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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Gore on ABC News

In a recent ABC News Interview, Al Gore was asked about Glen Beck’s insistence for him to become vegetarian, if he truly wanted to fight global warming.

Gore’s response:  ”I’m not a vegetarian, but I have cut back sharply on the meat that I eat,” he said. “It’s absolutely correct that the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is one of the issues connected to this global crisis – not only because of the CO2 involved, but also because of the water consumed in the process.”

Glen Beck has invited PETA on his show numerous times, in an attempt to embarrass Gore and climate change activists at their own game.

Here is Glen Beck with PETA President Ingrid Newkirk last week:

Thankfully most people don’t see the world in the black & white goggles which Beck wears.  Anyone can make a significant difference in their carbon footprint with just a small reduction in their diet.  The first step and acknowledgement is most important.  Whether someone becomes vegetarian or vegan is a whole other challenge and process.  Fortunately there are plenty of organizations and online resources/recipes to help you get started!

Read the article by Ecorazzi

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A great multilingual, international initiative to raise awareness of the impact of livestock and meat production on the environment, global warming and world hunger.  Please sign the Global “Meat Free” Petition!  Help establish a national “meat free” day in your country!

From the site:

You might be asking yourself, why do we have to petition governments to declare a “Meat Free” day? That’s simple. Let’s look at Ghent, Belgium for example. Government officials in Ghent have shown leadership and recognized the importance of promoting vegetarianism as a solution to addressing climate change and have thus declared a “veggie” only day – every week; clearly their stance is raising awareness and promoting the many benefits that a plant based diet has on the environment – not to mention on human health.

Facebook group:  “Meat Free” Days – Vote & Set a Global Governmental Trend – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=109725730676&ref=ts

http://twitter.com/MFMpetition

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It’s upsetting and a bit disturbing that a NY Times “Green blogger” has perpetuated a claim from the Center for Consumer Freedom that there is no strong connection between meat and global warming.

The recent NY Times article titled “Meat & Climate: The Debate Continues” (which I refuse to link to) cites a press release from the CCF (a.k.a a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries) which used an EPA figure estimating that only 6% of US greenhouse gases are caused by agriculture production, including meat. They used this figure to argue that there is no significant connection between meat and global warming. The EPA figure stands in stark contrast to the 2006 UN FAO report (Livestock’s Longshadow) which attributes 18% of global greenhouse gases to livestock production.  Considering how much meat Americans consume, I find it hard to believe that the US produces far less GHG relative to other countries.

If you read the first paragraph of the study, you would learn that the EPA figure omits the emissions from CO2 and land-use changes.  In contrast, the 2006 UN FAO study includes CO2, as well as methane and other greenhouse gases as a result of the entire livestock production process.

EPA on Agriculture Emissions in 2006:

“Agricultural activities contribute directly to emissions of greenhouse gases through a variety of processes. This chapter provides an assessment of non-carbon-dioxide emissions from the following source categories: enteric fermentation in domestic livestock, livestock manure management, rice cultivation, agricultural soil management, and field burning of agricultural residues (see Figure 6-1). Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and removals from agriculture-related land-use activities, such as conversion of grassland to cultivated land, are presented in the Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry chapter. CO2 emissions from on-farm energy use are accounted for in the Energy chapter.”

Livestock’s Longshadow:

…Scientists usually tie their estimates of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming to sources such as land use changes, agriculture (including livestock) and transportation. The authors of Livestock’s long shadow took a different approach, aggregating emissions throughout the livestock commodity chain – from feed production (which includes chemical fertilizer production, deforestation for pasture and feed crops, and pasture degradation), through animal production (including enteric fermentation and nitrous oxide emissions from manure) to the carbon dioxide emitted during processing and transportation of animal products.

Why the EPA chose to ignore the impact of CO2 and US land-use changes, is a puzzle to address.  As the UN report shows, land-use is a major reason why GHG from livestock is high.  When one looks at the example of deforestation of the Amazon (80% of which is attributed to livestock), it’s not hard to see why global land-use, and the whole livestock commodity chain should be a concern.

