaak zelfs zonder het echt te proeven. Dan niet raar opkijken dat je (te) dik en ziek wordt.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Sanne NT

    …sprak Julius zwaaiend met een vingertje en met drie koekjes in zijn andere hand… 🙂

    Maar ik ben het natuurlijk wel helemaal met je eens!

    En oja, check out: (documentaires + discussie) dat vind je misschien ook wel interessant, aanstaande dinsdag “Ruled by Secrecy” en 27 mei “End of Oil”. (dit is georganiseerd door vrienden van mij en ik doe ‘de bewaking’ a.s. di in niet-serieus-te-nemen-duits-leger-outfit)

Leave a Reply