Ditch the meat, save the earth

Let’s put an end to all this nonsensical arguing about climate change. To quote a recent Facebook rant by Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I don’t give a damn if you believe in climate change. I couldn’t care less if you’re concerned about temperatures rising or melting glaciers. It doesn’t matter to me which of us is right about the science.

  • Jan. 25, 2016 12:58 p.m.
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Let’s put an end to all this nonsensical arguing about climate change.



To quote a recent Facebook rant by Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I don’t give a damn if you believe in climate change. I couldn’t care less if you’re concerned about temperatures rising or melting glaciers. It doesn’t matter to me which of us is right about the science.



“I just hope that you’ll join me in opening Door Number two, to a smarter, cleaner, healthier, more profitable energy future.”



You can’t argue with the Terminator.



It’s time to start thinking globally and acting locally in the fight to save our dying planet.



World leaders will likely reach a climate change deal at COP21 in Paris today.



Thankfully, this time around Canada has strongly backed the climate change measures to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said she wants “the Paris agreement to restrict planetary warming to just 1.5 Celsius warming — not two degrees.”



I can’t even imagine such a statement from a Canadian minister, especially over the last 10 years.



I applaud the Alberta government’s efforts with its newly introduced carbon tax aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and plan to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels — it’s a start.



But the most logical and profound thing to do for our planet right now is to adopt a vegan plant-based diet.



Raising animals for food is destroying our planet with its huge contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.



I know this is a hard pill to follow in Alberta, where agriculture is a major sector.



But the United Nations has repeatedly urged a global shift to animal-free diets to stave off world hunger, save water and to combat climate change.



The livestock sector accounts for 15 per cent of global emissions, equivalent to the exhaust emissions from all the vehicles in the world, according to Changing Climate, Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption, a new report from Chatham House.



“There has to be a global shift in meat consumption in order to limit the Earth’s warming below two degrees Celsius,” argues the same report.



The authors conclude that the appetite for meat and dairy is a major driver of climate change and the public awareness of the issue is quite low. According to the report, “global meat consumption has already reached unhealthy levels, and is on the rise.”



It is the fear of consumer backlash that seems to be preventing action.



It’s a theme echoed throughout Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, a 2014-released environmental documentary.



The documentary follows co-director Kip Anderson as he tries to get answers from environmental groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club about the impacts that animal agriculture has on the environment and why it is not a focal point in the climate change attack plans.



The American documentary also says the leading cause of global water consumption, habitat destruction and species extinction is animal agriculture.



Anderson says a farmer could produce 37,000 pounds of vegetables or 375 pounds of meat on the same one-and-a-half acre of land.



By simply eating a vegan diet one day of the week, a person would save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30-square-feet of forested land and one animal’s life.



I am not saying going vegan alone will save the Earth. Industries and countries must stop the dilly-dallying and act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through new industries and using solar and wind power technologies.



We need to take responsibility for our own actions. It’s great that you use cloth bags at the grocery store, only print when necessary and recycle your cans, glass and plastics.



It’s not enough.



Stop the unnecessary consumption of meat and its byproducts. It’s time to look at what’s on our plate and the repercussions.



Take it one meal or one day at a time.



crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com