Eat Plants to Save The Earth

Very nice Green Issue! However, noticeably absent from the variety of Environmental stories was one important issue: the effect of our Meat Centered diet on the Environment, Global Warming and Human Health.

A 2006 report from the United Nations, entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” reported that the livestock industry is an enormous contributor to climate change, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. That is more than the contributions of the entire transportation system. Much of this is a result of the vast amount of waste which the meat industry produces?more than 60 million tons annually. This waste produces enormous methane emissions; methane is a global warming gas 23 times more potent than CO2. Nitrous Oxide is another very powerful global warming gas which is also largely produced by manure off-gassing.

Consider also the huge amount of diesel fuel used to operate farm machinery, keep barns warm during the winter, and of course the fossil fuel burned in the constant transport of animals as they are “processed” from their place of birth, to auction, feedlots, slaughter, packaging and market.

Additionally, livestock production causes 55 percent of land erosion and sediment, and is a major factor in deforestation as 70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon region is now being used for cattle grazing. Most people are not aware that livestock production uses 37 percent of all pesticides and?either directly or indirectly?50 percent of all antibiotic use; the residuals of all these substances are dumped into our fresh water supplies.

Also think about the fact that it takes seven pounds of corn to add a pound of weight to a cow; which is a very unproductive use of our food supply. It takes 2,000 pounds of feed in order to produce enough meat to support a person for a year, whereas 40 pounds of grain eaten directly will support a person for a year. Consider the effect that a more efficient use of our crops might have on global hunger!

Study after study has shown that vegetarians have lower blood cholesterol, less obesity, and diabetes, and, as a result have longer life expectancies. Given the factors listed above, and the bonus of better health and longer life, it makes sense to me that a person interested in living a more environmentally conscious life should look first at their diet!

Moving towards a more plant based diet will benefit our earth, and us individually.

? Sharon Jacks, Murfreesboro, sjacks@nhccare.com

Editor’s Response:

Interesting points; it seems to me that while switching your diet to more grains, fruits and veggies could be beneficial to your health, these foods are often shipped or flown in from other continents, taking a lot of fuel to transport, and still loaded with preservatives, pesticides and/or hormones. The thing to do would be switch to as much of a locally, organically, produced diet as possible, whether it includes meat or not. Not just shopping, but eating locally, ensures freshness, and reduces your food’s negative impact on the earth. ~B

Clark Pays for Cans

You forgot to mention people can make money recycling by going to Hillard Drive. That is off Church Street, just two blocks from Broad (Clark Iron and Metal Co.).

They pay 17 cents a pound for aluminum cans.

They don’t take other aluminum, so I roll it up and put it in a can before I smash it.


? Melanie Robinson, Murfreesboro, shst777@yahoo.com

Editor’s Response:

It’s good to know there’s some kind of reward, but according to my calculations, you’d need about 302 cans to make $1.70. That’s not really worth quitting your day job, or even a gallon of gas to get over there, unless you happened to be driving by with a truckload of cans anyway. Plus, according to metalprices.com, aluminum cans are worth $1.015/lb., I wonder where you can get the full value? ~B


About the Author

Bracken, a 2003 graduate of MTSU’s journalism program, is the founder and publisher of The Murfreesboro Pulse. He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, graphic artist and business partner, Sarah, and son, Bracken Jr. Bracken enjoys playing the piano, sushi, Tool, football, chess, jogging, spending time in his backyard with his chickens, hippie music, climbing at The Ascent, bowling, swimming, soup, tennis, sunshine, revolution, defiance and anarchy. He can cook a mean grilled cheese, and can fry just about anything.

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