Ecological economists at Dalhousie University in Canada have undertaken one of the most holistic analyses to date on the effect of dietary choices on the environment. Looking at changes forecast through 2050, they found that anticipated growth in the livestock industry was expected to make the eco-impacts significantly worse.
During a phone interview with Supreme Master Television, lead author Dr. Nathan Pelletier explained some of the findings of the report.
Dr. Nathan Pelletier, Dalhousie University, Canada (M): The livestock sector at global scale is thought to count among the top two or three contributors to almost every critical environmental problem. So clearly there are some environmental sustainability concerns associated with this sector.
VOICE: While most research on the environmental impact of dietary patterns has focused on greenhouse gas emissions, Dr. Pelletier and colleague Dr. Peter Tyedmers evaluated a combination of greenhouse gases, biomass appropriations, and reactive nitrogen. Biomass appropriations indicate the amount of plant matter grown to feed livestock, while reactive nitrogen is a relatively new area of study.
Nitrogen is essential for the growth of crops; however, current levels of nitrogen released from manure and fertilizers, most of which is used to grow crops for livestock, are causing significant amounts of reactive compounds such as ammonia to enter the environment.
The release of these compounds leads to acid rain, oceanic dead zones and nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 296 times more potent than CO2. Because the livestock sector was found to account for 60% biomass appropriation as well as 63% of reactive nitrogen, Drs. Pelletier and Tyedmers have suggested a reduction in meat consumption, saying that emphasizing plant-based foods would be the best way to minimize adverse environmental effects.
Dr. Pelletier (M): For a scenario where humans’ protein needs are met entirely through the production of soy protein, the impact in 2050 would be roughly 1% of the impact of satisfying humanity’s protein needs entirely through the production of livestock.
VOICE: Dr. Pelletier, Dr. Tyedmers and colleagues at Dalhousie University, we appreciate your insightful findings on the significance of our consumption patterns to the welfare of the planet.
May humanity quickly heed such findings and adopt the sustainable vegan lifestyle to preserve our beautiful planet for generations to come. Supreme Master Ching Hai has long emphasized elimination of the livestock industry as a primary action to safeguard our Earth, as during an October 2009 videoconference in Indonesia.