Click below to read this guest editorial written by founders Lauren Lockey and Dave Swartz for the Park Record.
Planet Earth, just like us, is a living breathing organism and just like humans when it gets sick, it heats up to kill the virus (disease). Well, right now our planet is sick, very sick and it’s heating up big time to kill the disease and that disease is us, humans!
The instances of larger hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, airborne diseases, dirty/lack of water and rampant violence are a direct result of the human species taking more than we are giving back. When I was born in the 1950’s there were two billion people on this planet, today there are 7.4 billion, projected to hit 12 billion by 2100. Along with that human growth has come with it an industrial revolution in the form of energy development, transportation and agriculture that this planet has never seen before. The excess heat being produced by 7.4 humans is being trapped in our atmosphere and absorbed by our oceans. Hurricanes feed off those warm waters; wildfires feed off the dry land conditions. Even if you are not convinced that humans are contributing to these problems, shouldn’t we ALL be on the same page to better our planet and all it’s occupants?
The most efficient way to deal with a disease is to get to the root of the problem, not just ignore it, take a pill or apply a band-aid but stop the problem at its root cause. When it comes to human health, the root of most health problems is what we eat three times a day as well as other abuses we do to our bodies. With education and support, humans can improve their diet, incorporate regular exercise into their lives and stop bad habits like smoking, alcohol and drug abuse. When it comes to planetary health the root of the problem is us, so what can we do about it?
I, like everyone else, want to come home to a warm home every day, I want to drive my car anywhere I want, go on periodic trips around the world by plane. The energy and transportation industry is very important to the human lifestyle, but thanks to the many visionaries our species has produced, we are now seeing the beginning of an energy and transportation industry based on renewable energy in the form of the sun and the wind and that’s awesome. A number of individuals are switching to solar energy for their homes and electric cars, but not all of us are financially able to do so as of yet. The time frame to switch to 100% renewable is going to be long and expensive and will be fought the whole way, by industries profiting on the present system.
But there is an industry which most people aren’t aware of that is the biggest contributor (51%) to the warming and polluting of our planet more than energy and all the transportation in this world combined and that’s animal agriculture. Because of our demand for animal protein an industry has been born in less than 100 years that is the leading cause of:
- Deforestation–we need more trees, not less, to absorb more carbon dioxide and breathe out clean oxygen we all need to survive).
- Water Shortage—there is only 1% of fresh water available to all life on this planet and animal agriculture takes close to 50% of that fresh water. The rest of our planets water is salt (97%) and ice (2%).
- Food Shortage—the reason animal agriculture needs so much water is to grow grain, corn, soy, alfalfa, and hay to raise the 70 billion land animals being raised for food annually.
- Ocean Dead Zones—because those 70 billion animals create over 100 times more waste (feces) than humans with no sanitation system. That animal waste ends up in our streams, rivers and oceans killing all life it comes in contact with.
- Airborne Diseases—to keep those billions of animals from dying of disease during their short life before they are sent to slaughter, they are giving 80% of all antibiotics available in this world, creating antibiotic resistant airborne diseases that spread quickly across our sick planet.
- Human Sickness—the science is overwhelming today showing that an animal based diet is the leading cause of virtually every disease humans are experiencing.
- Human Violence—violence creates more violence and there is not a more violent industry that the raising of billions of animals for food…food that is eventually killing us from those animals grave and that grave is the human body!
Fortunately, there is “one single act” that all humans on earth can participate in and can do so at their very next meal and every meal after that, which will force an end factory animal farming and begin the healing of our planet (and us) immediately. That “one single act” is to stop eating, wearing and using animals for ANY resource, it is not necessary in the modern world we live in now! Everything on this earth revolves around money and demand determines where that money goes, we as a human species need to demand:
- Plant Based Foods—grown directly for human consumption and not filtered through an animal first.
- Solar Power—the sun is the center of all life on this planet and is given to us freely.
- Compassion—to treat every animal on this earth (humans and non humans) with respect, compassion and love.
One Single Act that EVERY ONE of us can do RIGHT NOW and FOREVER, to better ALL life on planet earth, as well as planet earth itself!
Kent Maurer—citizen of planet earth
By: Dave Swartz
It was just this morning heading westbound down Parley’s Canyon on interstate 80 when I slowly passed yet another animal transport truck filled to capacity with pigs, swine, or hogs. I’m actually not sure what the correct term is. I guess it depends on who you ask. My vehicle and the transport truck were going roughly the same speed so I had a little time to peek in. I’m not sure how many motorists do the same and actually look through the metal slats to see who is inside one of these trailers. I’m hoping many but I’m guessing only a few. This sight immediately makes me stop my thoughts and have a moment for the animals that are surely bound for the slaughterhouse. As much as this sight breaks my heart, I do not feel any hate or anger towards the driver, the trucking company, the producers, or the processors. I try my absolute hardest to send only good thoughts and absolute love to the animals inside. Every time I see one of these trucks the same question in some form or another pops into my head. It’s usually something along the lines of “How in this day and age is raising and slaughtering animals for food still a thing?”
What we know in 2017 is the science based fact that the more animal protein one consumes the more health problems and disease one will have. It is science based fact that animal agriculture is responsible for most of the water pollution, ocean dead zones, and deforestation on this planet. Not to mention it is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole transportation industry combined.
It was not until my 22nd year on this planet before I realized the amount of suffering I caused simply because of my regular “western” diet. When I realized that not only would a plant-based diet or vegan diet eliminate this needless suffering but it would also be the healthiest diet for my body and least destructive of all diets on our environment, it simply was a no brainer to make the switch.