Another commenter of the Times article adds “CCF had to go as far as misrepresenting a Bush era EPA report, that were often lower bounds or distortions of staff reports.”

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10 shocking statistics on meat and global warming.

1. If every American (300 million) gave up meat for 1 day a week, this would have the same positive effect on reducing greenhouse gases as saving 90 million plane tickets from New York to Los Angeles! (source:  Meat the Truth documentary, see video clip) [1]

2. If every American gave up meat for 2 days of the week, this would have the same effect as replacing all household appliances like fridges, freezers, microwave ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers and so on and so forth, by energy efficient ones. (source: Meat the Truth documentary)

3. If all Americans gave up meat for 3 days a week, they would save almost 300 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. This would have a greater impact on reducing global warming than if all cars in the US were replaced with Toyota Priuses. (source: Meat the Truth documentary)

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4. Livestock production produces more greenhouse gases (18%) than all forms of transportation (cars + airplanes) combined.  (source:  UN Food and Agriculture Organization)

5. If the average American were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent, that would be the equivalent of switching from driving a Camry to a Prius. (source:  Eshel, University of Chicago)

6. $20 trillion would be saved from the cost of fighting climate change if the global population shifted to a low-meat diet – defined as 70 grams of beef and 325 grams of chicken and eggs per week. (source:  Stehfest, Climatic Change)

7. Beef production generates more than 13 times the total greenhouse gases from producing chicken. (source:  Fiala, Ecological Economics, picture)

Chicken Close Up

8. Animals raised for food produce 1.4 billion metric tons of manure, which is 130 times more excrement than the entire human population put together, for a total of 87,000 pounds per second.

This contributes to livestock’s total gas emissions which include 37% of all methane (20 times more powerful than CO2) and 65% of all nitrous oxide (296 times). (source:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

9. 70 – 80% of deforested land in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest is occupied by farmers who use the land for livestock feed and grazing.   The rainforests are a natural defense against global warming, by converting CO2 into oxygen.  Brazil is the world’s 4th largest climate polluter, as 75% of greenhouse gas emissions are from deforestation  (source:  Mato Grosso, Greenpeace Brazil, video).

10. The impact of livestock on global warming is rapidly increasing. Annual global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tons in 2000 to 465 million tons in 2050  (source:  UN Food and Agriculture Organization).

* The calculations used in the documentary “Meat the Truth” derive from and have been validated by many sources including the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN FAO and the World Watch Institute.  It was produced under the consultation of many scientific institutions, which can be viewed on its website:  http://www.meatthetruth.nl/en/about-the-film/meat-the-truth-sources/

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10.  Meat the Facts Blog

One of the only blogs dedicated entirely to the environmental, health and global warming impact of meat.

9.  Meat the Truth Documentary

A professional documentary from the Netherlands all about meat and global warming, which premiered in May 2008.  I haven’t seen it yet, but looks like people are reacting favorably! Check out some clips from the documentary on YouTube on the impact of lowering meat consumption to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 days of the week.

8.  Facebook:  Fight Global Warming! Eat Less Meat! (Or none at all!)

This is a facebook group that currently has 4,600+ members.  There are some interesting discussions/debates, and links/pictures/videos shared with other members.  An inspiration for me to setup this blog and a great way to network.

7.  Campaign for Eco-Veg*nism

Another great way to network.  For anyone interested in grassroots veggie/vegan campaigning from an environmental perspective.  Check out their Yahoo e-mail list, Facebook or Myspace page!  At the moment, they say their website is a bit basic (it’s true) but that it “will eventually become a mine of eco-veg*n campaigning info!”

6.  Let’s Act Now!

In January of this year, they launched a nationwide Public Service Announcement on the impact of meat on global warming.  If you’ve been wondering why nobody has setup a professional looking website on this subject, this is your answer.

5.  Food for Change Blog

Nice looking and up-to-date website/blog that “promotes food choices that are sustainable, ethical and environmentally responsible”.  What that headline doesn’t tell you, is that they also emphasize the environmental / global warming impact of animal agriculture.  Also check out their resources section, which includes videos, reports (they have 55), and a list of organizations.

