Want to Do Your Part to Tackle Climate Change? Go Vegan

by Jason Best is a regular contributor to TakePart who has worked for Gourmet and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Can we eat our way out of climate change? That question has come to the forefront again with the Monday release of yet more research connecting global dietary patterns and global warming. While no one’s arguing diet alone can stop the world from warming, there’s now more evidence that changing the way we eat could have a big impact.

Building on similar groundbreaking studies published during the past couple years, scientists at Oxford University tackled a big question: If the whole world adopted a healthier diet, could that significantly combat global warming.

Even though the agricultural sector accounts for a substantial share of our collective greenhouse gas emissions—almost 15 percent worldwide—it’s long been more or less ignored when it comes to international climate negotiations, including the landmark climate conference in Paris at the end of last year. Yet with the international community finally starting to take serious action to cut emissions from power plants and transportation, the total share of emissions from agriculture is only expected to rise—so much so that experts say it could essentially cancel out the cuts in other sectors.

RELATED:  Are We All Going to Be Vegetarians by 2050?

The biggest culprit? Livestock, particularly cattle. As past research has shown, raising beef generates between nine and 27 times the amount of global warming pollution that producing an equivalent number of calories growing things like beans, nuts, and vegetables does. As just about everyone knows by now, red meat consumption has been linked to a host of health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

In the Oxford study, published in the journal PNAS, researchers peered into the future to 2050 and asked what might happen in four different diet scenarios. In the first, the world keeps eating the way we are now, with a predicted rise in meat consumption. The other three put everyone on a diet, so to speak, each with an increasingly restricted amount of meat, all the way to global veganism.

The upshot? The less meat the world eats, the better it is for our collective health, the health of our climate, and the global economy.

A worldwide shift to a vegetarian diet, for example, was shown to save 7.3 million lives and cut global warming pollution from the agricultural sector by 63 percent. Going vegan saved an estimated 8.1 million lives, cut climate pollution by 70 percent, and saved a whopping $31 trillion between now and 2050.

The study’s authors openly admit that’s not going to happen, but it’s important that the world’s growing penchant for American-style bacon burgers and meat lovers’ pizza become part of the climate debate.

“We do not expect everybody to become vegan,” the study’s lead author, Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Program on the Future of Food, told Reuters. “But climate change impacts of the food system will be hard to tackle and likely require more than just technological changes. Adopting healthier and more environmentally sustainable diets can be a large step in the right direction.”

Quotes on Animal Rights…

http://www.veganoutreach.org/advocacy/quotes.html

The world, we are told, was made especially for man – a presumption not supported by all the facts.… Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation?
—John Muir, naturalist and explorer (1838–1914)

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
—Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher, physician, and musician (Nobel 1952)

Whenever people say “We mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add “We must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money out of it.
—Brigid Brophy (1929–1995)

 

Animal Rights

[I]t is difficult to picture the great Creator conceiving of a program of one creature (which He has made) using another living creature for purposes of experimentation. There must be other, less cruel ways of obtaining knowledge.
—Adlai Stevenson, American statesman (1835–1914)

There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher animals in their mental faculties.… The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.
—Charles Darwin, naturalist and author (1809–1882)

The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.
—Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

Even in the worm that crawls in the earth there glows a divine spark. When you slaughter a creature, you slaughter God.
—Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)

As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.
—Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)

I don’t hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality, and moral choice – and that is precisely why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of animals.
—Brigid Brophy (1929–1995)

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
—Charles Darwin, English naturalist (1809–1882)

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.
—James A. Froude, English historian (1818–1894)

If you visit the killing floor of a slaughterhouse, it will brand your soul for life.
—Howard Lyman, author of Mad Cowboy

A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.
—Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (1828–1910)

In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.
—Ruth Harrison, author of Animal Machines

The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of “real food for real people,” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.
—Neal D. Barnard, MD, President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

About 2,000 pounds of grains must be supplied to livestock in order to produce enough meat and other livestock products to support a person for a year, whereas 400 pounds of grain eaten directly will support a person for a year. Thus, a given quantity of grain eaten directly will feed 5 times as many people as it will if it is eaten indirectly by humans in the form of livestock products.…
—M.E. Ensminger, PhD

Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.
—Franz Kafka, while admiring fish in an aquarium

Poor animals! How jealously they guard their pathetic bodies…that which to us is merely an evening’s meal, but to them is life itself.
—T. Casey Brennan (1948–)

Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.
—Sri Aurobindo (1872–1950)

Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test…consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect humankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.

