March 30th 2012
Earth Hour alternative
Magnetic Island has a history for switching off its lights during Earth Hour - which occurs tomorrow night at 8.30pm - at a higher rate than other communities. But as this letter by Des Bellamy from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals points out, there are much more effective ways to combat climate change.
Turning off the lights for Earth Hour will make for a nice romantic meal, but if you truly want to help combat climate change, don't eat meat, eggs or dairy products. Animals products – whether eaten by candlelight or not – require more resources and cause more greenhouse-gas emissions than do plant-based foods. According to Worldwatch Institute President Robert Engelman, the "world's supersized appetite for meat" is one of the main reasons why greenhouse-gas emissions are still increasing rapidly.
Each year, humans kill 50 billion land animals for food – that's about 6 million animals an hour. All these animals produce massive amounts of waste, which releases powerful greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. The livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide, greenhouses gases that are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation estimates that cows, chickens, pigs and other farmed animals are responsible for 55 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions in Australia.
A study from the Institute for Ecological Economy Research shows a meat-eater's diet is responsible for seven times more greenhouse gases than a vegan's diet. So blow out the candle, turn on the lights and get into the kitchen and cook a veggie burger this Earth Hour. Doing so will benefit not only the environment but also animals and human health.
Special Projects Coordinator
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
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