Thursday, February 09, 2012

(CMI) Veganism/vegetarianism and Global Warming

Curiously absent from recent (mainstream) discussions of global warming is any mention of our self-destructive addiction to meat and other nonhuman animal products.

Intensive methods of animal agriculture now produce more than 20% of all greenhouse gases attributable to human activity (in the form of both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions, with the latter having an even more severe impact on the world's climate). Sociologist Dan Brook sums up the situation this way:

Vegetarianism is literally about life and death -- for each of us individually and for all of us together. Eating animals simultaneously contributes to a multitude of tragedies: the animals' suffering and death; the ill-health and early death of people; the unsustainable overuse of oil, water, land, topsoil, grain, labor and other vital resources; environmental destruction, including deforestation, species extinction, mono-cropping and global warming; the legitimacy of force and violence; the mis-allocation of capital, skills, land and other assets; vast inefficiencies in the economy; tremendous waste; massive inequalities in the world; the continuation of world hunger and mass starvation; the transmission and spread of dangerous diseases; and moral failure in so-called civilized societies. Vegetarianism is an antidote to all of these unnecessary tragedies.

The editors of World Watch concluded in the July/August 2004 edition that "the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future -- deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease." Lee Hall, the legal director for Friends of Animals, is more succinct: "Behind virtually every great environmental complaint there's milk and meat."

Global warming may be the most serious global social problem threatening life on Earth. We need to fight global warming on the governmental and corporate levels, and we also need to fight global warming on the everyday and personal levels. Now we need to fight global warming -- with our forks.


  1. It is never talked about. Mainly because the mainstream culture here is meat-eating, and so the powers-that-be don't want to draw attention to it, or think about it, or talk about it. And it's a tough culture to fight against (has been for me anyway, and I lost.)

    But I think if most people thought about it, or learned more about what goes on, and what it really is that we're doing, they would be vegetarians. And the powers-that-be definitely don't want that.

  2. They would certainly need to think about it more I would think. Many people are aware of, or have at least heard about what goes in in those industries. Often times, I receive a response that is something akin to "I'm not going to think about that. I want to keep eating meat." It's highly unfortunate.

    Go veganism (or at least almost-veganism; I am trying to be)!

  3. The problem is that there is a lot of money in the industries which exploit non-human animals. We wouldn't have to make as much agricultural produce in order to feed the animals we consume if we stopped. The pharmaceutical industries producing the hormones and medications for the animals we eat would lose income. The farms dedicated to livestock would lose their jobs. The corporations who benefit from all these costs do not want to see their profits diminish.

    It's hard for people to think outside of their own lives, though. If it doesn't immediately affect a human, it is hard for us to understand that we need to change.

    And, yes, Brandon, go veganism indeed.