Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The only diet to ensure survival of humans and the planet

The only diet to ensure survival of humans and the planet

It is sometimes difficult to take oneself out of the present time in order to look at the full picture of our life from all angles.  Historians are able to do this for lives and times past from the benefit of hindsight.  They can explain why a situation might have happened or how a difficulty could have been avoided.

Looking back, we can see that the predominant focus of First World countries during the 20th century has been economic growth, accumulation of possessions and extraction of the world’s resources.  Major consequences have been social discord, environmental degradation and war.  We can also see that these trends have driven us now to a dangerous tipping point for our planet. 

Despite the hope that we can carry on as before and that the Earth will somehow cope, some scientists are now waking up to the real situation on the planet.  No one knows the day when global warming will cause the release of massive amounts of methane and other poisonous gases into the atmosphere from deep under the Earth’s lakes and oceans.  If this happens, mass extinction of life on this planet, including us humans, will take place.    
Whilst we still have a chance let us have a look at what could be done to stop this happening.

A lot is blamed on carbon dioxide gas and it is true that it is a major contributory factor to global warming.  But the breaking down of carbon dioxide gas takes a very long time and at this critical stage we do not have time to wait for this process if we are to stop the melting of the ice sheets and glaciers around the world.  Also, government laws and commitments to produce less carbon dioxide take a long time to be put into effect.  Right now we need to look at other gases which contribute to global warming, and more importantly, what we as individuals can do about them.

It is now scientifically proven that the livestock industry is the largest greenhouse gas emitter.  Five years ago the United Nations published a memorandum stating that the livestock industry emits more greenhouse gases than the world’s entire transport system.  Methane gas is the primary gas emitted by raising livestock and has a much higher heat trapping ability than carbon dioxide.  Although methane is a stronger greenhouse gas, it has a much shorter life than carbon dioxide which takes thousands of  years to break down.  Therefore eliminating methane by stopping livestock production is the fastest way to cool the planet.  To stop raising animals for food must be our top priority in order for our species to have any chance of survival. 
What we eat is no longer a matter of personal choice but is a responsibility we all owe to ourselves and future generations. 

There are many fundamental benefits we could achieve by not eating meat.  Global problems such as water scarcity and world hunger would be eliminated.  We would save the Amazon and other rainforests from further deforestation, currently increasing in order to provide land for cattle, and so preserve the lungs of the Earth.  Massive amounts of land which are used to raise livestock would be freed up for the more efficient growing of vegetables and other crops which in turn also absorb more carbon dioxide.  The huge amount of money that the countries of the world are pledging to fight global warming could be saved by simply replacing livestock with plants.  We already have the technology to grow crops - we do not need to spend billions on technology that may or may not reduce global warming in many years time.  Even earthquakes would lessen.  If the ice melting at the poles and beneath Greenland is halted the pressure beneath the Earth’s plates would be reduced and therefore earthquake occurrence would be rarer.

Another potential major benefit we could expect is vast improvement in hospital services and treatment because massive amounts of funds would be saved from not having to treat diseases related to meat eating such as obesity, coronary problems, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and major flu pandemics such as bird flu and swine flu.  Meat is potentially the most unhealthy, unhygienic item of food that could ever be ingested by humans.

There needs to be mention too of the filthy and cruel conditions and confined environments where animals are kept until their slaughter.  When slaughtered, a huge amount of energy is spent on ultra-rapid chilling systems, and preservatives are needed to stop the dead flesh from rotting before it reaches our household in small, neat packages from the supermarket that hide the truth about the suffering and the sad story of a once-living animal. 

The real price of the global meat industry, without subsidies, financially, energetically and environmentally, is hidden.  Please think it all through for yourself.  Millions of people are succumbing to meat related diseases while millions of others are dying of hunger because the land and crops are being used to feed up livestock for the West and increasingly for the East.  Millions are becoming homeless due to rising sea levels and we all are already suffering the consequences of pollution and global warming.  We seem to be heading fast to the point of no return. Our question is:  “Can planet Earth survive the human race?”  Chief  Sealth (1786-1866) of the Duwamish League, reminds us: “Earth does not belong to man, it is man who belongs to the Earth.” In order to solve the great problem that we are facing right now we have to reverse our unwise actions of the past.  As Albert Einstein said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

Vegetarianism/veganism is sustainable and has the ability to save our world and us.
The brilliant news about this is that we don’t need to wait until governments put laws into action like they did for drugs, drinking and smoking.  We all, as individuals, can start straight away - the next time you feel hungry, choose a plant based meal.  If we all made this choice each time we felt hungry we would surely stop global warming, eradicate world hunger, feel healthy and positive about ourselves and in time we would stop war, promote peace and offer a future to the next generation.

The vegetarian diet is our answer because we will be able to step out into a peaceful future on planet Earth which has innumerable advantages for everyone and finally we can be who we truly are described to be in Vedas and spiritual scripts; compassionate, wise and beautiful beings befitting the name “Crown of the Creation”.

Agnes Schmitz  16.9.2011

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