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Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time

Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time

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Published by Eygenia85z
Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time
Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time

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Published by: Eygenia85z on Jun 29, 2012
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More serious than dry pancakes? 
Fall 2007www.calpeacepower.or
By John CampbellEnvironmental Justice
Saving the Planet,One Meal at a Time
 “Warmer winters caused by Global Warming are threatening the habitat of the maple tree, which does not thrive in milder conditions. Scientists estimate that the Northeast’s average yearly temperature could rise by about 4-5 degrees over the next few decades. The warmer climate means that the maple tree - along with the rest of America’s northeast forests will bemore susceptible to disease, insects and drought. It’s more serious than just dry pancakes. The loss
of the maple trees would have a disastrous eect on New Hampshire’s economy. Tourism would
dry up along with syrup production. Thousands of jobs would be lost and a way of life would be goneforever.” — StopGlobalWarming.org 
he environment is becoming an increasingly importanttopic to many people today, but one extremely relevantactor is usually let out o environmental discussions. A pro-cess that kills over 5 billion animalseach year, accelerates global warming,burns hundreds o millions o barrels o oil per year, and wastes millions o tonso ood and water each day receives littleattention in the environmental debate.It is actory arming — the industrial-ized, intensive, rapid production o alltypes o meat or human consumption.While the meat industry’s treatment o animals has received increasing atten-tion rom media and government agen-cies, its vast environmental degradationgoes largely unnoticed.One o the most astonishing actsabout actory arming is its ineiciency,as most animals consume an enormousamount o resources relative to theiredible output. In 98,
shineda spotlight on this issue, stating that theamount o water required to raise a ,000-pound steer could“loat a destroyer.”¹ Oicials within the U.S. bee industry haveadmitted that 792,000 gallons o water are needed to raise a,000-pound steer, and that may be a low estimate. Researchersat Michigan State University ound that 2,500 gallons areneeded to grow a pound o lesh, whichwould mean the same steer actually necessitates 2.5 milliongallons o water in its lietime.² Contrarily, only 25 gallons o water are required to produce one pound o wheat,  percentas much water as is needed or bee.³Fresh wateris becomingan increas-ingly limitedresource. TheWorld Bank reports thatas many as 80countries su-er rom watershortages,aecting theireconomies,agriculture,and the healtho their citi-zens. This report says that 0 percent o the world’s population has limited or noaccess to clean water. These numbersare continuing to rise, and one newsreport even went as ar as to say thatwater shortage may be the next cause o a world war.⁴The waste o water is obviously signiicant to any envi-ronmental debate, but also to a larger ethical one, becausedepriving a person o a basic human need is one o the worstorms o violence. While most people consider violence tobe direct and obvious physical harm, “structural violence” is
Most peopledon’t feel the airgetting hotter with each bite of their Big Mac, but livestock arein fact respon-sible for 18% of greenhouse gasemissions.
Gender Bender 
“The sex of turtle hatchlings is determined by the temperature of eggs during incubation. Warmer 
nest temperatures produce females, and cooler nests result in males. According to Lucy Hawkes of 
the Marine Turtle Research Group at the University of Exeter (UK), these ratios could soon change. “With just two degrees Celsius of warming, there would be no more males produced at Cape Ca-
naveral, Florida,” states Hawkes. It’s widely accepted that three degrees Celsius will occur in
the next 100 years, which could be disastrous for Florida loggerheads” 
International Sea Turtle Society 
Fall 2007 
deprivation o basic human needs caused by corrupt socialstructures or institutions. Considering the huge waste o watercaused by raising cattle and other animals, actory arming isclearly a source o structural violence. This injustice, however,can be ought individually on a day-to-day basis. A meat dietrequires ,000 gallons o water a day, while a vegetarian diet,on the other hand, requires only about 300 gallons o water aday.⁵ This is a dierence o about 3,700 gallons — roughly theamount o water needed to keep 6,000 people healthy eachday.⁶ Our ood choices are clearly critical, as conversion to amore eicient diet helps to ensure that all humans have theiressential needs met.Factory arming also wastes ood. It takes about 6 poundso grain to produce one pound o bee, meaning that theamount o ood that could eed 6 people instead goes to asole individual.⁷ Surveys show that close to 70 percent (700million acres) o all crops grown in the United States go toeeding animals that are raised or slaughter.⁸ Only about 6percent o the land used to produce bee — 500 million acres(53 percent o U.S. armland) — would be needed to eed thesame number o vegetarians.⁹ Taking into account the ine-iciency o all types o meat production, to eed all Americans
...continued on page 29
vegetables instead o meat would require at the most 2 per-cent o the 70 percent o land used to eed livestock.¹⁰ Fromthis perspective, one could argue that more than hal o allU.S. ood crops are essentially wasted.The misused resources do not stop here, as the process o growing all o these crops leads to the use o another dwin-dling commodity, oil. Growing crops, cultivating crops, trans-porting crops to be processed, processing, transportation toarms, transporting animals to slaughter houses, transportingmeat, rerigeration, and distribution o meat all depend onpetroleum. Cornell ecologist Dave Pimentel calculated that28 gallons o oil are needed to raise a ,250-pound cow orslaughter. The United States alone raises and slaughters over25 million cows a year, meaning the total amount o oil usedper year is more than 355 million barrels or cattle productionand processing alone.¹¹ Considering the ineiciency o meatproduction, we are wasting oil. Fossil uels are a source o environmental harm, global warming, and armed conlict.Most people don’t eel the air getting hotter with each biteo their Big Mac, but livestock are in act responsible or 8 per-cent o greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than auto-mobiles, according to the Food and Agriculture Organizationo the United Nations. The hundreds o millions o cows raisedworldwide each year produce immense amounts o thegreenhouse gas methane, which warms the planet 20 timesaster than carbon dioxide.¹² Deorestation, also a result o meat production, is responsible or 25 percent o atmosphericcarbon dioxide.¹³ In the Amazon, 60 percent to 70 percent o deorestation is a result o livestock production.14 Conversely,plants, the basis o a vegetarian diet, remove carbon dioxiderom the atmosphere, thus combating global warming. Inaddition to this, livestock are responsible or two thirds o allammonia emissions, which directly contribute to acid rain— which pollutes water and harms aquatic animals, orests,and human health.¹⁵Any o us who have ever walked out in a pasture knows thatarm animals produce astonishing amounts o excrement. Attimes, we must wonder, what happens to all o this waste? 
Forests are often burned to make grazing land for cattle.

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