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Half A Billion Fewer Animals Were Killed Since 2007 Because People Are Eating Less Meat

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Cow sucking hand of a man
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Have you transitioned to a plant-based diet? Do you make an effort to reduce the amount of animal products you are consuming on a regular basis? If so, it is thanks to you that 500 million lives have been spared this year, and with continued awareness, that number continues to rise.

It has become clear that everyone is not going to stop eating meat anytime soon, but as more and more awareness has been made towards the treatment of animals, and about the health effects of a conventional diet and environmental factors that come from eating too much meat, more people are starting to at least consider the option of consuming much less meat. Although, many vegans would argue that it’s all or nothing and that the only way to make an impact is to give up meat entirely. We can clearly see the difference that has come from people simply being more conscious about their meat consumption.

Personally, I don’t eat meat or animal products for the most part, but I also don’t consider myself a vegan, mainly because I don’t feel the need for a label or to define myself in this way — anymore. In the past I was a vegan, a strict one at that, and I realized that putting labels on yourself and preaching your beliefs isn’t necessarily an effective way to create change. Now, educating people on the ethical, environmental, and health concerns that go hand in hand with a traditional diet, and how much being more mindful about the amount of meat and animal products you are consuming and encouraging the idea of consuming less of these products and avoiding products coming from factory farms, now that was a more effective way to go about it. Telling someone that they are wrong and you are right usually doesn’t go over so well, in my experience anyways.

We Are Consuming Less Meat

Meat consumption has been steadily on the decline since 2007. In fact, it has dropped 10% per capita in the United States according to statistics from The Humane Society of the United States. That year, the U.S. raised and slaughtered around 9.5 billion land animals for food. As of 2014 that number fell by 400 million. This is according to Paul Shapiro, Vice President, Farm Animal Protection for The Humane Society of the United States.

“What that means is that compared to 2007, last year almost half a billion fewer animals were subjected to the torment of factory farming and industrial slaughter plants and that’s despite the increase in the U.S. population.”

Ready For More Great News?

That number continues to drop, and really 500 million lives spared in a matter of only 10 years is actually quite impressive. If the number of animals being mass-produced and slaughtered for consumption continued to drop by half a billion every 10 years then it wouldn’t take long before no animal would have to suffer any longer; animals who would be used for food could be treated with respect and raised ethically and have an actual life before their eventual slaughter, which is still by no means humane.

Is It Because People Are Moving Towards A Plant-Based Diet?

Not necessarily. As more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet, they are making more ethical and conscious decisions about what they are consuming. This doesn’t automatically mean going vegan, but people are choosing to eat less meat. This is certainly becoming obvious by the increasing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants that seem to be opening up everywhere all the time. In the past decade, we have also seen a large variety of plant-based alternatives to meat products that put the traditional veggie burger to shame. There are many realistic and surprisingly tasty alternatives, and people seem to be more open-minded to giving these a chance. Perhaps because subconsciously they know that it might be time to make a shift. Many athletes are going vegan and swear by this type of lifestyle for achieving optimal results. We are even seeing many doctors adopting this type of lifestyle as well.

Times Are Changing

This serves as a powerful reminder that with enough awareness, and especially with the help of the Internet, things can and will change. If someone is choosing to remain ignorant, they won’t change, but the Internet has made this a difficult thing to do. Nobody wants to see animals suffer and I’m sure that most sane people on the planet would prefer if no animal ever had to suffer again. When we realize how much of an impact we ourselves can make, it helps us to make more ethical decisions. Never forget that “small acts of kindness, multiplied by millions will transform the world.” I believe that this is what has caused this drastic decline in the amount of animals that were slaughtered for food. We can all do our part to actively create the type of the world we want to live in and truly understand that if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. What can you do to reduce your impact?

If you enjoyed reading this article and want to see more like this one, we’d be humbled if you would help us spread the word and share it with your friends and family. Join us in our quest to promote free, useful information to all!

This article was written by Alanna Ketler for Collective Evolution where it was originally published and has been republished under Creative Commons.

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Environment

It’s Official: The Bee Has Been Declared “Most Important Living Being On The Planet”

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It’s Official: The Bee Has Been Declared “Most Important Living Being On The Planet”
Photo Credit: www.except.nl

The extinction of bees would mean the end of humanity.

At a meeting of the Royal Geographic Society of London, Earthwatch Institute declared bees the most invaluable species on this planet, as reported by The Guardian in 2008. And along with it comes this disturbing piece of news. If the bees were to disappear today, mankind would follow suit very soon!