–The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures.  Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse.  There is no certainty that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures.  What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse.  Yes, the right to kill a deer or a cow is the only thing all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars.
—Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984

What is it that should trace the insuperable line?… The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?
—Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832)

Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?… It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beautyand grace. But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches. No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.
—Plutarch

I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better, it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery, that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil.
—Charles Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places.
—Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519)

As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap the joy of love.
—Pythagoras

When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity.
—George Bernard Shaw, writer and Nobel laureate (1856–1950)

It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955)

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955)

When a human being kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why then should man expect mercy from God? It is unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give.
—Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)

A dead cow or sheep lying in the pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher’s stall passes as food.
—J. H. Kellogg, American physician (1852–1943)

It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures.
—Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948)

 

Activism

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
—George Bernard Shaw, writer and Nobel laureate (1856–1950)

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
—Elie Wiesel, writer and Nobel laureate (1928–)

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible.
—Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals, 1929

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
—Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist (1901–1978)

Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.
—Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, Polish poet and aphorist (1909–1966)

In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.
—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869–1948)

To forgive and accept injustice is cowardice.
—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869–1948)

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
—Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968)

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the roots.
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.
—Mark Twain, American author (1835–1910)

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer (1749–1832)

What would we do if we didn’t try? We have to try.
—Lyle Lovett

None so blind as those who will not see.
—Matthew Henry, English clergyman (1662–1714)

[A] long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.
—Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Ultimately, an unbiased observer of human behavior must conclude that most action is not shaped by theory, but rather theories are shaped to conform to actions we have no intention of changing.
—Marjorie Spiegel, The Dreaded Comparison

All of us cherish our beliefs. They are, to a degree, self-defining. When someone comes along who challenges our belief system as insufficiently well-based – or who, like Socrates, merely asks embarrassing questions that we haven’t thought of, or demonstrates that we’ve swept key underlying assumptions under the rug – it becomes much more than a search for knowledge. It feels like a personal assault.
—Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World

To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.
—Samuel Johnson, English author (1709–1784)

Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., American jurist (1841–1935)

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
—Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788–1860)

Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.
—George Gordon Noel Byron (Lord Byron), English Romantic poet (1788–1824)

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.
—John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-American economist (1908–2006)

Malheur Occupiers under siege from PETA

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/01/06/go-vegan-and-go-home-occupiers-under-siege-from-peta-native-tribe/

On Tuesday, Bundy said some folks brought them soup and a sympathetic rancher stocked a freezer full of meat for the group holing up at the refuge. And the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) delivered vegan jerky to the militants on Wednesday.

The snacks came along with signs that read, “The End of Animal-Based Ag Is Nigh: GET OUT NOW!”

The occupiers gladly accepted the vegan fare, which is made of soy, seitan and shiitake mushrooms and packs a bigger protein punch than beef. At least one self-described hardcore carnivore occupying the refuge promptly announced his love for the meatless treats, a PETA spokesperson said.

“He tried the hickory smoked primal strip,” said PETA spokesperson Lindsay Rajt. “He said it tasted like salmon and he loved it.”

Vegan Jerky To Be Hand-Delivered to Oregon Cattle-Ranching Militia

http://www.peta.org/blog/vegan-jerky-to-be-hand-delivered-to-oregon-cattle-ranching-militia/

Written by PETA | January 5, 2016

The militant cattle ranchers currently occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge have appealed for snacks, and PETA is answering the call with a hand-delivered package of vegan jerky that contains more protein than beef does. The PETA staffers, who will bear signs reading, “The End (of Animal Agriculture) Is Nigh: Get Out Now!” are suggesting that militia members learn to raise crops, not cows—allowing the many species of wild animals the refuge was designed to protect to thrive.

Cows© iStock.com/narvikk

“People from all walks of life are increasingly appalled by the idea of slaughtering animals and realize, too, the harmful impact that animal agriculture has on the environment, so it’s time to face facts,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “These ranchers may have a beef with the feds, but their water use and the cattle’s production of methane mean that the world needs them to get out of the beef business.”

As PETA notes, the Worldwatch Institute estimates that animal agriculture is responsible for 51 percent of human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions and the University of Chicago determined that switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering climate change than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid.

What You Can Do

Order PETA’s free vegan starter kit and do your part to start saving the planet and animals today!

Some Good News and Some Victories for Animals in 2015

An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

From All-Creatures.org
December 2015

THANK YOU for every single thing you did to make a difference for animals in 2015!

This list is about the animals and to honor animal rights activists. Congratulate yourself for your contribution and get inspired to do even MORE for animals in 2016. Please SHARE this link!

We know there are many more victories and many more good news items for animals in 2015 and we know there are LOTS of opinions of what “victory” or “good news” mean. This is a listing of what was posted as good news/victories on our All-Creatures.org 2015 weekly eNewsletters. Please subscribe here.

THANK YOU…FOR ANIMALS EVERYWHERE!

Paris talks a fraud: Watered down climate agreement is too little, too late

by Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson

COP 21 – The Positives and the Negatives

The positive: (1) The attention of the world has been focused on the issue of climate change. (2) The issue has been given great credibility through the recognition and participation of 195 nations. (3) there will most likely be a surge in support for alternative energy technologies. (4) It could have been worst.

