Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Heal the World...Make it a Better Place...

(Since I've referenced Michael in two different posts, I can't see why I can't post them both on the same day.)

Ahh, Michael Jackson. "Heal the World." If only, if only. But healing the world from this kind of going to take some work, banging heads against walls, and possibly some scare tactic. But don't worry, I won't be showing images of abused animals in slaughter houses. Just some figures for you.

I remember being in Middle School (Ye ol' Wasatch Middle School), and hearing that the methane gas given off from large scale cattle ranches was depleting the ozone. Right...cow farts were eating away our atmosphere. Like I was going to take that seriously. Besides the fact that flatulence was to blame, I mean, we've had cows and livestock around forEVER (For...e...VER)! How in the world could an animal that has been living on the planet for so long be the culprit behind the "ozone leak?"


But the world's never seen this much cattle before. Truth. Never before in the history of the world has mankind raised livestock this numerous. In fact, according to a United Nations report, it's been identified that the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle is the greatest threat to the climate, forests, and wildlife on our planet. But it's not just the ozone. They are blamed for a massive party of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to producing deserts, to creating dead zones in the oceans, poisoning rivers and drinking water, and destroying coral reefs.

Cows. You think the warriors in 300 were deadly? I can see it now...the next summer blockbuster: 1,500,000,000 - When the calf was born, like all bulls, he was inspected. 

By the way, that number? 1.5 Billion. That's the estimated number of cattle all over the world.

According to the United Nations Report, the fuel burnt to produce fertilizer to grow feed for all that cattle, to produce the meat, and to transport it - plus clearing vegetation for grazing (which is to blame for 80% of the Amazon deforestation...not paper, not furniture...cows)- produces 9% of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. Add to that their farts (I'm just gonna say it) and manure emit more than one third ...1/3...of methane emissions, which warm the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.

Look at these other #s:

Amazon Deforestation Comparison
-Livestock produce more than 100 polluting gases (including 2/3 of the world's ammonia emissions--one of the main causes of acid rain).

-It takes 261 gallons of water to produce 1/4 gallon of milk (and people think we have a water shortage because we're watering our LAWNS too much??) If a family drinks two gallons a week...that's 2,088 gallons of water used just to produce that milk.

-Overgrazing is turning 1/5 of all pastures into desert.

-Cattle pollution washes into the sea, killing coral reefs and creating "dead zones" with no life. One such "dead zone" has reached 8,108 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico where much of the waste from our own US beef production has been carried down the Mississippi.

The scarier part? The report finishes by stating the unless DRASTIC changes are made, the damage done by ranching and livestock will more than DOUBLE by 2050 as the demand for meat and dairy rise.

I probably shouldn't tell you about what it can do to our drinking water...but I'm going to. Because when "contaminants from animal waste seep into underground sources of drinking water, the amount of nitrate in the ground water supply can reach unhealthy levels. Infants up to three months of age are particularly susceptible to high nitrate levels and may develop Blue Baby Syndrome (methemoglobinemia), an often fatal blood disorder.

"The microorganisms found in animal wastes, such as cryptosporidium, can also pose significant public health threats. For example, after a severe rainstorm in 1993, an outbreak of cryptosporidium in Milwaukee's drinking water supply caused 100 deaths and sickened 430,000 people. If the presence of these microorganisms exceeds the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act, community and private well owners will not only face health risks, but will also have to find new sources for their drinking water supplies. This can be extremely costly and impractical."

That's from the EPA.

Germany...the country known for Bratwursts, currywurst, hendl...and let's just face it, they're meat heads. Really. But recently, Germany has come out and actually asked the public to only eat meat on special occasions because of the environmental impact of cattle.

The truth is...I could actually keep going on and on and on. But let me leave you with a somewhat spiritual thought. When Christ left his Apostles, he asked Peter if he loved him. Peter replied, "Yea, Lord." Christ then asked him to Feed his Sheep. While he was speaking both a physical feed and spiritual feed, I want to focus on the physical feed.

We've been charged to take care of the poor. Take care of the needy. Feed the hungry. I want you to look at one more figure before scanning the infographic below (BTW, I think PETA's nutso, but the information below floors me).

-If you took the 16 lbs. of grain used to feed a cow (about 1/2 of one cow's daily need) could feed 10 people for a whole day.

On October 31, 2011, the world's population hit 7 billion people. Our current food system is incapable of addressing the needs of so many, and it's up to us to make a change in the way we eat. (Disclaimer: I think PETA is a bunch of crazy nut jobs, but I agree with this.)

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