Frankenstorm Sandy is one more dramatic demonstration that climate change and its extreme weather patterns are now part of our future. Although we’re unlikely to reverse climate change, we can still mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, our energy use, and our meat consumption.
Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 UN report estimated that meat cosumption accounts for 18% of manmade greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50%.
Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport, and slaughter animals and to refrigerate their carcasses.
The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.
We have the power of reducing the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch “meats,” hot dogs, veggie burgers, soy- and nut-based dairy products (including cheese and ice cream), and an ample selection of traditional vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts. Product lists, easy recipes, and transition tips are available at www.livevegan.org.