But in 2009, the prestigious Worldwatch Institute published a landmark report that made the FAO report seem ultra conservative in comparison. This thoughtful and meticulously thorough study, written by World Bank agricultural scientists Robert Goodland, who spent 23 years as the Bank's lead environmental advisor, and Jeff Anhang, an environmental specialist for the Bank, came to the staggering conclusion that animals raised for food actually account for more than half of all human-caused greenhouse gases.
Eating plants instead of animals, the authors conclude, would be by far the most effective strategy to reverse climate change, because it "would have far more rapid effects on greenhouse gas emissions and their atmospheric concentrations --- and thus on the rate that the climate is warming --- than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy."
I'm still having a hard time getting my mind around the fact that eating meat, even if it doesn't come from CAFOs [concentrated animal feeding operations], is such a huge contributor to the degradation of our planet. While I digest that fact, what simpler and easier suggestions do you have on how we can become more respectful inhabitants of the world?
I know, it's hard for many people to comprehend. But the data is consistent and convincing that our addiction to cheap meat, like our addiction to cheap oil, is literally costing us the world.
One of the reasons I wrote my latest book, The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less, is to provide people with simple, easy and inexpensive suggestions on how to raise their quality of life while lowering their cost of living, and at the same time lowering their ecological footprint. The book is filled with hundreds of ideas, many of them counter-intuitive.
Learning to live with respect for ourselves, respect for others, and respect for the whole earth community is no easy task in a culture that has become as out of balance as ours has. We have literally become out of phase with the deepest needs we have as people and as citizens of our dear planet earth.
So true. Do you have any final thoughts for our readers, John, before we wrap this up?
"¨There is an old proverb that says: he who forgets the language of gratitude can never be on speaking terms with happiness.
We who are alive, with breath in our bodies and love in our hearts, have so very much to be thankful for. With all the pain and challenges life can bring, let us never lose track of that."¨
credit: Adelia Mostar
Amen to that! It was a pleasure reading your book and doing this interview, John. You've given us all a lot to think about.
Joan, you are most welcome. It's been fun.
And, if the challenges seem too big and too hard, readers, just take a gander at John's picture directly above. If this is what it looks like to be in harmony with the world around us, I'll have what he's having!
Read more about John here