Early next month, Sage Mountain is sponsoring our 10 day “Plant Powered Challenge” with local fitness expert Kent Maurer. I strongly encourage you to sign up and see for yourself how empowering a plant based vegan diet can be.
Keep in mind that nothing will do more for human health, this planet’s environment, and most importantly reduce suffering, than removing animal products from our plates…and that is a science based fact.
*If you would like more information on our 10 day Plant Powered Challenge please email Kent Maurer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dave Swartz at email@example.com
By: David Swartz
Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide
What is more shocking is that this percentage is more than all transportation sectors combined. That means animal agriculture contributes more to human caused global warming than every car, truck, train, plane and ship on this planet. Why as a society are we more focused on reducing climate change through innovation in transportation and energy sectors than we are on changing our diet? This is one of those “Freakonomic” moments that is still hard to wrap my head around. As much as I fully agree with the conversion of our energy and transportation industries to renewable clean energy, an equal amount or more resources should be allocated to the conversion of our diets from a western diet to a plant based diet if we really want to tackle the problem of human caused climate change.
More water in Utah is used to grow one crop than is used for every city, town, commercial and agriculture business in the state and it’s a crop we don’t even eat.
The alfalfa being grown here is fed to animals for human consumption. My local city government has created programs to reduce water consumption such as reductions of lawn watering, encouragement of taking shorter showers, making sure water pipes are not leaking, etc. These are all nice programs however, residential water usage accounts for just 5% of all water usage in the state. If everyone in the state stopped taking showers, watering lawns, flushing toilets, and for that matter stopped drinking water, we would still only have a 5% reduction of total freshwater usage. This is another “Freakonomic” moment that boggles my mind. If our city really wants to decrease water usage it would highly encourage a change in diet as opposed to a change in shower time.
Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction
Another fact that is hard to fathom is that by many estimates it takes roughly 15 to 20 times the amount of land to feed a human on an animal based diet as opposed to a plant based diet. For a cow to gain a pound of meat he has to consume many more pounds of grass, alfalfa, and grain just to gain that pound. Similar to humans and all other animals for that matter, we burn calories just by existing and thank goodness we do that because if we did gain a pound of flesh for every pound of food we ate, we would be in big trouble! So what is the leading cause of deforestation on this planet? We would think that logging for homes and buildings would be the leading cause, however it turns out animal agriculture is far more responsible for deforestation than industries such as logging.
As I travel through rural Utah I can only imagine what our world would look like without animal agriculture. By letting the land revert back to the time before raising animals for human consumption, we could have more wilderness, more wildlife, more free flowing rivers, less global warming, and a planet that is truly sustainable. If we as a society really want to have a thriving planet for future generations, there is a something we can all do that doesn’t cost any more money than what we are already spending and that is to switch our diets from animal based to plant based.
By: Dave Swartz
I have blogged in the past about the health benefits of eating a plant based diet, this week I would like to touch on the environmental benefits. It is one thing to talk about the negative effects animal agriculture has the environment and another to put that information into actual numbers that are easy to comprehend. A friend sent a link the other day that makes the process simple. This vegan calculator produced some astonishing numbers. According to the website, in the 6 years that I have been vegan I have saved 2,007,500 gallons of water, 73,000 lbs of grain, 54,750 sq feet of forest, 36,500 lbs of CO2 and most importantly 1,825 animals lives saved. Take a moment to try it yourself. Plug in some numbers! http://www.thevegancalculator.com/
There is nothing better one can do for our environment than to make the switch to a plant based diet.
The Answer to Climate Change
By: Lauren Lockey
Please view 2 minute video.
If I were to tell you that one action could drastically reduce climate change, would you do it? Now don’t be alarmed! You don’t have to give up your car! I am talking about something fairly easy to do that would have a much larger impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I am referring to what we put on our plates each and every day.
According to a United Nations Report, animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions whereas the entire transportation sector is responsible for only 13%. Now it is important to move towards renewable energy as well as electric cars. However, methane is up to 100 times more effective at heat trapping than CO2. Cows produce 150 BILLION gallons of methane per day WORLDWIDE. The reduction of methane would create a noticeable change in just a few years! We would actually see the positive change in our own lifetime!! Reduction of CO2 would take up to 200 years to even start seeing a difference. Plus, did you know that livestock and their by products are responsible for 32 TRILLION tons of carbon dioxide per year?? Therefore, switching to a plant based vegan lifestyle would have a much larger impact on climate change than if every car in the world was switched to a hybrid vehicle!
Animal agriculture is destroying the planet at a rapid pace. Raising animals for food is an extremely inefficient way to feed ourselves. There are over 7 BILLION people on the planet. There are roughly 150 BILLION land animals slaughtered for consumption each year. The majority of food grown on this planet is fed to livestock. It would be far more efficient for humans to eat these crops directly rather than filtering them through another being.
Animal agriculture is the leading contributor to air and water pollution, land degradation, as well as wildlife and biodiversity decline. All of which we, and generations to come, need to survive. The oceans and trees are literally the lungs of this planet. If we continue to pollute and over fish the oceans and cut down more trees for solely the taste of animal flesh and products, the system will collapse and there will be another mass extinction. We will vanish.
There is HOPE. Yes!! We have time to fix this but we must open our eyes and reconnect with what is important. Our home. This beautiful planet and ALL it’s unique inhabitants. It is so worth it because most of us can agree that we find peace when we are outside in nature or even just hearing the sounds of nature. Without it, nothing else matters..It is the most important issue today and the answer is so simple. Some sit back and think, “oh I can’t make a difference. What does is matter. Someone else will do it.” The reality is that each of us CAN make a drastic difference simply by what we choose to eat. We hold the future of this planet in our hands..Who wants to make it better for ALL beings?!