eEarth Week Challenge: Day 2


Oh dear, what have I got myself into…

I’m amazed at what a little research can drag out into the open!

This is “my Day 2 post” to celebrate and reflect on “Earth Week”; to acknowledge and investigate how we [“I”] contribute successfully and not so successfully to a just, sustainability and peaceful planet.

I’ve been a vegetarian for around 20 years now.  It was never driven by some radical philosophical commitment or agenda, it just kind of happened over a period of time.  I started to meditate in 1989 and things started to change for me (in “good” ways); this included my diet. 

May be it was one to many rare steaks, it might have been the fact of living on my own, and the effort needed to buy and prepare meat entrées for meals that were just too complicated to cook or clean up.  I was never really into fish, I could not stand the bones, the smells or the exotic tastes.  First to go was red meat; then white, and finally “the crispy bacon”. 

With the exception of a few real (?) anchovies in a ceaser salad dressing, and the fact that I’m an Ovo-lacto-vegetarian [I consume milk products and eggs], I have never looked back!

I live in Whistler, B.C. a town that seems to consider itself “dialed” towards the whole sustainability conversation.  Like many controversial subjects like global warming, the peace process, the Kyoto protocol, and the idea of sustainability itself, there are a lot of discrepancies that exist in the subtext of these conversations. 

We struggle and suffer in life when we fail to examine the self engendered discrepancies that exist in our subtext, at thinking, being, having and doing level.  If you’re struggling, look for a discrepancy first; you’ll likely find and potentially facilitate a shift to a higher degree of clarity and congruence that will allow you to move forward to a new level of wellbeing and awareness previously unknown.

Here are some uncorroborated facts that I poached from the internet; sites that I will list below.  Please here me out; the purpose of this post is not to proselytize; the intention is to simply create awareness where there may be none; to reveal the subtext of a discrepancy in our thinking and behavior that has and will continue to elevate our suffering.

Here are a few disturbing facts:

According to a 2006 United Nations initiative, the livestock industry is considered one of the largest contributors of environmental destruction and water pollution.  There is a direct correlation between the live stock industry and in particular factory farming, with land degradation, loss of topsoil, climate change, over use of resources and the loss of bio diversity and water polution. [ W]

The livestock industry and factory farming in particular, contribute anywhere between a low of 18% [2206] to a high of 51% [2009] of all greenhouse gases in the form of Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous oxide and Methane gases.[P+W]

The EPA reports that 80% of ammonia emissions in the US come from animal waste. [P]

Methane gas has about 21 times more *global warming potential than carbon dioxide, while Nitrous oxide has 296 times more *GWP than Co2. [W]

A single dairy cow [ouch!] produces 19.3 lbs of volatile organic compounds per year, making it the largest source of smog-making gas.  2 lbs of beef produce more greenhouse gas emissions than driving a care for 3 hours.  This is equivalent to leaving the lights on in your house for the same amount of time. [P]

Raising animals for food generates more green house gases than cars and trucks combined. [P]

A person subsisting on meat protein diet requires any where from 5 to 10 times more land to provide adequate an food supply, compared to someone living on vegetable sources of protein. [P + W]

It has been estimated that 7 football fields worth of land are bulldozed every minutes to create room needed for farm raised animals. [P]

80% of the agricultural land in the United States of America is used to raise and feed the livestock industry. [P]

The raising of animal livestock is the primary source of our water consumption. [P]

A pig consumes approximately 21 gallons of water a day, but not as much as a dairy cow which consumes as much as 50 gallons a day [ouch!!!]. [P]

It takes approx 2400 gallons of water to produce a 16oz steak; compared to only 180 gallons for 1 lb of flour. [P] 

On fishing: Over fishing is a global disaster.  With present fish fleets 2 to 3 times bigger than is needed to fish our present level of catch of fish and other marine species, its no wonder that 80% of the worlds fisheries are fully-to-over exploited, depleted or in a state of collapse.

An extreme example of the ecological/economical impact is right at home off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, were in 1992 the once thriving fishing industry collapsed when the Cod failed to arrive.  Decades of overfishing and fisheries mismanagement caused 40,000 people to loose their livelihood… A total ban was introduced in 2003.  The ecosystem and affected communities are still in recovery. [OF]

It’s very clear that reducing or eliminating animal products from you diet will significantly reduce your ecological footprint. While the above information is unscientifically presented the information is strong enough to inform us of the discrepancies we have in thinking, being, having and doing, and the priorities that should be taken, when subjects like global warming and carbon dioxide emissions are thrown at you.

It is clear that there is no reason why people should starve in the world, where we have the potential to harvest 4+ times the production on existing agricultural land reserves.  It also begs the question: what will we do when developing countries and their populations shift from vegetarian based protein to meat based consumption as is statistically expected?

Happy eEarth Week?




 I’ve forwarded this post and invitation to a few of my blog buddies, “I” invite you to do the same.  For the next seven days, in your own unique, creative ways; whether that be images, words or ideas of your own or another’s; use your venue of choice [it could be your own home and the simplicity of your own awareness] to bring attention to this moment, our Earth, and the awareness that is needed for meaningful, lasting, significant change.

How can you play?

[Facebook, Twitter, Blog or email] Inspire change: Provide a commentary or link; create a question, image or article that stimulates awareness, conversation or understanding of “Earth Week”; and its intention to continue to promote and bring awareness towards creating a just, sustainable and peaceful planet.

Forward this challenge to your own friends or readers.


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