More on animal products and the environment

It’s been a big couple of days for trashing the beef and dairy industries. Those of you who have followed this blog over the last couple of months have heard me say several times that cows are insanely bad for the environment and are a chief contributor to climate change (global warming). Just to keep things real, I had another conversation with my 82 year old dyed in the wool, Wall Street Journal reading, staunch Republican father and it seems that Charles & David Koch and their ilk have worked miracles. Their campaign of disinformation about climate change has him convinced it’s some sort of complex hoax and no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway him. He sounds a lot like Senator Ted Cruise in this video. Of course, he then dismisses things like this video, with the actual scientist who runs the satellites and interprets the data explaining why Mr. Cruz is so completely off base. The main point is that a lot of people are still in denial about the whole climate change thing, but it seems that more and more are waking up to the reality that it really is a thing. I like to post the latest CO2 readings from time to time to remind everyone that it’s still on the rise. Recall that we don’t have any readings above 300 ppm prior to this cycle in the history of the planet. Last weeks number was 405.82. We just topped 400 in January…3:23:16  So this weeks news continues to put pressure on the climate change nay sayers. An article with the rather dense title “Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change” attempts to look at the economic impact of dietary choices. The authors conclude:

The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all
greenhouse gas emissions while unhealthy diets and high body
weight are among the greatest contributors to premature
mortality. Our study provides a comparative analysis of the
health and climate change benefits of global dietary changes
for all major world regions. We project that health and climate
change benefits will both be greater the lower the fraction of
animal-sourced foods in our diets. Three quarters of all benefits
occur in developing countries although the per capita impacts
of dietary change would be greatest in developed countries.
The monetized value of health improvements could be com-
parable with, and possibly larger than, the environmental
benefits of the avoided damages from climate change.
Dr. David Katz has a nice blog piece about the article here. It’s worth a read. Dr. Katz also refers to a Time magazine article here that also discusses the same topic and this New York Times Op-Ed piece about the overblown risk of terrorism compared to the very real risk of climate change and why we are willing to pay exorbitantly to mitigate the low risk problem and are unwilling to pay anything to mitigate the catastrophic risk. Good stuff.
So what more is there to say? Eat your grains, veggies, and fruits. Start figuring out how to make meat a once a week treat rather than the centerpiece of every meal. It will not only make the planet livable for your kids, it might even make you healthier!

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