Our appetites are killing the planet: Blog Action Day 2009 (Climate change)
Category : Uncategorized
It used to be that I would get up in the morning, eat a couple of eggs and have toast with butter, then have a ham sandwich for lunch with cheese and mayo, and then have a hamburger for dinner. All the while wearing some leather shoes and drinking glasses of milk.
I think they call that the standard American diet – but it’s pretty typical of diets across North America (yes, I mean you Canada, where we actually eat more meat per personal than our southern neighbors) as well as the UK and Australia. Maybe better to call it the “standard English-speaking diet”. Sometimes I think it should be called the “Colonial Diet” because we are consuming far more than our share of resources to feed our appetite for a whole lot of crap that’s unhealthy for us and unhealthy for the planet (and sure as hell unhealthy for animals), passing most of those costs on to poorer nations and poorer people.
Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event organized by the fine folks over at Change.org. This year’s topic is climate change.
There are a lot of factors contributing to climate change. Transportation, industrial processes, energy production, and more, but the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is animal agriculture. Huge amounts of grain and soy is grown to feed a whole lot of animals. Animals who produce a whole lot of waste which produces even more greenhouse gasses. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) – an organization that’s purpose is to study food production on a global scale – published a nice big report a couple years back that concluded that animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
There are a lot of other organizations and researchers who have concluded pretty much the same thing, that due to the environmental impacts of meat, egg, and dairy production, our current levels of meat consumption are entirely unsustainable.
The environmental impacts of meat go well beyond greenhouse gas emissions. Animal agriculture is the major cause of Amazon rainforest destruction, pollutes our air and water, destroys habitat for wildlife, and is creating anti-biotic resistant bacteria because farmers feed animals antibiotics all the time so that the animals will survive miserably packed conditions long enough to make it to the slaughterhouse. Not to mention the killing of wolves and other wildlife by ranchers. All in all, the whole system is abusing our planet and us as well (even leaving out all the unsightly slitting of throats, captive bolts, scalding tanks, and ecoli in the burgers…).
Your choices at the table can have an impact. And a greater impact than buying local or driving a Prius. Even greater than riding a bicycle.
We’ve got a lot more information on our page about animal agriculture and the environment.
Read more from my fellow bloggers across the internets:
- Making Hay: Dying over spilt milk
- Change.org Animal Rights blog: Save the Animals, Save the Planet: Blog Action Day ’09, Climate Change
- Vegan Soapbox: Climate Change Blog Action Day
- Invisible Voices: Blog Action Day: Climate Change
- V is for Vegan: Veganism is the solution. (VeganMoFo, meet Blog Action Day!)