Posted: Thu May 29, 2008 4:44 pm Post subject: Ecological Collapse - The Real Cost of Meat
Meat and dairy producers are among top greenhouse gas emitters targeted by a coalition of Australians concerned the world is on the brink of environmental collapse.
Supreme Master Ching Hai Association Australia, promoting a green, healthy, compassionate lifestyle, has launched a major advertising campaign appealing to Australians to substantially reduce meat consumption, power and transport emissions to help save the planet.
Funded by hundreds of contributions across the country, the campaign also urges the Federal Government to quickly introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme that includes agriculture in order to stabilise and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2015.
Spokesman, Gerry Bisshop, said that while most Australians have an idea of the massive environmental damage inflicted by coal-fired energy and fuel-hungry transport, few know of the huge levels of greenhouse gases emitted by livestock on their journey to the dinner table.
“To date, scientists, campaigners and media have focused on CO2 as the main greenhouse gas, however non-CO2 gases, particularly methane which is primarily produced by animal agriculture, are responsible for a large proportion of the global warming problem,” he said.
“The 2008 Federal Budget proposes an Emissions Trading Scheme but not until after 2010, potentially too late to stop an environmental catastrophe given the alarming speed the Arctic ice is melting. In addition, the plan does not extend financial incentives to meat and dairy farmers to help them change their land use to environmentally sustainable crops and horticulture.”
Grazing livestock is also responsible for more than a thousand hectares of tree clearing each day in Australia. Trees are the most effective storage for carbon pollution, and tree planting cannot keep up with this clearing. Reducing livestock production is the most effective way to limit greenhouse gas emissions because methane is more potent and breaks down much quicker than CO2.
The Chief of the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr Rajendra Pachauri, recently made a plea for people around the world to tame their carnivorous impulses as part of efforts to save the environment.
“Don’t eat meat; ride a bike, and be a frugal shopper - that’s how you can help brake global warming. This is something that the IPCC was afraid to say earlier, but now we have said it. Please eat less meat - meat is a very carbon intensive commodity,” he said.
Gerry Bisshop said the urgent need for action is apparent in the rapid thinning of the Arctic ice, with the summer ice likely to be gone in as little as five years. Just last week polar bears were declared a threatened species because their environment is rapidly disappearing.
“Throughout human history, favourable climate conditions have been dependent on the Arctic ice being there. From an ice area that in 1979 was the size of Australia, only the equivalent of West Australia and Queensland remain,” he said. “The rest has melted, most of it in the last seven years. If the 2008 Arctic summer is like the previous one the pace of melting will only increase. Rising temperatures may also lead to the further break up of enormous ice shelves, causing rapid global warming and sea levels to rise to catastrophic levels.”
Arctic ice melting is only one indicator that we are at the brink of ecological collapse. Many other systems are also approaching dangerous change:
· The rising sea levels threaten coastal and low lying homes, perhaps much sooner than is generally accepted.
· Changing weather patterns increase the risk of wild fires, floods and droughts.
· Unpredictable weather patterns threaten crops and lead to increased food prices for all.
· Carbon dioxide dissolving in the oceans and rising sea temperatures have already bleached large areas of the Great Barrier Reef, threatening many fish species.
Bisshop said there is a simple solution - Save our Planet, Be Green, Go Veg.
For more information, to view the campaign and find out how you can get involved visit www.askMOREnow.com.au
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