Who do you think is the world’s top destroyer of the environment? Emissions from Car or the planes or George Bush. However, these all have contributed to the great extent in destroying the environment but meet the new one- it is the cow.
A United Nations report has identified the world’s rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs. The world’s 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.
Unfortunately, the environmental community has focused its efforts almost exclusively on abating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This is a serious miscalculation. CO2 emissions are not the main cause of observed atmospheric warming. It’s true that human activity produces vastly more CO2 than all other greenhouse gases put together. However, this does not mean it is responsible for most of the earth’s warming. Many other greenhouse gases trap heat far more powerfully than CO2, some of them tens of thousands of times more powerfully. Methane is another gas that warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.
By far the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the major source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture. Cattle wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of methane.
With methane emissions, causing nearly half of the planet’s human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by going vegetarian. By doing this we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.