Do you love your meat? Well, love it or hate it, it may well cause the collapse of our global society. In the latest report confirming the strain factory farming and overconsumption of animal products causes our environment, The Guardian reports that mass food shortages are predicted within the next 40 years if we as a species do not scale back meat consumption. It’s a simple matter of not having enough water to produce the crops necessary to support the animals needed to satisfy current consumption, to say nothing of what another 2 billion human mouths will bring to the table. If we do not scale back, food shortages and water shortages could be a worldwide reality, as well as food price spikes.
As the article states, “Adopting a vegetarian diet is one option to increase the amount of water available to grow more food in an increasingly climate-erratic world, the scientists said. Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world’s arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals. Other options to feed people include eliminating waste and increasing trade between countries in food surplus and those in deficit.”
But wait, there’s more! That refrigerator in which you store all that meaty goodness is also a problem. It seems that satisfying our energy demand is a daughnting task. This week, the Obama Administration “gave Shell Oil the initial approval to begin controversial and dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska, despite the fact that a critical oil-spill containment vessel is still awaiting certification,” as reported by the Center for Biological Diversity, thereby giving the go ahead to put one of the last pristine environments in the world at risk. The administration seems to be conveniently ignoring previous problems in that area, such as the oil still present from the Exxon-Valdez spill, and recent disasters with off-shore drilling. This approval stands in contrast to the administration’s lauded higher standards for auto emissions. Take note of the language in the White House’s press release — we are cutting down dependence on foreign oil; domestic production apparently doesn’t put the environment at risk. Obama’s environmental record is mixed at best (as is his animal rights record), and arctic drilling isn’t going to win him any more favors. How cutting emissions while encouraging more oil production helps solve our energy and climate problems is beyond me.
Is the government’s move politically motivated? Almost certainly. There is an election in two months, and energy security and job growth will always be key issues, despite the risks. Politically, it’s not a bad move; given the GOP’s environmental stance, Obama isn’t going to be losing environmentalists to the Romney camp any time soon.
Take a step back though and it’s clear that the problem isn’t the politics; it’s us. We have a pending global water shortage, a historic domestic drought that is already driving up meat prices, and an ever shrinking arctic ice cap due to climate change. Polar bears and other marine life suffer, cows, chickens, and pig wallow in tiny cages, and we critique the government. Don’t get me wrong. We should be critiquing the government, and be ever watchful of what law and executive orders are signed. But more importantly, we should not be creating the demand that is fueling the quest for non-renewable energy. Nor should we have water shortages when we could effectively manage the water available. We should be wary of new drilling in the Arctic or the Gulf of Mexico, and we should be aware of what our taxes are actually funding in the agricultural sector, but we should also take individual and community responsibility for the reasons these issues exist. CAFO cruelty isn’t an issue if there are no animals to be abused. The arctic isn’t drilled if we aren’t powering every part of our lives.
Golf courses, memorial fountains, and steak at every meal, plus limitless domestic oil and gas from Alaska and Pennsylvania to get you where you are going – truly the American Dream. Just remember, dreams end, often suddenly.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal rights, animal welfare, climate change, environmental ethics, factory farms Tagged: | animal advocacy, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, arctic, Arctic oil drilling, CAFOS, clean energy, climate change, drought, endangered species, Endangered Species Act, environmental advocacy, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, food shortage, GOP, industrial farming, obama, Pennsylvania gas, polar bears, Romeny, us drought, vegan, veganism, vegetarianism