20 October 2009

47 Days - The Future is in Your Hands, and on Your Plate

The climate work we've been doing lately has a decidely "can-do" upbeat aspect to it.

We have to get to zero carbon as rapidly as possible. Methane from industrial food production and the livestock industry accounts for about 40 percent of human methane emissions. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, so if we reduce our methane fast, that might give us a fighting chance of getting some other global warming solutions in place before it's too late.

We can eliminate the emissions of a huge amount of the most warming intense greenhouse gases by a revolution in our food production and by adopting the healthiest diet possible — for us and for the planet.

Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chair of United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said that greenhouse gases are emitted during virtually every step of the meat producing process.

Zero carbon = zero meat. I know a lot of people who balk at this idea, but imagine if practically everyone in the world gave up meat? (I'm not going to ask the Inuit to give up meat, although the way things are going, they might soon find it easier to grow grain than to find animals.)

We could retrain those farmers and ranchers and fishers in more benign forms of agriculture or renewable energy (ooh, now there's a win-win). And we'd be giving today's children a chance at a future.

It's easier for me. I'm already vegetarian. Have been for ... counting ... yikes, almost 30 years (am I that old?). So I can assure you that there's life after meat — in more ways than one.

The future, folks, is quite literally in our hands, in our shopping baskets, on our stoves and on our plates. We don't have to wait for any government decrees or taxes (though taxing the carbon in meat would ensure it's expensive enough to make tofu look good).

Enjoy the bounty of the Earth without killing (and without killing the future). C'est tout. It's that simple. Let's just choose to stop eating our grandchildren.

(Photo from Liaison College Lakeshore Campus)


  1. Thank you for your commitment. I totally agree with you about the compassion - I have always thought that it would be the earth who would bring us together, that the challenges facing us would open our hearts to help all sentient beings.
    Rosie Emery

  2. Yes, a shift to compassion for the Earth itself, for all sentient beings, and for all future generations of all species is all it will take to turn the climate emergency around.

    Oh, that and some courage on the part of our world leaders. I'm just now dreaming up a way to convince leaders (who don't seem to be doing much leading these days) that life is more important than their economies.

    I've also started actively praying for miracles!

    Take care, Rosie. Thanks so much for taking the time to write.
    GreenHeart Education

  3. I do believe significant changes need to be made in order to reduce our carbon footprint and I appreciate your suggestion. However, I do think this idea might be too extreme as well as a little impossible for the current time period. Considering the way the economy is going, to ask farmers to change their agricultural practices would probably be an expensive task which would lead to most political leaders to not back your idea.

  4. Hi Anonymous,
    I appreciate your comments. We always have to hold compassion in our hearts for the people whose lives are being torn apart by climate chaos, and for the people whose lives are going to have to be torn apart to mitigate the climate emergency.

    Please check my next post for ideas in response to your concerns. Take care!

    GreenHeart Education


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?