AN OPEN LETTER FROM PAUL- 14.01.2008
A recently published UN report has come to my attention. This report contains information that I, personally, find quite amazing and I?d like to share it with you. The report (Livestock?s Long Shadow) contains one clear message; it states that the single most effective act that any individual can currently do to lessen the effects of global warming is to become vegetarian. That this message comes directly from an authoritative body such as the UN (whose member states, it should be remembered, are not generally considered vegetarian) rather than an organisation committed to vegetarianism is significant.
You may know that for over 30 years I have been interested in the promotion of vegetarianism and my own feelings were sparked by a simple compassion for animals. What I think is especially compelling, is that this report should now encourage everybody to ?do their bit? for the planet. The evidence that the report gives is, frankly, stunning. It points directly to the striking detrimental effects of excessive livestock farming on the environment. For instance:
?Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems of today? says Henning Steinfeld of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). ?Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.?
? ?70% of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.?
? ?Livestock now use 30% of the entire world?s land surface.?
?Cattle rearing is also a major source of land and water degradation.? (FAO report Livestock?s Long Shadow- Environmental Issues & Options).
?When emissions from land use and land use change are included (i.e. deforestation), the livestock sector accounts for 9% of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65% of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.?
?The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth?s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution?from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to sprayed crops.?
Ok, this may sound like me banging on about vegetarianism again but this time, these facts come straight from the UN and I wonder if you, like me, think that they are significant enough to be taken seriously. By simply considering altering eating habits people can strike a blow for the environment, our children and the future. Such facts and data as those listed above can?t be ignored.
I hope this statement doesn?t seem too heavy-handed but I think this recent news is important enough to take notice of.
Many thanks for reading this.