4.  PETA 2: Meat’s Not Green

Their website is made for a young audience, and includes videos, vegetarian tips, a petition, a widget for calculating one’s footprint, and blog that details the PETA2’s efforts to get the word out that “Meat’s Not Green”.

3.  Supreme Master TV

There is no other place on the web that is as dedicated to providing relevant links and especially VIDEOS on this subject.  Even more impressively, they have a video section of  politicians and top climate scientists (including Dr. James Hansen and IPCC Chief Rajendra Pachouri) sharing their thoughts on meat and global warming.

2.  Compassion in World Farming (CIWF): Lecture on “Global Warning: the Impact of Meat Production & Consumption on Climate Change” from Dr. Pachouri (Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Joint winner of 2007 Nobel Peace Prize)

Includes video of highlights, mp3s of lecture, Powerpoint slideshow

There are  many articles on what Dr. Pachouri said, but not many people learned that he gave an entire lecture on this subject, which included a follow-up from a discussion panel.  Woot!  CIWF also has written reports on the impact of meat and factory farms on the environment and global warming.  He’s no Al Gore, but in the world of climate change, this guy is the man.

1.  Price of Meat Blog

I couldn’t decide which deserved the #1 spot, so I settled on my own blog … bwahahaha.  I know I’m only one person, and there are many organizations that have done a lot more work on this than I have.  But where else can you find a blogger on this subject with a snarky personality who writes top 10 lists on meat and global warming?

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meat-the-truth1

For your information and amusement, I provided a Guilt Trip Rating for each video (GTR, 10 is high, 1 is low).   In my opinion, videos with a low GTR are great for introducing this subject to someone.  Videos with a higher GTR should be viewed with caution.  Enjoy.


  1. ABC News:  2 Simple Steps for Climate Change
  2. Meat the Truth Trailer
  3. Compassion in World Farming:  Livestock Production & the Environment
  4. Holistic Secrets with Rachel Avalon:  On Less Meat and Dairy
  5. Glen Beck:  Al Gore Ignores Eating Meat
  6. Mark Bittman: What’s Wrong With What We Eat (20 min.)
  7. Meat the Facts on Global Warming
  8. Supreme Master TV:  United Nations: Less Meat, Less Heat
  9. Barack Obama responds to Question from Vegan on Meat
  10. CNN:  Going Vegan:  The Impact on your Health and the Environment

1.  ABC News:  2 Simple Steps for Climate Change (5/13/08)

For those in a rush.  Guilt Trip Rating: 2

ABC’s Dan Harris narrates this well-made video made for a mainstream audience that helps us to visualize how the beef production process releases greenhouse gases.  The second part (Step 2) of the video encourages viewers to also get an energy audit.  Point made:  there’s more than one way to stop global warming, eating less beef is a lot easier.  Bravo.

2.  Meat the Truth Trailer

For media types, documentary lovers.  Guilt Trip Rating:  5

This is the trailer to a DOCUMENTARY on meat and global warming made in the Netherlands! I’m surprised I didn’t hear about this earlier.  Takes an incrementalist approach towards meat-eating, mimicing Al Gore’s Powerpoint-style presentation in An Inconvenient Truth.   Shows how one meatless day of the week helps.

3.  Compassion in World Farming:  Livestock Production & the Environment

For those who prefer British accents?  Guilt Trip Rating:  5

4.  Holistic Secrets with Rachel Avalon:  On Less Meat and Dairy

For those who just pay more attention to a lady, or who need their hand to be held.  Guilt Trip Rating:  3

A holistic, innocent, earthy, video blogger who gently lays out the stats and gives some nice homemade graphics :).  Her summary:  “Surprising solution beyond CFL lightbulbs, planting trees, & hybrids”.

Check out Rachel’s website at www.rachelavalon.com.  She is trained in holistic nutrition, reflexology and massage therapy!


