Thursday, October 2, 2014

Concerned About Climate Change? Part Two

- By Jerol Kennedy

My last article on climate change reviewed the Green Sanctuary Team’s exercise,“Where am I on the Climate Change Continuum of the American Public” (see the Beacon article, Jan. 2014 for full information) in which the overwhelming majority (86%) of the congregation who responded reported being “Alarmed” about climate change.

The report issued in 2006 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2002 statistics warned that the livestock sector represents 14.5% of global human induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. From 2002 to 2009 the weight of livestock products worldwide increased by 12% WHICH yielded a proportional increase in GHG emissions. When the lifecycle and supply chain (for example) are factored in, livestock related deforestation and farmed fish, which is up to half the annual catch of marine organisms, were not counted in the 2002 FAO report, the direct and indirect influences raises the percentage to least 51% of annual worldwide GHG emissions. (Livestock and Climate Change, world watch November/December 2009

Percentage carbon dioxide attributable to livestock undercounted or overlooked in the 14.5.% figure are the following:
  • Respiration by livestock         13.7
  • Overlooked land use                  4.2
  • Undercounted methane            7.9
Other four categories (too long to go into considering the limits of this article – see text in referenced article)
  • Misallocated in current GHG inventories 4.7

Wonderful veggie picture courtesy of Be Well Barron County,
the website for Barron County, WI

“Shifting from a red meat and dairy to a plant based diet just one day a week reduces greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to driving about one thousand miles less per year” (Animal Agriculture One of the Largest Contributors to Global Warming, UN Body Reaffirms) (2013//09/FAO climate change).

Meatless Mondays is an easy, healthy, and delicious way to help mitigate climate change. Consuming meat analogs such as soy and seitan (wheat gluten) and dairy analogs such as soy cheese, milk and ice cream is an attractive alternative as these products taste similar, aare easier to cook and healthier. (You can also make your own cheese and dairy,” Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Skinner).

A plant based diet has the added benefit of alleviating the global water crisis as the enormous amount of water used for livestock production would be freed up.

Reducing animal products would have a quick reduction of GHG and also reverse the ongoing world food and water crisis. The use of fossil fuels must be reduced also to be sure, but tjat takes time to build the infrastructure, a lot of time, and we don’t have a lot of time. A plant based diet in addition to the development of renewable energy, has an immediate impact and can start right now with the food choices we make.

Meatless Monday
This information brings us to an initiative we would like to start at our church, joining with a global campaign to eliminating animal products from our diets for just one day a week. This would make  an enormous difference  in our carbon footprint/on climate change.

Below are some websites to help us along in doing this needed action.

Addendum: It is to be noted that the statistics in this article may not be precise due to the unavoidable changing conditions in what is being measured. But, they are the best possible within our current abilities.
The word “meat” in this article also includes fish and poultry.

Jerol Kennedy
Green Sanctuary Planning Team

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