Al Gore penned a lengthy New York Times op-ed entitled, "We Can't Wish Away Climate Change," on February 28, 2010. As expected, Gore was wordy, made no effort to discuss the planet's top polluter (US Department of Defense), and, most of all, the former vice president once again opted to ignore the No. 1 cause of climate change: the meat-based diet. In fact, I ran a search on the nearly 2,000 words, but none of the following terms were found: meat, cow, livestock, methane, farm, diet or vegan.
Yes, it's much more than just climate change. What about the aforementioned water degradation? As the Sierra Club explained, groundwater is "frequently contaminated by factory farm pollution, generally in the form of nitrates. Nitrate pollution, which can cause serious human health problems, seeps out of manure lagoons and into community sources of drinking water."
Let's consider deforestation. "In the Amazon the cattle sector is the largest driver of rainforest destruction, accounting for 60 to 70 percent of deforestation," wrote Nikolas Kozloff, author of "No Rain in the Amazon: How South America's Climate Change Affects the Entire Planet." "To put it in concrete terms: every eighteen seconds on average one hectare of Amazon rainforest is being lost to cattle ranchers. As if the carbon emissions resulting from cattle deforestation were not enough, consider bovine methane emissions."
As a result, the meat-based diet also plays a role in habitat destruction, animal and plant extinctions, world hunger and corporate welfare. Still, since climate change is the eco-topic most familiar to the general public, it may be the ideal place for Al Gore to start this discussion....
See the following research for critical/additional commentary (thanks to Jeff Anhang, Research Officer and Environmental Specialist, IFC, Washington, DC):
1. 51% estimate by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang at [ www.worldwatch.org/node/6294 ]www.worldwatch.org/node/6294; sources and resources at [ http://www.worldwatch.org/ww/livestock ]http://www.worldwatch.org/ww/livestock; responses to readers at [ http://awellfedworld.org/sites/awellfedworld.org/files/pdf/WWMLivestock-ClimateResponses.pdf ]http://awellfedworld.org/sites/awellfedworld.org/files/pdf/WWMLivestock-ClimateResponses.pdf
2. New posting by Robert Goodland at [ http://www.weblogtheworld.com/countries/africa-africa/replace-25-of-livestock-products-to-reduce-global-warming/ ]http://www.weblogtheworld.com/countries/africa-africa/replace-25-of-livestock-products-to-reduce-global-warming/
3. Our 51% newly cited by a UN agency on pp. 14-15 at [ http://www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user_upload/shs/Energyethics/ECCAPWG13rpt_Final_.pdf ]http://www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user_upload/shs/Energyethics/ECCAPWG13rpt_Final_.pdf
4. A Chinese friend wrote: "I am very excited to tell you that your article (with Robert) has been posted on the Chinese Government’s official Climate Change Website
([ http://www.ccchina.gov.cn/cn/NewsInfo.asp?NewsId=20278 ]http://www.ccchina.gov.cn/cn/NewsInfo.asp?NewsId=20278)... This is a huge honor, because only high-level Chinese policymakers’ articles or speeches are allowed on the website. The website attracts millions of eyeballs every day."
5. Cited by US Department of State at [ http://infoalert.usembassy.de/archives/arc_climate.htm ]http://infoalert.usembassy.de/archives/arc_climate.htm.
6. Though our article critiques the FAO, it not only has been unable to refute our analysis, but its environmental department actually invited us to deliver presentations in Rome in December 2009 and Berlin in January 2009; these can be seen at [ http://awellfedworld.org/sites/awellfedworld.org/files/pdf/FAOConsult12-09.pdf ]http://awellfedworld.org/sites/awellfedworld.org/files/pdf/FAOConsult12-09.pdf and [ http://awellfedworld.org/sites/awellfedworld.org/files/pdf/GoodlandFoodIndustryBerlinJan2010.pdf ]http://awellfedworld.org/sites/awellfedworld.org/files/pdf/GoodlandFoodIndustryBerlinJan2010.pdf.
7. Coverage by NY Times / International Herald Tribune: [ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/business/global/17iht-rbofcows.html?_r=3 ]http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/business/global/17iht-rbofcows.html?_r=3
8. Coverage by the UN World Business Council for Sustainable Development: [ http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?txtDocTitle=goodland&txtDocText=goodland&DocTypeId=-1&ObjectId=MzYyMjU&URLBack=result%2Easp%3FtxtDocTitle%3Dgoodland%26txtDocText%3Dgoodland%26DocTypeId%3D%2D1%26SortOrder%3D%26CurPage%3D1 ]http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?txtDocTitle=goodland&txtdoctext=goodland&doctypeid=-1&objectid=MzYyMjU&urlback=result%2Easp%3FtxtDocTitle%3Dgoodland%26txtDocText%3Dgoodland%26DocTypeId%3D%2D1%26SortOrder%3D%26CurPage%3D1
9. CEO of a solar power company writes that our article shows a 1% effort in what we recommend would have the same effect as $3 trillion of his solar panels: [ http://www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/500866/The-Copenhagen-Fools.html ]http://www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/500866/The-Copenhagen-Fools.html
10. Robert featured in the summary of the Beyond Copenhagen Conference, including a link to a video showing him present (n.b., he is the one introduced at the 29 min. 30 sec. mark): [ http://chapmannews.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/beyond-copenhagen-conference-update-experts-opinions-sobering-hopeful/ ]http://chapmannews.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/beyond-copenhagen-conference-update-experts-opinions-sobering-hopeful/