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Heat and MeatEuropeans are falling apart in sizzling heat and don’t know what’s hit them. Many walk around in a state of sweaty trance. More than 52,000 Europeans died from heat in 2003 alone. Yes, inhabitants of other parts of the world have to cope with even more extreme weather conditions but the Scandinavians traditionally know how to deal with ice and snow and Africans have over generations learned to cope with heat.
Those living in hitherto moderate climates are stunned: Why are our towns and villages suddenly turning into furnaces? Will these temperatures hit Europe year after year in the foreseeable future? And if so, do these extreme conditions with up to 40 degrees in the shade represent proof that the much-feared global warming really has set in?
Disaster dressed up as lamb: Meat
There is no shortage of theories; a dazzling variety of explanations is floating around, but so far one particular topic has never officially been addressed in this frightening context: meat.
Even though the ecological price for the ‘production’ of the bloody stuff is phenomenal, it certainly does not get addressed in the glitzy buildings of the European Union or United Nation Agencies. In spite of the fact that some scientists of great renown and a growing number of environmental groups dare to address the issue, the meat-connection is ignored with thundering silence in the community of politicians and decision makers.
One may be forgiven to wonder why meat, a proven major factor in the destruction of the environment, is never discussed. Is the reason for this remarkable and wondrous tactfulness a fear of putting consumers off their steaks?
If so, is it really responsible not to inform Mrs. Smith about alternatives to a diet, the destructive ecological consequence of which raises its ugly head a bit higher every day? Why is Mrs. Smith led to believe that there is just one method of feeding herself and her children, namely by making meat the main feature of everyday meals? What’s worse is that even when the caring mother starts getting some doubts about the value of meat in the light of animal diseases and the horrible threats these represent, officials go out of their way to disperse any fears she may have by shouting from the roof tops the same old litany that “meat is safe”. Whoever doubts these meat-trumpets of Rome and Brussels will certainly not find any assistance, let alone blessing, from FAO or EU in the quest for meatless lifestyles.
Political and social bodies everywhere and, of course, the international meat industry do not dream of conceiving that another way to feed the world exists other than the one of raising and killing many billions of sentient beings year after year.
And what about the ecological destruction brought about by this process? Official statements, drafted in elegant and well chosen phrases, boil actually down to ‘Yes there are problems connected to animal farming but that’s just too bad! The taxpayer is going to fix it.’
Vegetarians want one holy cow slaughtered: Meat
Vegetarianism is not a fad or hype. From time immemorial people have lived without consuming meat and even today some hundred million people refuse to eat animal corpses – and they are thriving. A multitude of studies and research results confirm the positive effects of such a compassionate lifestyle on human health.
But there are other benefits which go far beyond the advantages for the individual:
Huge regions of our planet are being destroyed for the production of meat, including 40% of all rainforest in Central America, which has been cleared or burned down within the last 40 years. This reckless and brutal destruction would cease and the land could be given back to nature, providing ‘green lungs’ for humans and wholesome habitats for animals.
Harvested grain and pulses etc. could be used for humans and not, as is international policy now, be fed to slaughter animals, requiring 7 - 16 kg of grain or soya beans for just one kilo of meat. (In the USA today, 8 billion slaughter animals eat their way through 80% of the grain harvest. 90% of the world’s soya beans serve as animal fodder).
No more water would be wasted on the production of meat: One could shower every day for a year with the same amount of water needed to produce just one single kilo of meat.
The global hunger problem could be alleviated or even solved: The land needed to produce one kilo of meat today would be available to grow 200 kg of tomatoes or 160 kg of potatoes tomorrow. Note: One billion humans could be saved from starvation if Americans ate just 10% less meat.
The oceans would not be emptied of life any longer, leading not only to teeming biodiversity but also to intact coral and mangrove systems which offer efficient protection against tsunamis and other natural disasters.
Once the air, the land and the oceans are not ruined any more by rivers of liquid manure, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, ammonia emissions, nitrates, and mountains of animal excrements, all earthlings would be offered the privilege of a clean environment for a healthy life.
Scientist, callers in the meat-desert?
The head of the Wuppertal-Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker stated: «Cattle breeding’s contribution to the greenhouse effect is about the same as that of all automobile traffic, if we take into consideration the clearing of forests for cattle and for fodder. [...] And the transformation of savannas into deserts, the erosion of mountain areas, the excessive need of water for cattle, and the gigantic energy requirement for keeping animals fattened are simply added reasons why we damage the environment further with each additional pound of beef.»
Why do national and international decision makers not listen to Professor von Weizsaecker and his peers?
Why is no explanation daring enough to be discussed regarding the present greenhouse threat - except the very obvious meat-connection?
Why does the burger-&-steak-street remain taboo?
The Encyclopedia Britannica writes about ‘Science’(Lat. scientia, from scire, to learn, know): ‘A word which, in its broadest sense, is synonymous with learning and knowledge’.
So any public request that the disastrous impacts of meat production be researched scientifically and unbiased results be included in the debate about global warming is not an unreasonable one to make.
Meat, the ultimate insult
Today governments do not provide scientific and comprehensive information on healthy vegetarian nutrition for those who are looking for better ways to eat.
Healthy alternatives to meat are ignored officially.
Vegetarians are made accomplices to a situation they abhor deeply: Their tax money is wasted to subsidize factory farming leading to mass misery and mass killings, and irreversible degradation of soil, air and water.
And to add insult to injury – the question of what consequence the enormous number of killings does have on our earth is not even debated in any political forum whatsoever.
Link: James Lovelock: Environment in crisis: 'We are past the point of no return'
Link: The Ecological Consequences of Meat Consumption