Meat, To Eat Or Not To Eat
Patrick Hogan, NASA Earth Scientist Emeritus
and Greta Thunberg supporter
To eat or not to eat, that is the question, whether ‘tis nobler, in the mind, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune [Shakespeare’s Hamlet ‘To be or not to be‘ ]. . .or to consume animal flesh willy-nilly without considering the repercussions for sustainable life on Earth.
We could be as smart as Albert Einstein, who said in a personal letter of December 1930 “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” That’s Einstein for you, doing some very quantum thinking deep into time. Even Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man, is considered to have been a vegetarian. And the good news is this choice can be quite healthy as well as tasty, while also diminishing some very cruel conditions for a peaceful creature. Not to mention sparing life on Earth for half its debt in greenhouse gas emissions.
Livestock raising activity alone is responsible for 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases! This is more than all transportation combined, and only second to energy production. Add another 13% for livestock transportation, and on sum, including the carbon-cost for their feed, livestock and related activities account for 51% of all greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide, that’s around 32 billion tons (scientists refer to as gigatons [gt]) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year.
USA citizens actually pay dearly to encourage this enormously destructive behavior! USA federal tax dollars subsidize the US meat-and-dairy industries to the tune of $38 billion dollars every single year! That’s not for small farmers, that’s thirty-eight billion for big agri-business and their shareholders. And where does most of that meat go? Burgers! Our penchant for burgers is getting us deeper into unsustainable carbon debt.
Americans alone eat well over 10 billion burgers annually. Reducing that by even just 1/3rd is equivalent to taking a few million cars off the road (World Resources Institute).
In contrast our flowering fruits and venerable vegetables get a paltry $17million in subsidies, an anemic 0.04% of the meat-subsidy number.
Adding insult to injury, Earth’s major oxygen supply and carbon sequestration resource, rain forests, are being clear-cut, essentially for burgers, with 1-2 acres cleared every second. And if destroying our oxygen supply were not enough of a concern, please consider the horrific treatment of these gentle creatures, especially in the ‘fattening’ months prior to their violent slaughter, a horror far too disturbing to discuss here. And deforestation’s un-sequestration of that carbon further burdens our world’s greenhouse gas emissions by another 15%.
Rain Forest Deforestation Mostly for Burgers
Some approximate food value numbers:
The hard truth, from http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/
- 5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes. 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture.
- Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today.
- Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, due to nitrogen-flooded ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction. Combined with the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers used in the production of feed crops. [Our oceans are suffocating.]
- Nearly half of the contiguous US is devoted to animal agriculture.
- Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US (leading to nitrogen-instigated ocean dead zones).
- More than 6 million animals are killed for food every hour.
- 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, that are then eaten by western countries. [World Hunger Food-Choice Connection]
The positive health benefits to a meat-minimized diet are astounding!
Plenty of research confirming the wonders thereof,
including by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
- Prevent Cancer!
- Prevent Heart Disease!
- Lower Blood Pressure!
- Prevent and Reverse Diabetes!
- Reduce Gallstones, Kidney Stones, and Osteoporosis!
- Lower Asthma Severity and Frequency!
- Improve mood and lower stress! [Romaine calm. . .eat veggies to your heart’s content!]
Eating meatless is delicious!
- One Meal a Day
- The Best Vegetarian Diet Plan
- Meatless Recipes that Carnivores Will Love
- So Satisfying You’ll Want to Go Meatless Forever
- The Bizarre Economics of Meat and Dairy
- Five ways the meat on your plate is killing the planet
- Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth
- How Does Meat in the Diet Take an Environmental Toll?
- Studies Show Link Between Red Meat and Climate Change
- Meat and the Environment
- Farm Animal Welfare: Cows
- Are cows the cause of global warming?