Save the World – stop eating meat!

(thanks to Dominic, a pal of mine doing brilliant Buddhist things at Harvard for this)

The BBC reports today that the number one contributor to human greenhouse gas emissions is not travel, but meat production.

[T]he biggest source globally of carbon dioxide from meat production is land clearance, particularly of tropical forest, which is set to continue as long as demand for meat rises.

Now, for those of us living in Montana, this may not hit home so much. Most of our meat, we think, must come from the 4 million cows that live in our state, right? Perhaps, but I wouldn’t be so sure.

Better to be safe than sorry and join the millions of us who have cut out commercial/domesticated meats today.

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES

The Hindu Eat less meat to fight climate change: Pachauri – 7 hrs ago
UPI U.N. ties red meat to global warming – 10 hrs ago
Channel 4 News Britons told to cut back on meat – 13 hrs ago
Telegraph UN: Eat less meat for climate – 16 hrs ago
Sydney Morning Herald Eat less meat to fight climate change: UN expert – 20 hrs ago

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13718601770472939313 Tom Armstrong

    Good post, but none of us should think of this as a local or state issue — since beef and other meats are widely transported.If Montanans were to all stop eating meat, then, even if production was little reduced within the state, US/worldwide demand would be reduced and that would help in the fight against global warming.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13718601770472939313 Tom Armstrong

    Also, I think, perhaps, you mean “Most of y[our] meat, we think, must come from the 4 mission cows that DIE within [y]our state.” — since eating living cows is considered cruel and rare, whereas eating dead cows is ironically and strangely considered commonplace and sane.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13718601770472939313 Tom Armstrong

    Whoops. I meant to write “4 million” cows rather than “4 mission” cows. There are no cows hanging around the mission, waiting to be eaten.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13266018405604523361 Patia

    Justin, I can’t believe you were born and raised in Montana. Haven’t you seen those signs: “You’re in Cattle Country. Eat Beef!”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14246929532585980356 Buddhist_philosopher

    Tom – You’re absolutely right. But some people see the locality as an important facet of the food-debates. If I eat a pound of soy shipped from Michigan, I may be contributing as much green-house gas as eating a pound of MT-raised beef. And I’ll be on the lookout for those mission cows :)Patia, I know, I’m an odd little duck. But I’ve learned to ignore lots of Montana signs, like “Ax Max” and “Keep us out of UN” and “W’04.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14246929532585980356 Buddhist_philosopher

    Oh, and Tom – I’m not sure about this, but I was long ago led to understand that most of our lovely (mostly) organic, grass-fed Montana cows are auctioned off to feed-lots outside of the state to be fattened up before their eventual demise. Crazy world we live in…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13266018405604523361 Patia

    Ha, Justin, touche. But political slogans are different from supporting your farmer-rancher neighbors. Most Montanans who raise livestock do so humanely and ethically. It’s true, though, that many if not most Montana cattle are shipped off to huge feedlots in the Midwest, fattened with corn and slaughtered inhumanely. The system is wrong. I do try to eat locally as much as possible — and I promise to pay even more attention to where my meat comes from.(I actually don’t eat a lot of meat.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13718601770472939313 Tom Armstrong

    Another facet to all of this is that cows are thinking, feeling (i.e. sentient) beings, whereas, say, soy, is not. [An EXCELLENT, short book I think that EVERYONE should read is The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals.] Long live the cow! And how!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13266018405604523361 Patia

    Tom, have you spent much time around cows? I have, and I suspect they are not much smarter than soybeans.P.S. Whoa — the captcha verification word on this comment is “hcsoygmo.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14246929532585980356 Buddhist_philosopher

    Tom and Patia, I have to side with Tom on the cow question. As the trusty folks at GoVeg.com say, “Cows are intelligent and curious animals who enjoy solving problems and interacting with their environment.” I don’t think soybeans live up to that – nor many people I’ve come across.Of course the GoVeg folks are biased, but I wouldn’t be surprised if cows – raised with the stimulation and contact that a pet gets – can display every bit of intelligence as a horse, pig or even a dog or cat.I think they’re subject to the same environmental conditions as the rest of us – raised to be mere food, they do not rise to their brilliant potential. BTW, I more and more avoid soy, switching to rice-milk, wild/sustainable salmon, wild rice and as much local and organic fruit and veg as possible in my diet.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13266018405604523361 Patia

    If you guys want to be vegetarians, more power to you. Justin, I’ve told you before that I’ve gone for years without eating meat (mostly for humane and aesthetic reasons), but it was always a struggle for me. I like meat! It’s yummy! And human beings are omnivores. I now choose to enjoy my status at the top of the food chain.I resent, however, the implication that I’m destroying the world. The real issues are overpopulation and the lack of environmental regulations on corporations.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13718601770472939313 Tom Armstrong

    Per GoVeg: “Because of their complex social interactions, cows also have the ability to learn from each other, another indication of their intelligence, which is comparable to that of a dog and a bit higher than that of a cat or that other curious animal, the university student.Meantime, soybeans are “stupid as dirt,” according to Commodity Intelligence Report.

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