Happy December!

In my research linking climate change to agribusiness & agriculture, I came across a great blog by Stephen Knight (webmaster of Volunteer Latin America). and wanted to share the piece about how a ‘meat free’ diet is better for your health – fresh evidence from the largest study to date to investigate dietary habits and cancer has concluded that vegetarians are 45% less likely to develop cancer of the blood than meat eaters and are 12% less likely to develop cancer overall.  And, that switching to a vegetarian diet would reduce your carbon emissions by a colossal 50% and going vegan results in an even greater reduction. Wow!  If you love meat and can’t go without it, get the grass-fed, cage-free, hormone free, cruelty free, local version, and try cutting it out one day a week at least!

Here is a blurb from his blog:

“Although soy is one of the main drivers of Amazon destruction the cattle industry is the single biggest cause of deforestation in South America. The Brazilian cattle industry is the leading cause of deforestation and it is estimated that cattle ranchers destroy at least one acre of Amazon rainforest every 8 seconds. Over the past decade more than 10 million hectares ? an area about the size of Iceland – was cleared for cattle ranching as Brazil rose to become the world’s largest exporter of beef. Brazil is currently the fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, 75% of which stem from deforestation.

Forests are vital to stabilizing the world’s climate because they store such large amounts of carbon. It is estimated that the Amazon alone stores somewhere between 80 to 120 billion tons of carbon. If the Amazon were destroyed, it would release some 50 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the United States. A fifth of the Amazon rainforest has been lost since 1970.

As the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is linked to a handful of the world’s largest food companies and commodity traders [LIKE CARGILL], you can help protect it and combat climate change by refusing to purchase factory farmed and imported meat products from supermarkets, fast food restaurants and other outlets (the UK is the second largest importer of processed Brazilian beef in the world – 50,000 tonnes in 2008). This will put pressure on supermarkets and high-street brands to clean-up their supply chains. You should also boycott goods made from cattle that have been linked to rainforest destruction (e.g. leather products and cosmetic ingredients) and the multinational corporations (global brands) behind these products. Better still, why not switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet as what the soy and cattle industry demonstrates more than anything is that meat consumption is bad for the environment and simply not sustainable. Switching to a vegetarian diet would reduce your carbon emissions by a colossal 50% and going vegan results in an even greater reduction.

The ‘Meat Free Mondays’ initiative recently launched by Paul McCartney and his daughters highlighted the impact of meat production on climate change. Cutting down or giving up meat is the single most effective act anyone can take to lessen greenhouse gas emissions. A ‘meat free’ diet is also better for your health. Fresh evidence from the largest study to date to investigate dietary habits and cancer has concluded that vegetarians are 45% less likely to develop cancer of the blood than meat eaters and are 12% less likely to develop cancer overall.”

Although this is talking about soy and cattle in the Amazon, the story is frightfully similar in Indonesia and Malaysia where palm oil is ravaging the forests so that huge commodity traders like Cargill can sell cheap veggie oil in the US! Join us in holding Cargill accountable and urging them to adopt a socially and environmentally responsible palm oil policy as an incremental step in a comprehensive global forest policy.

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