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This weekend, the New York Times ran a
story about how Silicon Valley venture capitalists are starting
to pour big bucks into food start-ups ($350 million in the past
The 100% vegan companies that are starting to change the way
we live our lives. They are innovative 100% vegan businesses--they
are re-inventing industries. .
"We have passed the tipping points, but,
we have not passed a point of no return. We can still
roll things back in time but it is going to require
a quick turn in direction."
-- Dr. James Hansen
Top Climatologist of NASA
Many people are aware that global warming has serious
implications for all life on our planet. Animal farming,
the burning of fossil fuels by factories, power stations,
cars and other forms of transport release huge amounts
of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gases
create a "green house" effect by trapping the Sun's
heat and warming our planet and atmosphere. However,
few people know of the immediate effect that this is
having on our Earth. Did you know that from September
3 to 9, 2007, (in just 6 days) 69,000 square miles of
Arctic ice melted and disappeared? That's a piece of
ice the size of the state of Florida, USA. The American
space agency, NASA, recently revealed satellite images
showing that this summer alone, 552 billion tons of
ice had melted from the Greenland ice sheet.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with US former
Vice-President Al Gore, is bringing attention to this
critical situation. On Tuesday, January 15, IPCC Chairman,
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, announced at a press conference
the urgency of the matter and stated that "lifestyle
changes" are one thing that can halt climate change.
His message was loud and clear: Don't eat meat, ride
a bike, and be a frugal shopper -- that's how you can
help put the brake on global warming.
|Scientists are extremely
worried because the melting ice is causing a faster rate
of global warming as well as immediate changes in climate
and weather systems. The reason is because the sea ice
acts as a mirror, reflecting about 80% of the Sun's heat
energy back into space. If you take away this mirror,
the Sun's heat will be absorbed directly into the oceans,
raising the water temperature more, which in turn melts
more ice and causes more warming of the Earth and the
Robert Correll, a scientist who chairs the Arctic Climate
Impact Assessment, said, "If there is no ice, the ocean
is going to continue to heat, and that is going to accelerate
the global warming process." In fact, according to research
from University of Washington's Michael Steele, summer
surface temperatures of the Arctic Ocean are the highest
ever in recorded history, with some places being 8 degrees
Fahrenheit above normal.
The melting of the polar ice caps and the consequent
warming of the Earth's seas could have very serious
ramifications according to John Atcheson, a geologist
who has headed various government agencies. According
to his research, 400,000 million tons of methane gas
are trapped in ice structures beneath the ocean floors,
which might be released into the atmosphere if the water's
temperature increases by a few degrees. This could be
disastrous because methane is 20 times stronger than
carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. So, if this massive
amount of trapped methane were to be released in to
the atmosphere, it would likely cause run-away global
warming with devastating consequences for our planet.
|The effects of global warming
on the sea's temperatures have lead to the occurrence
of "dead zones" in the ocean. These are massive areas
of water that have no life due to oxygen deprivation and
the release of poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S). According
to reports from the United Nations, over 200 of these
dead zones now exist. One that emerged in the Pacific
Ocean, off the coast of Oregon, USA, in the last year
has increased four times in size. Jane Lubchenco, a professor
of marine biology at Oregon State University said that
there is nearly a complete absence of oxygen in this area.
When the oxygen disappears a new bacteria takes over and
produces hydrogen sulfide gas, which is lethal to most
marine and terrestrial life. The two main reasons for
the lower levels of oxygen in the water are both related
to global warming: (1) As the water gets warmer it has
less ability to absorb oxygen; (2) The disruption of the
water currents and weather prevents oxygen being transported
to the area. Some scientists say that this could be a
sign of things to come for the Earth's oceans.
|There are numerous ways
that are commonly known to reduce carbon dioxide emissions:
reducing fossil fuel usage; engaging in renewable energies
such as solar or wind power; reducing, reusing and recycling
everyday items; driving a fuel-efficient or alternative
energy car; using energy-saving electronics, and others.
Yet the most powerful way to stop global warming is
to adopt a vegetarian diet!
In a press conference on January 15, held by the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the head of the IPCC,
Dr. Pachuari warned that if the human race doesn't act
now, "climate change will have serious impacts."
He also clearly stated that the way to halt climate
change is to stop eating meat, and make a change to
a greener lifestyle.
Industrialized animal-based agriculture is "astonishingly"
the main cause of environmental destruction and greenhouse
Raising animals for food is one of the largest sources
of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of both
methane and nitrous oxide emissions. The livestock sector
accounts for 9 percent of carbon dioxide, 65 percent
of nitrous oxide and 37 percent of methane produced
from human-related activities. Both methane (20 times)
and nitrous oxide (296 times) are considerably more
potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. Livestock
also generates 64 percent of human-related ammonia,
which contributes to acid rain.
|It is also a major source of land and water
damage and pollution. Livestock currently use 30 percent
of the Earth's land surface, and even more land and water
is used to grow the feed for livestock. According to Mr.
Steinfeld, the senior author of the Food and Agriculture
Organization report, Livestock's Long Shadow-Environmental
Issues and Options, livestock is the "major driver
of deforestation ... some 70 percent of former forests
in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing." In
addition, animal-based agriculture causes land degradation.
About 20 percent of pastures are degraded through overgrazing,
compaction and erosion. It is also responsible for vast
water consumption and pollution. In the USA alone, trillions
of gallons of irrigation water is used to grow crops to
feed animals annually. This is about 85 percent of the
USA's fresh water resources. Animals also generate excessive
amounts of biological waste for the ecosystem to take.
| The choice is right in
your kitchen: Even if one chooses to close their eyes
to the ethical cruelty in animal-based agriculture, the
urgency of stopping climate change and how to do it is
clear. And it's not just the vegetarians or environmentalists
who are saying it; now the head of an international
body, Dr. Pachauri, has announced to the world that the
effects of meat-eating are detrimental to our planet and
that we should stop eating meat in order to turn things
around. Yet it comes down to people's choice. We're all
responsible for a cooler, cleaner and healthier Earth.
So simply start in your kitchen: choose a vegetarian diet
and help reverse climate change.
Dr. Will Turtle: The world peace diet chapter 11 and
the references used therein
The non-GMO Plant-Based Diet campaign was launched in schools
nationwide in order to spread the information of Non-GMO,
Vegan, Organic, Green Energy and Environmental Protection.