Something simple… That everybody can do… That has a great impact We often ask ourselves what we can do about it?
Reduce ones consumption of meat Here is one thing :
To respect life To protect the environment And for the good of our health
From an Ethical Point of View The meat we buy at the supermarket, even if well packed, is not so clean. The chain of suffering that precedes it is hidden to our eyes. All we have to do is to find out and look at some images of what happens in intensive battery farms and slaughterhouses. It is beyond comment. And once you know, meat no longer tastes the same…
Livestock Breeding is one of the Biggest Sources of Pollution on our Planet The livestock breeding industry appears to be one of the two or three principal factors responsible for the most serious environmental problems, at all levels, from local to global. Here are two extracts from a 2005 UNESCO report*: The livestock sector is responsible for a significant share of environmental damage. With these changes, undertaken with an appropriate sense of urgency, the sector can make a very significant contribution to reducing and reversing environmental damage. *Source: FAO ( UN Food and Agriculture Organisation): Livestocks long shadow – Environmental issues and options)
Land and Food Wastage There are now 776 million people, that is 1 in 6, suffering from malnutrition. Livestock all over the world consume enough food to meet the needs of 8.7 billion people. More than one third of global cereal production is used to feed animals and a quarter of global fish production is used for the same purpose. In the United States, 70% of cereal production is used as cattle feed (USDA FAS – 1991). At the moment, livestock breeding takes up 70% of farm land and 30% of the land surface of the earth..
Water Wastage : The lack of drinking water represents a global threat: 40% of the population, in 24 countries, suffers from lack of water, both in terms of quantity and quality. (World Bank) 21,000 litres of water are needed to produce one kilo of meat. 210 litres of water are needed to produce one kilo of cereal. Half of the worlds drinking water is used to produce meat and dairy products. In the United States, 80% of drinking water is used for livestock breeding.
Greenhouse Gases : « The practice of livestock breeding is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than transport, that is all cars and trucks in the entire world*» It is also responsible for 37% of global methane emission, most of which is the result of fermentation of ruminants excrement. For its greenhouse effect, methane pollution is 23 times more than carbon dioxide pollution. *Source: FAO report (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation )
Deforestation Since 1950, more than 200 million hectares of tropical forests have been destroyed, particularly in order to create pastureland or cattle farms In order to produce a hamburger, 6 square metres of virgin forest must be turned into pastureland, thus destroying 75 kg of living matter: Source : Kaimonitz D.-1995. Livestock and Deforestation in Central America - 1995 20 species of plants 100 insects Dozens of species of birds, reptiles and mammals
Water Pollution and Soil Erosion In the United States in 1996, livestock breeding farms produced 4 billion tons of animal waste which created more water pollution than all other industrial sources put together. (US Environment Ministry ). The soil degradation related to overgrazing significantly reduces natural water storage capacity and thus contributes to soil erosion. (Source IRD) This animal waste goes into the watercourses and rivers and pollutes water springs and contributes to the onset of diseases that affect all species.
Becoming a Vegetarian has a Beneficial Effect on Health 90% of heart diseases can be prevented by adopting a vegetarian diet. Animal products are the principal source of saturated fat and the only source of cholesterol in our diet. Vegetarians are 50% less likely to die of cancer than non-vegetarians. Populations that are well known for their longevity, such as the people of Crete or the Japanese from Okinawa, follow a traditional diet with less animal proteins. Because of bio-concentration, meat contains about 14 times more pesticide residue than vegetables.
But can we do without meat and still have a balanced diet? YES * Source : http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/advocacy_933_ENU_HTML.htm It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases*.
The Secrets of Balance: Combine cereals and legumes in the same meal. In this way, the eight essential amino acids are fully present. And by saving money eating less meat or fish we can all eat organic! Have a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables. Vitamin C helps assimilate vegetable iron..
For all these reasons, consuming less animal products is not a loss but a gain from all points of view. Even if it only means halving our consumption of farm bred animal products, and particularly of meat, lets try to do it. In the past, we had no choice. Nowadays, we can buy all kinds of products. We are free to choose what we eat. Eating so much meat is a very recent custom. One hundred years ago, people only used to eat meat on feast days. What would happen if the Chinese and the Indians started to eat meat like Westerners? This simple thing would mean 10% less greenhouse effect.
Today, every single thing that we can do to help the planet is important.
Action on oneself, action on the world His Holiness Dalai Lama Be the change you want to see in the world Mahatma Gandhi
If this slide show has inspired you in any way… Thank you for spreading the word.