5. Glen Beck:  Al Gore Ignores Eating Meat

For those who wishes they could see something good in Glen Beck?  Guilt Trip Rating: 9

As Google reveals, this is one of the most viral videos on meat and global warming out there.  But be careful with this one.  For those who don’t know, Glen Beck is a prominent right-wing talk show host, who thinks the global warming crowd is alarmist and being misled.  It seems that his goal is to manipulate the subject of meat and global warming, as an “all or nothing” sort of issue – in order to further antagonize the skeptics, or to  even divide global warming activists.  This is my hunch at least.  Beck never mentions the fact that one could simply eat LESS meat, though the PETA organizer does mention it at the end.  Beck even prepared a video catching well-known celebrities and of course, Al Gore, eating meat.

Eat ANY meat? Guilt! Guilt! Shame! Shame!

However, it is nonetheless an informative video that brought attention to this issue, and includes some points I can agree with.  Gore should bring up the impact of livestock on global warming.  I just hope people aren’t introduced to this subject through Beck.

Round 2 – Beck and PETA spokesperson Matt Prescott met again earlier this month

6Mark Bittman: What’s Wrong With What We Eat (20 min.)

For science, whole-system types.  Guilt Trip Rating: 4

This guy is great.  Non-vegetarian and author who blogs at the NY Times about cooking, with occasional blog posts on the impact of meat on global warming.  The video explains how industrial agricultural is to blame for our diets and for harming the Earth.

Summary from TED itself:  “In this fiery and funny talk, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what’s wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it’s putting the entire planet at risk.”

7.  Meat the Facts on Global Warming

For those who can take the heat.  Guilt Trip Rating: 9

From MeatTheFACTS.org,  A serious guilt-trip.  Hits all the angles:  global warming, deforestation, poverty, water, world hunger and starving children.  No narration.  Just the facts & ominous techno music mixed with a heart monitor, suggesting that the end is near.  Which is probably true…


8.  Supreme Master TV:  United Nations: Less Meat, Less Heat

For everyone, literally.  There are subtitles for 14 other languages.  Guilt Trip Rating:  6

“Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace, has said that people should give up eating meat at least once a week in order to help prevent global warming.”

One of many videos from Supreme Master Ching Hai, on meat and global warming. You may not agree with all of her spiritual views, but you can agree that she is channeling her energy for the planet. “Supreme Master TV” is a multilingual video channel which regularly emphasizes why and how to go vegetarian and vegan.

9.  Barack Obama responds to Question from Vegan on Meat

For everyone, Obama fans.  Guilt Trip Rating: 2

It’s very interesting to watch Obama’s respond to this question on the environmental impact of our diet.  He explains that as a result of climate change and livestock production, the global food system is under immense stress – and says rising global meat consumption is a threat. He gives some tangible examples.  He also ties the question to health, noting that the US healthcare system could save a trillion dollars if obesity levels were lowered to 1980 levels.   YESiree.  Of course, he says all this in a much more articulate and non-threatening sort of way.  Yay, this is the president of the USA speaking!

The question – Nikki Benoit: Thank you, Senator, very much for your strong environmental position.

The United Nations actually has reiterated that factory farming is contributing more to global greenhouse gas emissions than all of transportation. I think that as a global community we really need to be the leader and moving more towards non-factory farming animal agriculture. It’s very egregious. There’s 10 billion land animals that we are funneling our precious water and grain through when 70 per cent of all of our grain could help feed the world’s hungry. So, as the next leader of the most amazing nation in the world, how can we set the example on the more nutritional, plant-based diet that’s more eco-friendly and sustainable, that can maintain our water resources and all of our grain. Thank you very much.

10.  CNN:  Going Vegan:  The Impact on your Health and the Environment (6/11/08)

For everyone, particularly those who just need to hear it from CNN.  Guilt Trip Rating: 3

The reporter, Alina Cho, talks about the facts while showing off some vegan food in action.  She concludes by telling viewers  that she is not saying one has to cut meat entirely out of his/her diet to make a significant impact (despite the story on veganism).  Unfortunately, the video quality is not great.

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