LONDON: Going the vegetarian way can help to tackle the problem of global warming apart from its known health benefits to human, according to a climate expert.
“Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better,” Lord Stern of Brentford said.
“Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas,” he said.
Lord Stern, author of the 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.
“I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,” he said.
A former chief economist at the World Bank, Stern warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about £ 3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the impact of climate change.
Speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change, Lord Stern admitted that he himself is not a strict vegetarian.
Video found at CNN.com
According to the U.N., going vegetarian would have a positive impact on climate change. Watch the video here.
Indian beef production is predicted to increase by 5% in 2009. This is reported to be due to strong export demand and rising domestic consumption (ZMP and Brazilian Meat Monitor).
According to reports, production of mainly buffalo meat is set to rise to approximately 2.7 million tonnes. Around a third of production (850,000 tonnes) is predicted to be exported, mainly to South East Asia and the Gulf states. In such markets where Australian and Indian product co-exist, Australian beef faces considerable price competition from Indian buffalo beef.
There is major potential for India to significantly increase production because of the current low level of technology across the supply chain. Currently, India is considered the world’s third biggest beef exporter in terms of volume, behind Brazil and Australia.
By Kate Wilson, The New York Times
A few months after Lloyd reported on the Swiss government’s conclusion that plants have rights, the Ecuadorian population went one step further and voted to change their constitution to proclaim that nature has “the right to the maintenance and regeneration of its vital cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.”
The New York Times felt that the Ecuadorian concept of plants’ rights was significant enough to include it in their 8th Annual Year in Ideas list. Enquire further to find out what this could mean for conservation efforts in the South American nation.
The precise scope of nature’s rights is unclear. Referring to Pachamama, an indigenous deity whose name roughly translates as “Mother Universe,” the text puts less emphasis on defending specific species than on the rights of ecosystems writ large. And it is uncertain how, exactly, a country as poor as Ecuador can protect those rights — though observers expect to see a raft of new lawsuits against oil and gas companies.
As Risen notes, it remains to be seen if ecosystems will become protected because of the constitutional changes, but what is clear is that the local population thinks it’s worth a try. Almost 70% of Ecuadorians voted in favor of protecting nature in this method.
Ecuador drafted the changes with the help of the U.S. based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. Along with it’s work in Ecuador, the Fund “has assisted more than a dozen local municipalities with drafting and adopting local laws recognizing Rights of Nature.” The basis of these rights “change the status of ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities.”
With a world economy, partially-based on the sanctity of property rights, in a nosedive it’s possible that radical ideas like this will take hold. We’ll watch with cautious optimism that other nations will follow the Ecuadorian lead to respect and protect our interconnected planet.
By Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine
Need another reason to feel guilty about feeding your children that Happy Meal — aside from the fat, the calories and that voice in your head asking why you can’t be bothered to actually cook a well-balanced meal now and then? Rajendra Pachauri would like to offer you one. The head of the U.N.’s Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Pachauri on Monday urged people around the world to cut back on meat in order to combat climate change. “Give up meat for one day [per week] at least initially, and decrease it from there,” Pachauri told Britain’s Observer newspaper. “In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity.” So, that addiction to pork and beef isn’t just clogging your arteries; it’s flame-broiling the earth, too.
Livestock production has a bigger climate impact than transport, the UN believes
People should consider eating less meat as a way of combating global warming, says the UN’s top climate scientist.
Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will make the call at a speech in London on Monday evening.
UN figures suggest that meat production puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than transport. But a spokeswoman for the UK’s National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said methane emissions from farms were declining.
Dr Pachauri has just been re-appointed for a second six-year term as chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC, the body that collates and evaluates climate data for the world’s governments.
“The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that direct emissions from meat production account for about 18% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions,” he told BBC News.
“So I want to highlight the fact that among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider.”
Climate of persuasion
The FAO figure of 18% includes greenhouse gases released in every part of the meat production cycle – clearing forested land, making and transporting fertiliser, burning fossil fuels in farm vehicles, and the front and rear end emissions of cattle and sheep.
The contributions of the three main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – are roughly equivalent, the FAO calculates.
Transport, by contrast, accounts for just 13% of humankind’s greenhouse gas footprint, according to the IPCC.
Dr Pachauri will be speaking at a meeting organised by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), whose main reason for suggesting people lower their consumption of meat is to reduce the number of animals in factory farms.
CIWF’s ambassador Joyce D’Silva said that thinking about climate change could spur people to change their habits.
“The climate change angle could be quite persuasive,” she said.
“Surveys show people are anxious about their personal carbon footprints and cutting back on car journeys and so on; but they may not realise that changing what’s on their plate could have an even bigger effect.”
There are various possibilities for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming animals.
They range from scientific approaches, such as genetically engineering strains of cattle that produce less methane flatus, to reducing the amount of transport involved through eating locally reared animals.
“The NFU is committed to ensuring farming is part of the solution to climate change, rather than being part of the problem,” an NFU spokeswoman told BBC News.
“We strongly support research aimed at reducing methane emissions from livestock farming by, for example, changing diets and using anaerobic digestion.”
Methane emissions from UK farms have fallen by 13% since 1990.
But the 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.
Ms D’Silva believes that governments negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol ought to take these factors into account.
“I would like governments to set targets for reduction in meat production and consumption,” she said.
“That’s something that should probably happen at a global level as part of a negotiated climate change treaty, and it would be done fairly, so that people with little meat at the moment such as in sub-Saharan Africa would be able to eat more, and we in the west would eat less.”
Dr Pachauri, however, sees it more as an issue of personal choice.