The negatives: (1) Having attended these international conferences since 1972 I’ve yet to see any past agreements translated into action. So we shall see. Promises are cheap. (2) the Ocean was virtually ignored. (3) Oxygen depletion was completely ignored as was phytoplankton diminishment. (4) the issue of animal agriculture was not only ignored it, the food concessions at the events contradicted that concern 100%. Serving fish and chips during an ocean forum and hamburgers at forums dealing with greenhouse gas emissions was a disconnect that was painfully obvious. You would think the delegates and the NGO’s could have weathered a meat free two weeks considering that the animal agriculture industry slaughtering 65 billion animals a year produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation industry. (5) and no one wanted to hear about cutting off the 75 + billion dollar government subsidies to the industrialized fishing industry.

In the agreement signed in the COP21 climate deal: the words “fossil fuels” do not appear. Neither do the words “oil” or “coal.” I find that quite revealing.

My two solutions to address climate change were two solutions that no one wanted to hear. (1) shut down industrialized fishing and allow the ocean ecosystems to repair themselves. And (2) convert the majority of the 7.5. billion humans on the planet to a plant based diet.

My summation is that this watered down agreement is too little, too late, and what is on paper will most likely not see any realistic application in practice.

Hopefully I will be proven wrong.

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Also: James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks ‘a fraud’

The former Nasa scientist criticizes the talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020,

“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

Vegans Should Care About Overpopulation

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Yesterday a commenter here suggested that vegans (animal rightsists) don’t care about the problem of overpopulation. That may seem true for some, but it’s certainly not my experience. Those animal-rightsists that I know who are adamantly opposed to human overpopulation are so in part because they have seen animals suffering from their overpopulation.

A friend who is unwaveringly against human overpopulation remarked, “I don’t understand why people want to have babies in this day and age.” I’ve often pondered that. I went to bed last night ruminating on the question. I don’t know that I found the answer, but ironically I read about that same subject in a book about a woman (Diane Downs) who loved having babies, but then paradoxically shot her three kids.

The book goes on to depict her motive for having kids—as she put it, she was “lonely.” Normally, I would advise someone who is lonely to get a dog or cat, but I would hate to see the animal be shot or otherwise mistreated. Oh, sure, there was more to it than just being lonely. In this case, she wanted someone to have control (authority) over.  These reasons only scratch the surface and of course don’t apply to everyone.

Here’s a list a vegan friend put together of why she chose not to have kids…

For me it was:

  • No different than animal overpopulation. If I don’t feel that I can ethically breed my cat, why is it any better for ME to contribute to an overburdened planet? I mean, come on…are my genes really that special?
  • If I want a child that badly, why wouldn’t I adopt one of the countless hurting children looking for a home?
  • Choosing not to be consumed for two decades by parenting allows me instead to be a productive activist, fully, my entire life.
  • I’ve spared my never-to-be-born child the horrors of a world that is quickly becoming uninhabitable (because of human overpopulation, warfare, environmental degradation, etc.).
  • Cost effective! [If a person can barely afford to feed themselves, what business do they have bringing another human into this world?]
  • Finally, there’s no guarantee that a child I raised would embrace my vegan pacifist values. How would I feel if my child became a school bully or butcher or political warmonger or turkey sandwich eater? Devastating

So, why would a male want to procreate in such an overcrowded world? Maybe it’s the desire to have a “mini me” to do your bidding or to go on after you’re gone, thus creating a sense of immortality. But a person would have to really have a lot of faith in the future in order to buy into that.

Take the Pledge Against Extinction

http://takeextinctionoffyourplate.com/

Take Extinction Off Your Plate

Pledge to Take Extinction Off Your Plate

Pika

Meat production is one of the planet’s largest causes of environmental degradation and most significant threats to wildlife.

And the problem is rapidly getting worse: Production of beef, poultry, pork and other meat products tripled between 1980 and 2010 and will likely double again by 2050. This increasing meat consumption in a world of more than 7 billion people is taking a staggering toll on wildlife, habitat, water resources, air quality and the climate. Meanwhile, Americans eat more meat per capita than almost any other country in the world.

By signing the pledge below to reduce meat consumption by one-third or more, we can start to take extinction off our plates. Join the Center’s Earth-friendly Diet Campaign today.

Already a vegetarian? Then you’re a valuable wildlife advocate who can help others join the movement. Spread the word by taking the pledge and asking your friends to sign.

Protect wildlife — pledge today to eat an Earth-friendly diet.

We, the undersigned, pledge to take extinction off our plates by reducing the amount of meat we consume and/or telling our friends to join the Earth-friendly Diet campaign.

By cutting just one-third of the meat from our diets, we can each save as much as 340,667 gallons of water, more than 4,000 square feet of land, and the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 2,700 fewer miles a year.

Many of our current environmental crises are either directly caused by or worsened by our culture’s dependence on meat. By meating less, we give the world and wildlife a break.

http://takeextinctionoffyourplate.com/

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