Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 18, 2013

Reducing meat consumption can help ease climate change

A review of 12,000 papers on climate change, in the May 15 issue of “Environmental Research Letters,” found that 97 percent of scientists attribute climate change to human activities.

Although we’re unlikely to reverse climate change, we can mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, energy use, and meat consumption.

Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.

Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is generated by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport, and slaughter animals.

The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.Each of us has the power to reduce the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat.

Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch meats, hotdogs, veggie burgers and soy and nut-based dairy products, as well as an ample selection of vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts.

Product lists, easy recipes, and transition tips are at www.livevegan.org.

Calvin Cowan

Cumberland

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