The Meat Eating Environmentalist - A Contradiction in Terms?
The Meat Eating Environmentalist A Contradiction in Terms?Press Release - European Vegetarian Union
World Environment Day - 5 June 2007
It takes no more than a moment's thought to realise that in terms of land, water and energy it is far more efficient to live on plant foods than on the dead bodies of animals who themselves had to eat huge quantities of plants to fuel their own growth and activity.
Studies of the health of vegans (no animal products), other vegetarians (milk and eggs only) and meat eaters have also shown beyond doubt that human beings, including children, can be perfectly healthy without animal products.
What is new is the growing recognition that we are pressing the environmental limits of our planet, and the widespread acceptance by authoritative international bodies that a key reason for this is our continuing - on a world scale, still growing - reliance on animals for food.
Global warming is increasingly accepted as the critical challenge for the 21st century and the recent report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), "Livestock's Long Shadow", removes any doubt as to the importance of our food choices to addressing this issue:
"The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale from local to global."
"The livestock sector ... is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport."
Demand for meat and for livestock feed is driving the destruction of forests with accompanying massive release of carbon dioxide. The methane from ruminant animals is the other major livestock impact on greenhouse gases.
Despite the dramatic evidence of the need for change, most organisations remain convinced that livestock will always be with us. While recognising the damaging impact of livestock on the environment, the FAO expects world consumption of milk and meat to double by 2050.
They have seen the problem, and the solution is staring them in the face, yet it seems that the world's leaders just cannot imagine a future without continued dependence on animal products.
However, if we can't both imagine such a future AND take urgent steps to make it a reality we shan't have a future at all. If we make the leap quickly enough we may yet have the luxury of looking back on the blindness of past generations from the standpoint of the only viable future - where a meat-eating environmentalist will seem as absurd a concept as an egalitarian slave owner.
European Vegetarian Union
Source/Quelle: European Vegetarian UnionLink: Business of Green: A vegetarian diet reduces the diner's carbon footprint
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