19 May 2009

201 Days to Copenhagen POST #1 - Solution #1 GO VEG!

Every one of my posts will speak of compassionate climate action in response to the global climate change emergency. In this first post, I would like to suggest that the fastest, easiest (really!), and perhaps most compassionate action to take as an individual or family is to go vegetarian, or even vegan (consuming no animal products all all).

United Nations research from the FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization (Livestock's Long Shadow) showed that 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the livestock industry. So getting off meat is a quick way to reduce your carbon footprint and be kind to the planet. Think also of the benefits to your health, and to our hungry brothers and sisters around the world (less meat for us = more grains and beans for them) -- and to all the animals, too! The meat industry is also tied to land degradation, air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

If you work in an educational setting, explain to administrators why your school cafeteria should go veg. If special lunches are provided, perhaps by the parents' group, ask them to make their lunches vegetarian. If students bring their lunches, make at least one day per week "Vegetarian Day" as the city of Ghent in Belgium has just done.

And if people complain that they won't know what to eat, challenge them to find one meal that can't be "vegetarianized" these days. But offer (do some online research, if necessary) to make a list for them of the pastas, Indian foods, Chinese foods, Greek foods, Thai foods (need I go on?) that are vegetarian, healthy — and delicious.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?