[opinion from Asheville Citizen-Times]
Thousands of peer-reviewed climate scientists agree that global
warming is a very real threat to our existence, yet the concept is
still being challenged. Wealthy and powerful business interests have
put a stranglehold on meaningful federal legislation that would help
reverse the warming of our planet. In the last presidential election,
the environment was barely mentioned. Local governments have been
taking the lead, resulting in some progressive laws. Industry is
slowly responding to consumer demand by producing hybrid cars, energy
efficient appliances, wind and solar power systems, green building
products, etc. These advances are important, but still fall far short
of the changes needed to reverse the damage that has been done.
Actually, there is something everyone can do which doesn't take any
extra money or an act of Congress, and will significantly effect
climate change. What is ironic is that "environmentalists" steer clear
of the idea and rarely mention it, probably not wanting to make the
change themselves, or appearing too out of the mainstream. I read
about this important environmental action in a London newspaper; it
has been ignored in the United States, even though the research was
What is this human activity that is more important than driving an
eco-friendly car? It's what you put into your mouth. Jonathon Porritt
stated in an article in the Guardian on Jan. 4 that, "Researchers
Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin at the University of Chicago have
calculated the relative carbon intensity of a standard vegan diet in
comparison to a U.S.-style carnivorous diet, all the way through from
production to processing to distribution to cooking and consumption.
An average burger man (that is, not the outsize variety) emits the
equivalent of 1.5 tonnes more CO2 every year than the standard vegan.
By comparison, were you to trade in your conventional gas-guzzler for
a state-of-the-art Prius hybrid, your CO2 savings would amount to
little more than one tonne per year."
Eliminating animal products from your diet significantly helps the
planet, not to mention your health and the animals.
The science is clear. A vegan diet is more effective in reducing CO2
emissions than driving a hybrid car. A vegan diet can also eliminate a
major source of methane, which, according to EarthSave, is
"responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the
planet today." It's time that environmental groups and the government,
at all levels, embrace what is a highly effective strategy for
reducing global warming, advocating a vegan diet.
Most environmental groups can barely spit out the words, "eat lower on
the food chain," but they would better serve the earth if they made
veganism the cornerstone of their global warming campaigns. They
should be shouting about it, but, instead, won't even have the
Adopting a vegan diet is as easy as shopping in a different aisle at
the grocery store or ordering from a different section of the menu
Terri David is an 18-year vegan living in Asheville. She has a B.S. in
psychology from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from
Northwestern University. She can be reached at
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