As someone who tries earnestly to be a better citizen of the planet (car-sharing, cloth grocery bags, no printing stuff unless it’s required, turning off faucet when brushing teeth/sudsing hands, obsessive recycling, impressive amounts of reusing, not so good on the “reducing”…sorry), I tend to fume at SUV-drivers and not bat an eyelash at my carnivorous and omnivorous peers, even though I am well aware of all the statistics which Esprit, Sting and other organizations drilled in to me in the 90s regarding how many acres or gallons of water beef requires blah blah blah.
Well, apparently I can’t give H3s dirty looks any more.
Via The New York Times:
EVER since â€œAn Inconvenient Truth,â€ Al Gore has been the darling of environmentalists, but that movie hardly endeared him to the animal rights folks. According to them, the most inconvenient truth of all is that raising animals for meat contributes more to global warming than all the sport utility vehicles combined.
The biggest animal rights groups do not always overlap in their missions, but now they have coalesced around a message that eating meat is worse for the environment than driving. They and smaller groups have started advertising campaigns that try to equate vegetarianism with curbing greenhouse gases.
Oy, I don’t see this going over well with the public at all. Amurricans love their flesh. They like to eat meat, too.
Some backlash against this position is inevitable, the groups acknowledge, but they do have scientific ammunition. In late November, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report stating that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.
That sound you heard was my mind being blown. I knew raising animals was less than ideal, I never realized that it was worse than driving, let alone all types of transportation combined! SWEET. I can go back to having naughty dreams about the Veyron, sans shame or guilt. Anyone know how to type that sound Homer makes when he’s contemplating donuts or other yummy things? Because I’m totally doing that right now.
When that report came out, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups expected their environmental counterparts to immediately hop on the â€œGo Veggie!â€ bandwagon, but that did not happen. â€œEnvironmentalists are still pointing their fingers at Hummers and S.U.V.â€™s when they should be pointing at the dinner plate,â€ said Matt A. Prescott, manager of vegan campaigns for PETA.
In a move which makes me feel confused and anxious, PETA has decided to drum up awareness by plastering a banner festooned with this new, urgent, “Meat is (Earth’s) Murder”-message on a Hummer, which will tool around my town, complete with a chicken in the cockpit. Well, it’s a driver in a chicken suit who will be in the cockpit, and not an actual specimen of poultry, but what I want to know is, why not a Rooster suit? Why don’t men get any respect?
â€œYou just cannot be a meat-eating environmentalist,â€ said Mr. Prescott, whose group also plans to send billboard-toting trucks to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver when Mr. Gore lectures there on Oct. 2. The billboards will feature a cartoon image of Mr. Gore eating a drumstick next to the tagline: â€œToo Chicken to Go Vegetarian? Meat Is the No. 1 Cause of Global Warming.â€
The Humane Society is also on board, since it worries about polar bears as well as puppies:
On its Web page and in its literature, the Humane Society has also been highlighting other scientific studies â€” notably, one that recently came out of the University of Chicago â€” that, in essence, show that â€œswitching to a plant-based diet does more to curb global warming than switching from an S.U.V. to a Camry,â€ said Paul Shapiro, senior director of the factory farming campaign for the Humane Society…â€œOur mission is to protect animals, and global warming has become an animal welfare issue,â€ he said.
And switching from a Camry to a MINI will do more to curb boredom. Bow down before the mighty Cooper S, I say!
Let’s hear from a spokesperson for Gore:
Chris Song, his deputy press secretary, simply noted that a suggestion to â€œmodify your diet to include less meatâ€ appears on Page 317 of Mr. Goreâ€™s book version of â€œAn Inconvenient Truth.â€
He did not address Mr. Goreâ€™s personal food choices.
An activist quoted in the article rightly mentions that “itâ€™s a lot easier to ask people to put in a fluorescent light bulb than to learn to cook with tofu”, and to that I say, uh…yeah. Tofu scares the Madagascar out of the picky and unadventurous (read: me). It IS easier to swap a bulb for a more energy-efficient one, take metro instead of a car or use one of the handy cloth bags which are now all over Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, for groceries.
Aside: those of you who scored this are on my “I’m so jealous”-list. I will console myself by marinating in haterade, since the bags aren’t made of anything organic, weren’t fair trade and obviously used icky, poo-ey airline miles to get to us from China. Ha! You may have the bag, but I have my obnoxious, envy-tinged righteousness.
Off-aside: food is very personal, and I’m not sure how successful these efforts will be, but I don’t think there’s any harm in educating people about the impact our diets have on our bodies and on the world.