Being here for 12 hours a day and listening to such a wide variety of speakers is a lot of information to handle. However, yesterday I took away a powerful, clear message that will stick with me for a long time:
We must learn the difference between NEED and WANT. We must also learn the difference between GREED and ABUNDANCE. We need to do more than be advocates for climate change; we need to change the way we live.
After listening to a talk by (THE) Al Gore yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit in on a very small discussion with presentations from Christiana Wyly from the Avatar Alliance Foundation, the Senior Research Fellow Antony Froggatt from the Chatham House, a woman from the Humane Society International and Mary Louise Malig from the Global Forest Coalition. Here are a few highlights from the talk:
Animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5% of manmade greenhouse gas emissions. This includes all production of land based animals. The cycle known as the Forest to Fork cycle is broken up like this:
40% Cow and Sheep Farts and Burps
2% Energy Use
36% Animal Feed Production
10% Manure (Methane and Nitrous Oxide)
3% Transport and Processing
If this cycle continues at these high percentages and a change is not made there is no possible way we can stay under the projected 2 degrees C temperature increase.
Livestock uses 75% of global agricultural land and 23% croplands in the world.
Reducing the consumption of animal foods is absolutely critical to help mitigate climate change.
HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL (HIS) is one of the largest animal protection agencies around the world. This society works within all levels of government to work toward a policy that will INCREASE protection of animals from all the harmful impacts of climate change.
The cruelty and reality of how animals are treated for human consumption is absolutely mind blowing and I was sincerely disgusted by these harsh realities at the end of this talk.
75 BILLION Animals are raised globally for human consumption.
For their entire life the animals are restricted in crates and are virtually immobilized because they cannot move. Imagine yourself getting off into an airport that is severely crowded and trying to make your way through, that is how these animals are confined their entire lives with no escape at all. This is both harmful and cruel.
Having knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes of food consumption and production is taking into consideration an entire chain of events and not just the final product we see on our plates every day.
WE CAN HELP. No matter how small the action is we all need to work together to solve this animal agricultural problem so we can sustain food security for future generations.
The Meatless Monday campaign consists of leaving meat off your plates once a week on Mondays. This is being practiced throughout the US and in schools around Los Angeles specifically. I personally plan to encourage fellow friends and classmates on campus to participate in Meatless Mondays as well.
There are several solutions to this type of animal cruelty, we need to create innovative ways to address unsustainable demand and we must evaluate, enhance, and safeguard animal welfare.
Not only are the animals being treated poorly, humans are also exposed to this type of agriculture. The intensive livestock of chickens and eggs threatens the safety conditions of the people and the animals. This situation revolves around 4 things:
1. Food Security and Hunger
2. Animal Welfare and Rights
3. Equity and Power
4. Human and Environmental Rights
This part really got to me emotionally, the slaughter houses of chickens and the communities and villages surrounding them are living in such poor conditions. The flies are all over their living areas and the air quality is not at a safe level. Broken down the explanation is simple, money. The markets make money off of animal agriculture and broken down this past year as follows:
1.5 billion dollars in eggs
7.3 billion dollars in pig meat
15.3 billion dollars in milk
6.5 billion dollars in poultry
18.0 billion dollars in beef and veal
1.1 billion dollars in sheep
The new “climate-smart agriculture” is supposed to reduce emissions and address the hunger issues. We are acknowledging that climate change and the extreme weather is destroying crops and livelihood. We need to grow more food on LESS land, and use crops and techniques that are resilient to the flash floods and droughts throughout the world.
Policy needs to realize that the peasants and indigenous people in the communities are not slave workers who just feed the market — they are people; it is essential we begin to feed the world in a healthy and organic way!