Monday, March 26, 2007
I have been a non-meat eater for 13 years now. I haven't had pork or beef in 20 years. I have difficulty defining it as vegetarian because I occasionally, 3 or 4 times a year, eat fish. I have had several meat eaters point out that I'm "not really a vegetarian" since I eat fish. You have to love meat eaters, educating the public on the finer points of being a vegetarian!
My diet choice is born from a summer I spent as a counselor at Camp Rockfish in Eastern NC, after my Freshman year in college. The Director of the camp, was passionate but not pushy about eating "low on the food chain" to preserve the environment. Pigs and Cows are "high" on the food chain, requiring a disproportionate amount of natural resources for the small amount of food it produces. Turkey and Chicken are lower on the chain, requiring less resources.
In late 2006, The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization reported that Livestock production is responsible for more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world. In total, it is responsible for 18 percent of human induced greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.
In addition, PETA reports that growing all the crops to feed farmed animals requires massive amounts of water and land—in fact, nearly half of the water and 80 percent of the agricultural land in the United States are used to raise animals for food. Our taste for meat is also taking a toll on our supply of fuel and other nonrenewable resources—about one-third of the used in America each year is consumed by the farmed animal industry.
Stopping meat consumption seems like one of the most affordable ways folks can impact and slow global warming. I wonder why more folks don't do it?