Summit Daily letters: A plant-based diet a good start to fighting global climate change
August 10, 2018
A plant-based diet a good start to fighting global climate change
With scorching heat and raging wildfires in the West and torrential downpours and massive flooding in the East, global warming is not just about a gentle sea rise any more. These tragic consequences of dumping greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, call for drastic remedies.
For starters, we should re-join the Paris Climate Accords and actually become a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One of the most effective ways is by changing our diet.
Yes, that. Last fall, Oxford University's prestigious Food Climate Research Network concluded that solving the global warming catastrophe requires a massive shift to a plant-based diet. A 2010 United Nations report blamed animal agriculture for 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 70 percent of freshwater use and 38 percent of land use.
Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by transporting animals. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.
In an environmentally sustainable world, we must replace meat and dairy products in our diet with vegetables, fruits and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels with wind, solar and other pollution-free energy sources.
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Let's start with our next supermarket visit.
In the fires of hell
This week, in a USA Today Op-Ed, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, "The buildup of fuels is the condition we can and must reverse through active forest management like prescribed burns, mechanical thinning and timber harvests." Accurately, he described a catastrophic situation.
"There are currently about 100 wildfires burning across the west, forcing tens (not ten but 20) thousands of people to evacuate. Many have lost all but the clothes on their backs … We've lost friends and neighbors, including firefighters who lost everything to respond to the call to duty. Their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten."
Thank you Secretary Zinke for describing what others could call the "fires of hell." It's good you realize how much suffering is happening to help bring relief. But it's beyond comprehension that you don't understand the history that has produced these catastrophes. It's idiotic that you are naming inadequate forest management and blaming environmentalists as the cause. A man of your title, experience, education and position has absolutely no business making up his own interpretation of the causes unless you accept the truths of the 70-year history of burning fossil fuels. Human-caused climate change is all of our fault and all of our problem. In 1979-89, we ignored the predictions, the harmful effects when we could have solved the problems. Now we have an inferno. I call it the truth, the fires of hell. We are running out of time. What are you going to do now to save our planet, our children and grandchildrens' futures?
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