Hello all! Here's a real pick-me up! (Not really.)
Just doing a little research about the American contribution to global warming and food shortages because of meat consumption, from the Worldwatch Institute and the New York Times, and basically it looks like there are really three big bummers from the huge meat consumption of the Western world (apparently Americans eat about half a pound of meat per day to consume an average of 200 lbs. of meat per year:
1. People are starving and having to compete with cattle for grain.
2. Meat causes global warming from methane gas.
3. Pollution of water supplies from vast quantities of animal waste.
Some random quotes:
"Each kilo of meat represents several kilos of grain, either corn or wheat, that could be consumed directly by humans. If the 670 million tons of the world's grain used for feed were reduced by just 10 percent, this would free up 67 million tons of grain, enough to sustain 225 million people or keep up with world population growth for the next three years. If each American reduced his or her meat consumption by only 5 percent, roughly equivalent to eating one less dish of meat each weak, 7.5 million tons of grain would be saved, enough to feed 25 million people-roughly the number estimated to go hungry in the United States each day.""To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days."
"The massive quantities of waste produced by livestock and poultry threaten rivers, lakes and other waterways. In the United States, where the waste generated by livestock is 130 times that produced by humans, livestock wastes are implicated in waterway pollution, toxic algal blooms and massive fishkills. And livestock farms are getting larger throughout the world: one 50,000-acre hog farm under construction in Utah will produce more waste than the city of Los Angeles."