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Climate Change on Your Plate

I read that red salmon practically vanished from Alaska this year. They were once abundant, and clockwork-dependable and now, nada. It’s not just the fish. Other species are suffering, whales and manatees and so much declining, becoming extinct from under us.

What’s happening feels so big. Recycling and cutting out plastic straws is a step but not a big one.

If we really want to do something, it’s time to look at the facts about the environment and what we eat.

A haunting article in the Guardian lays out why avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact on the planet. In a nutshell, loss of wild land to agriculture is causing mass extinctions and animal agriculture wastes and pollutes our resources.

Humans are just 0.01% of all living things, but we’ve caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants. Today, 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs.

Are we converting land to agriculture to grow food for the 7.6 billion people on this planet? Nope. It’s mostly to grow food for the animals that are used for meat and dairy.

Without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and we’d still feed the world. Animal farming also pollutes the air and water and requires huge amounts of energy.

Beef is the worst offender though pork and chicken are still far more resource-intensive than plants. Giving up beef will reduce carbon emissions more than eliminating cars.  Calorie for calorie, beef requires 160 times more land and produces 11 times more greenhouse gases than potatoes, says another article.

So, next time you’re bemoaning the state of our environment and want to do something, consider your own plate and vote with your fork.

Wake Up.