An Undigested Truth

Years after An Inconvenient Truth burst the cozy bubble of climate-change-ignorance, the struggle continues to find solutions which are both sustainable and have policy makers, and civilian buy- in.

So we now look for smaller cars, hug bicyclists and shun gas guzzlers. Some of us may even be heeding dad’s old reprimand to turn a few dozen lights off when you leave the room…we have even risked poisoning ourselves to have the most Earth friendly lighbulbs (yes, they have traces of mercury in them…) Bringing your own bags has become fashionable, and profitable. People have come to a general agreement that littering is bad, and producers of smog, CO2 and other climate changing gases are the new adversary.

After the Northeast saw a record 70 degrees on Christmas day, after the West coast has been battling drought and fires for a few years, and after record freezing temperatures in the Midwest, not to mention ice storms, increasing record hot years etc. we are finally realizing…the weather has been a tad bit screwy of late…

What if we have overlooked something. Something big. Something that has a greater impact than a heap of lightbulbs, SUVs and Earth friendly shopping bags…

What if the real answer is in the kitchen?

The REAL truth is not just inconvenient, it is hard for most to swallow. We have not yet fully digested that the largest source of climate changing greenhouse gases comes from the modern farming industry.

A diet as high in meat protein as that consumed by U.S. and other countries is unsustainable. To produce more meat protein, the “farm” business has gone through drastic measures to streamline production. Since the 1960’s the industry has done to the farm what the early industrial revolution did to the process of making garments. In case its been a long time since history class, here is a reminder: overcrowded factories, inhumane labor conditions, profits for some, detrimental conditions for others.

Only this time it isn’t a tenement filled with 12 year olds who are in danger of injury or fire because of greedy initiatives to produce more, better, faster…it is the entire planet.

The Undigested Truth is that the meat on your plate no longer comes from the idyllic countryside farm (if you think your meat was produced on the set of Babe think again!) The meat on your plate is coming from a system that destroys the natural sources of animal feed (land on which animals used to graze) and in return has demolished acres of rainforest in Brazil and other areas to plant corn and soy, to feed animals, to become food.

That’s right. Tearing up rainforest to plant food for animals who will never see the light of day, who are intentionally deformed (de-beeked, branded, fed antibiotics and hormones leading to overgrowth) who are kept in conditions which would be considered inhumane were it for any other purpose than consumption, and profit.

So back to the environment. In the name of efficiency, we have begun overbreeding, oversized, overworked animals whose biological waste has created health hazards for communities as well as the environment. Cows in particular produce are a source of methane. To make matters worse, the inhumane ways in which we have begun keeping these animals (barely) alive requires destruction of land thousands of miles away to grow food to be shipped back, to feed the animals whose biological processes create methane and other climate changing gases.

Even assuming you love the American diet so much that the suffering of animals did not matter to you (which I assume is not the case) the mere process of putting a burger on your plate is putting the planet at risk. Researchers are now saying that if everyone in America eliminated chicken from their diet one meal per week,   it would be the equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road according to the group Environmental Defense.

Livestock’s Long Shadow, a report by the U.N. states that meat production contributes to more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation industry. (Almost 40 % more).

Modern industrial farming is taxing the world’s natural resources at a rate that is completely unsustainable and unnecessary. We could feed starving populations with the amount of food needed to keep meat in the fridge.

Unfortunately a very powerful industry is trying to make sure you don’t know the truth. The meat industry took Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo productions to court for stating that the truth about industrial farming practices made her not want to eat another burger. Creator of documentary film Cowspiracy, Kip Anderson, faced threats and intimidation tactics to try to scare him away from completing his film. Just this year the US passed the “Ag Gag” bill now prohibiting any capture of footage inside meat production locations.

What are they trying to hide?