[FoRK] Vegetarian > Hybrid

Adam L Beberg <beberg at mithral.com> on Wed Jan 24 22:19:47 PST 2007

No SUV and no beef, the rednecks are gonna start World War III over this 
when they can't compensate for their small...

Much of the source material comes from:

Which comes of course all comes originally from academia:

Only 4 links from where I found it to the source. Not bad these days! I 
strongly suspect the blog-o-sphere is recursive with no source, 
everything is just Google ad wrapper with links to other blogs.



Published on Saturday, January 20, 2007 by the Huffington Post
Vegetarian is the New Prius
by Kathy Freston

President Herbert Hoover promised "a chicken in every pot and a car in 
every garage." With warnings about global warming reaching feverish 
levels, many are having second thoughts about all those cars. It seems 
they should instead be worrying about the chickens.

Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the 
environment with a stunning conclusion: "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." It 
turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land 
degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of 
biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.

That's right, global warming. You've probably heard the story: emissions 
of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are changing our climate, and 
scientists warn of more extreme weather, coastal flooding, spreading 
disease, and mass extinctions. It seems that when you step outside and 
wonder what happened to winter, you might want to think about what you 
had for dinner last night. The U.N. report says almost a fifth of global 
warming emissions come from livestock (i.e., those chickens Hoover was 
talking about, plus pigs, cattle, and others)--that's more emissions 
than from all of the world's transportation combined.

For a decade now, the image of Leonardo DiCaprio cruising in his hybrid 
Toyota Prius has defined the gold standard for environmentalism. These 
gas-sipping vehicles became a veritable symbol of the consumers' power 
to strike a blow against global warming. Just think: a car that could 
cut your vehicle emissions in half - in a country responsible for 25% of 
the world's total greenhouse gas emissions. Federal fuel economy 
standards languished in Congress, and average vehicle mileage dropped to 
its lowest level in decades, but the Prius showed people that another 
way is possible. Toyota could not import the cars fast enough to meet 

Last year researchers at the University of Chicago took the Prius down a 
peg when they turned their attention to another gas guzzling consumer 
purchase. They noted that feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg 
production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we'd need if 
we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant 
foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to 
slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and 
distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of 
meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels--and 
spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide--as 
does a calorie of plant protein. The researchers found that, when it's 
all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming 
emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.

According to the UN report, it gets even worse when we include the vast 
quantities of land needed to give us our steak and pork chops. Animal 
agriculture takes up an incredible 70% of all agricultural land, and 30% 
of the total land surface of the planet. As a result, farmed animals are 
probably the biggest cause of slashing and burning the world's forests. 
Today, 70% of former Amazon rainforest is used for pastureland, and feed 
crops cover much of the remainder. These forests serve as "sinks," 
absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, and burning these forests 
releases all the stored carbon dioxide, quantities that exceed by far 
the fossil fuel emission of animal agriculture.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the real kicker comes when looking at 
gases besides carbon dioxide--gases like methane and nitrous oxide, 
enormously effective greenhouse gases with 23 and 296 times the warming 
power of carbon dioxide, respectively. If carbon dioxide is responsible 
for about one-half of human-related greenhouse gas warming since the 
industrial revolution, methane and nitrous oxide are responsible for 
another one-third. These super-strong gases come primarily from farmed 
animals' digestive processes, and from their manure. In fact, while 
animal agriculture accounts for 9% of our carbon dioxide emissions, it 
emits 37% of our methane, and a whopping 65% of our nitrous oxide.

It's a little hard to take in when thinking of a small chick hatching 
from her fragile egg. How can an animal, so seemingly insignificant 
against the vastness of the earth, give off so much greenhouse gas as to 
change the global climate? The answer is in their sheer numbers. The 
United States alone slaughters more than 10 billion land animals every 
year, all to sustain a meat-ravenous culture that can barely conceive of 
a time not long ago when "a chicken in every pot" was considered a 
luxury. Land animals raised for food make up a staggering 20% of the 
entire land animal biomass of the earth. We are eating our planet to death.

What we're seeing is just the beginning, too. Meat consumption has 
increased five-fold in the past fifty years, and is expected to double 
again in the next fifty.

It sounds like a lot of bad news, but in fact it's quite the opposite. 
It means we have a powerful new weapon to use in addressing the most 
serious environmental crisis ever to face humanity. The Prius was an 
important step forward, but how often are people in the market for a new 
car? Now that we know a greener diet is even more effective than a 
greener car, we can make a difference at every single meal, simply by 
leaving the animals off of our plates. Who would have thought: what's 
good for our health is also good for the health of the planet!

Going veg provides more bang for your buck than driving a Prius. Plus, 
that bang comes a lot faster. The Prius cuts emissions of carbon 
dioxide, which spreads its warming effect slowly over a century. A big 
chunk of the problem with farmed animals, on the other hand, is methane, 
a gas which cycles out of the atmosphere in just a decade. That means 
less meat consumption quickly translates into a cooler planet.

Not just a cooler planet, also a cleaner one. Animal agriculture 
accounts for most of the water consumed in this country, emits 
two-thirds of the world's acid-rain-causing ammonia, and it the world's 
largest source of water pollution--killing entire river and marine 
ecosystems, destroying coral reefs, and of course, making people sick. 
Try to imagine the prodigious volumes of manure churned out by modern 
American farms: 5 million tons a day, more than a hundred times that of 
the human population, and far more than our land can possibly absorb. 
The acres and acres of cesspools stretching over much of our 
countryside, polluting the air and contaminating our water, make the 
Exxon Valdez oil spill look minor in comparison. All of which we can fix 
surprisingly easily, just by putting down our chicken wings and reaching 
for a veggie burger.

Doing so has never been easier. Recent years have seen an explosion of 
environmentally-friendly vegetarian foods. Even chains like Ruby 
Tuesday, Johnny Rockets, and Burger King offer delicious veggie burgers 
and supermarket refrigerators are lined with heart-healthy creamy 
soymilk and tasty veggie deli slices. Vegetarian foods have become 
staples at environmental gatherings, and garnered celebrity advocates 
like Bill Maher, Alec Baldwin, Paul McCartney, and of course Leonardo 
DiCaprio. Just as the Prius showed us that we each have in our hands the 
power to make a difference against a problem that endangers the future 
of humanity, going vegetarian gives us a new way to dramatically reduce 
our dangerous emissions that is even more effective, easier to do, more 
accessible to everyone and certainly goes better with french fries.

Ever-rising temperatures, melting ice caps, spreading tropical diseases, 
stronger hurricanes... So, what are you do doing for dinner tonight? 
Check out www.VegCooking.com for great ideas, free recipes, meal plans, 
and more! Check out the environmental section of www.GoVeg.com for a lot 
more information about the harmful effect of meat-eating on the 

Kathy Freston is a self-help author and personal growth and spirituality 
counselor. She is the author of Expect a Miracle: Seven Spiritual Steps 
to Finding the Right Relationship. Her CDs offering guided meditation 
have been featured in W, Self, and Mode. Kathy and her husband, Tom 
Freston, divide their time between New York and Los Angeles.

Adam L. Beberg

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