Updated: Aug 7, 2020
There’s logic to this. Stick with me….
But before I get stuck in, I just want to be clear, I have no beef (pun intended) with immigration. With a top heavy population and huge corporate tax loopholes we need all the taxes we can get to help support our NHS, and in the words of Groove Armada, “If everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other”.
I could talk more on this but that’s for another day. Now, where was I?
McDonalds is the biggest ‘restaurant’ in the world. On any given day they feed one percent of the global population, about seventy million people. People need to eat, but ...
Big livestock accounts for 25 to 30 percent of global emissions and the World Bank states that cattle ranching has been behind almost 90 percent of forest clearances in Brazil since the 1970s.
82% of our global farmland goes into industrial agriculture but only provides 18% of the world's calories.
Because we need so much farming land to grow grain to feed animals before we feed on them.
Producing just one hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles and collectively the world’s top five meat and dairy corporations are now responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than ExxonMobil, Shell, or BP.
The world has warmed by more than 1°C since the industrial revolution, and the Paris agreement has been put in place to keep us south of 2ºC, but projections put us on track to reach 3°C. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes we will get to 1.5ºC by 2038 and 2ºC ten years after that.
Unfortunately a 2ºC increase in global temperature doesn’t mean that you’ll get guaranteed sun for your staycation in Skegness or Southend on Sea.
It means food and water shortages.
It takes one thousand gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk. To put this into perspective, that’s 12.8 baths.
It takes 2,500 gallons of water to make one pound of beef. Two thousand five hundred.
That’s 32 baths!
Growing water shortages make animal agriculture unsustainable.
A report from the IPCC, written by more than a hundred scientists from around the globe, warns us to expect very high levels of instability in our food chains once we reach plus 2ºC. Africa has already reached 2 degrees of climate change, has been in drought for 5 years, and 45 million people are going hungry. A person in the US emits more CO2 in 2 weeks than a person in Africa emits in a year. Africa is suffering the consequences of our entitled western diets. Who will be doing Live AID for us if we face the same shortages?
It means acidic oceans.
A rise in global temperatures means our oceans heat up and become more acidic, which causes it to lose oxygen destroying sea life. This is good news for jelly fish who thrive with less oxygen, not so good for fast swimmers like tuna. Jelly fish steak, anyone?
It means flooding.
Another carbon sponge we are mistreating with industrial agriculture is our soil. Rotational farming methods that have been used for thousands of years enable the soil to act as a natural flood defence, soaking up water and CO2. When we add chemicals and pesticides and over work the land, the water lies on top, which leads to flooding. Those pesticides then end up back in our water supply adding to the acidity we just talked about. What a tangled web we weave ...
It means melting ice caps.
Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than it was in the 1990s. On August 1st 2019 it saw its biggest ever ice loss - 12.5 billion tons in a single day. That’s enough to put a Florida sized landmass five inches deep in water.
Siberia reached temperatures of 100ºF in July. Average Siberian temperatures in July are 65ºF.
Fires have been raging, which aside from releasing massive amounts of CO2 and devastating natural habitats, also heats up the soil that insulates permafrost (some of which has been frozen for millennia) until it’s too warm to keep it frozen. National Geographic states that “Nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere's landmass sits above permafrost. Trapped in this frozen soil and vegetation is more than twice the carbon found in the atmosphere. As fossil-fuel burning warms the Earth, this ground is thawing, releasing carbon dioxide and shorter-lived methane, which is 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2.”
It means rising sea levels.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP 25 that the last time the temperature was between 2 and 3°C warmer than now was between 3 and 5 million years ago, and sea levels were 10 to 20 metres higher than they are now.
Which means human displacement.
New research in the Nature Communications Journal estimates that 150 million people live on land that will be below water in 2050.
Which means immigration.
At the aforementioned UN Conference COP25, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said political will has been lacking to prevent us reaching 1.5ºC and global efforts are “utterly inadequate”
So the reality is we need to get on with this ourselves and not wait to be told what to do by leaders and the media who are looking the other way, no doubt distracted by backhanderers from meat and fossil fuel lobbyists.
Global businesses are illustrating how cutting out the middleman means we get more bang for our buck. Amazon is the most well known version of taking out the middleman successfully. Another is Uber.
Eating protein directly from the land instead of putting it through a cow/sheep/chicken is a sure fire way to save money, save your health, and save the planet.
“If people just eat a little bit less red meat, it can lead to a big reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” says James Gerber, co-director and lead scientist of the Global Landscapes Initiative at the University of Minnesota. A plant-based diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq. ft. of forested land, the equivalent of 20 lbs. of CO2, and one animal’s life every day.
If the climate scientists are right about timelines, now is the time to change the discussion from ‘how will this affect our unborn grandchildren’, to ‘will my kids be able to eat’?
If you are joining the current debate and berating those that don’t wear masks in public, you have signed up to the idea that each and every one of us makes a difference.
Eat your greens. Eat green.