“I’m not in favour of mandating things like this, but if there were a (global) price on carbon perhaps the price of meat would go up and people would eat less,” he said.
“But if we’re honest, less meat is also good for the health, and would also at the same time reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”
Article found at Permaworld Foundation
The meat industry is one of the most destructive ecological industries on the planet. The raising and slaughtering of pigs, cows, sheep, turkeys and chickens not only utilizes vast areas of land and vast quantities of water, but it is a greater contributor to greenhouse gas emissions than the automobile industry. The seafood industry is literally plundering the ocean of life and some fifty percent of fish caught from the oceans is fed to cows, pigs, sheep, chickens etc in the form of fish meal. It also takes about fifty fish caught from the sea to raise one farm raised salmon.
We have turned the domestic cow into the largest marine predator on the planet. The hundreds of millions of cows grazing the land and farting methane consume more tonnage of fish than all the world’s sharks, dolphins and seals combined. Domestic housecats consume more fish, especially tuna, than all the world’s seals.
So why is it that all the world’s large environmental and conservation groups are not campaigning against the meat industry? Why did Al Gore’s film Inconvenient Truth not mention the inconvenient truth that the slaughter industry creates more greenhouse gases than the automobile industry? (more…)
Filed under: Education, Environmental Politics, Morality, The Mother of Science
by Jayadvaita Swami
Twenty years ago, no one gave a damn. You could gum up a river with factory sludge, chop down rain forests wholesale, spray fluorocarbons into the air like a kid sprinkling confetti, and no one would say boo.
No longer. Grade-school kids want to grow up to be ecologists. New York tycoons sort their trash to recycle. Rock singers play concerts to save prairies and wetlands. Political candidates tell us they’re worried about the fate of the three-toed baboon.
Caring about the environment helps you feel good about yourself. At the supermarket you choose paper instead of plastic. You write your thank-you notes on cards made from ground-up newsprint and cotton waste. You chip in a few dollars for Greenpeace. Hey, you care about the earth. You’re a righteous human being.
Yet too often our concern for the earth lacks a metaphysical grounding. Intuitively, living in harmony with the earth feels right. If the earth is the house we’re going to live in, why litter the rooms with beer cans or pee all over the carpet?
But in an ultimate sense, so what? If life is just a series of chemical reactions, what does it matter if the chemicals go messy? Species come and species go. Why get all mushy and teary-eyed if a few berserk bipeds wipe out some hundred thousand kinds of their neighbors? The earth may be our mother, but sooner or later she’s going to blow to atomic dusting powder anyway. And from a cosmic point of view that’s just a few mega-moments down the line. So why all the fuss?
You can say it’s for our children, it’s for future generations. But they’re also just a flash in eternity. Why bother for them?
Guardians of the green remind us urgently that dirtying and devouring the earth is short-sighted. But to be far-sighted we have to look beyond what seems clean, pleasant, and harmonious on a physical spot of earth on a brief ride through the universe. We have to ask ourselves not only how well we’re treating the earth but why we’re on it and where we are ultimately going.
Otherwise, though ecologically aware, we’re metaphysically dead.
Article found at Alliance of Religions & Conservation
Hindu groups and the Orissa government agreed to re-establish the state’s sacred forests to provide sustainably-managed wood for the annual festival of Lord Jagannath.
The centrepiece of the ancient festival is the building and parading of three huge chariots – after which the English word “juggernaut” is named. These are made with timber from 20 local tree species and after the ceremony, the wood is distributed to local villages and used to fuel temple kitchens.
But over the centuries inadequate forest management has gradually led to a significant loss of trees. The implication both for the festival and the natural environment is serious.
The forests are rich in resources, but their proper management requires the co-operation of the people who live in and around them.
The Sacred Gift builds on the people’s devotion to Lord Jagannath – a devotion that has been a key element of Orissan culture for at least 2000 years – and aims to set up three forest conservation zones, each incorporating about ten villages sited in state-owned forest lands.
Since 2000 each village has had a Forest Protection Committee to promote joint forest management based around practical incentives and employment schemes.
In 2001 the local communities developed a management plan in collaboration with ARC.
By mid-2007 2369 hectares were earmarked for plantation under the Shri Jagannath Vana Prakalpa Forest Project. See link to learn more about this project and the management of Jagannath Forest.
The project sets an important precedent for other Hindu groups to extend their involvement in environmental matters. It also encourages the Orissa State Government to incorporate traditional cultural and religious practices into their forest activities – which are vital to the state’s economy.
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Suta Gosvāmī said: After reaching that place, Maharaja Pariksit observed that a lower-caste sudra, dressed like a king, was beating a cow and a bull with a club, as if they had no owner.
The principal sign of the age of Kali Yuga is that lower-caste śūdras, i.e., men without brahminical culture and spiritual initiation, will be dressed like administrators or kings, and the principal business of such non-ksatriya rulers will be to kill the innocent animals, especially the cows and the bulls, who shall be unprotected by their masters, the bona fide vaiśyas, the mercantile community. In the Bhagavad-gita (18.44), it is said that the vaiśyas are meant to deal in agriculture, cow protection and trade. In the age of Kali, the degraded vaiśyas, the mercantile men, are engaged in supplying cows to slaughterhouses. The kṣatriyas are meant to protect the citizens of the state, whereas the vaiśyas are meant to protect the cows and bulls and utilize them to produce grains and milk. The cow is meant to deliver milk, and the bull is meant to produce grains. But in the age of Kali, the sudra class of men are in the posts of administrators, and the cows and bulls, or the mothers and the fathers, unprotected by the vaiśyas, are subjected to the slaughterhouses organized by the sudra administrators.