Scientists and wildlife experts have added bees to the list of species that are doomed to extinction in the near future if humanity does not do something about its most beneficial insects.

The Importance Of Bees

The loss of bees will be disastrous for mankind as they are irreplaceable. The relation between bees and flowering plants is one of the most extensive, harmonious, and interdependent cooperation on the planet. A relationship spawned over a period of nearly 100 million years has led to the procreation of a rich diversity of species and also promoted the elevation of the human species on earth.

There are more than 20,000 species of bees. Yet, an overwhelming number of them do not live in hives. They vary in size from 2mm to 4cm and do not adapt well to new plant types.

75% of the food crops that produce the seeds and fruits we consume are influenced, at least partly, by pollination. 87% of the leading food crops worldwide are supported wholly or partially by pollination. This, in turn, feeds thousands of animal and bird species. They are the main reason for the diversity of plant species. The decline in the bee population would adversely affect major crops like coffee, cocoa, almonds, tomatoes, and apples to name just a few, as per the reports of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The oldest known sweetener and also the healthiest, honey has been much sought after since ancient times. The total export of just leading honey-producing nations was worth $2.4 billion way back in 2009. This is another vast source of food that would just disappear with the bees.

The monetized value of the global crops that are directly dependent on pollinators is in the region of $235 billion to $577 billion every year. This was a free gift of nature. Relying on the artificial process is close to impossible. The only way out is to support the process which leads to natural pollination.

Deforestation & Pesticides

We have already let loose processes that may in the not too distant future lead to the extinction of the planet’s leading pollinator and with it the extinction of countless other species including man. The need to sustain our ever-increasing population has led to the use of methods to increase production at any cost, especially the clearing of forests for farmland and the incremental use of pesticides. 40% of the invertebrate pollinator species, especially bees are facing extinction. This has led to a steep decline in the population of both wild and domestic bee population. Vast populations have been decimated in some parts of the globe.

Pests, Diseases, & Mobiles

The transmission of pests and pathogens from other areas due to globalization has affected the population of bees in some areas. The waves produced by mobile telephones are being blamed. The Federal Institute of Technology of Switzerland says that bees are disoriented by waves emitted during calls. Daniel Favre, Biologist, and other researchers produced evidence that showed that bees were disturbed and warned other bees when exposed to the waves, as reported in The Australian.

A total prohibition on the use of toxic pesticides, especially neurotoxins and using natural alternatives is the immediate necessity.  Pollinator-friendly practices in agriculture are a must. Farmers need to be aware of the pollination needs of specific crops and act accordingly. Wildlife habitats must be preserved. Farmers can diversify farms to make food resources always available for the bees. The need for restoring ecological friendly practices must be encouraged. This will preserve the habitats of the pollinators.

By Mayukh Saha | TruthTheory.com | Republished with permission

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Pipeline Protesters Could Face Up To 20 Years In Prison Under New Trump Proposal

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Photo Credit: Common Dreams

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Building on efforts by multiple states to crack down on those fighting the construction of climate-destroying fossil fuel infrastructure, the Trump administration unveiled a proposal on Monday that would criminalize pipeline protests at the federal level and hit demonstrators with up to 20 years in prison.

“Rather than focusing on shielding corporate polluters from public protest, the administration should be working to ensure that communities are protected from dirty, dangerous fossil fuel projects.” —Kelly Martin, Sierra Club

The new proposal, released by Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, was immediately denounced by environmentalists as a serious threat to the First Amendment.

This dangerous proposal threatens to undermine Americans’ right to peaceful assembly and free speech,” Kelly Martin, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fossil Fuels campaign, said in a statement. “It is a blatant attempt to intimidate those who would exercise their First Amendment rights to speak out against pipeline projects that put our clean water, communities, and climate at risk.”

Rather than focusing on shielding corporate polluters from public protest,” Martin said, “the administration should be working to ensure that communities are protected from dirty, dangerous fossil fuel projects.”

As Politico reported Monday, the Transportation Department’s proposal would “treat some pipeline protests as a federal crime, mirroring state legislative efforts that have spread in the wake of high-profile demonstrations around the country.”

The Trump administration, according to Politico, is “calling for Congress to expand a law that threatens fines and up to 20 years’ prison time for ‘damaging or destroying’ pipelines currently in operation. The expanded version would add ‘vandalism, tampering with, or impeding, disrupting, or inhibiting the operation of’ either existing pipelines or those ‘under construction.’

Elly Page, attorney for International Center for Not-For-Profit Law—an organization that has tracked anti-protest efforts by individual states—told Politico that the Trump administration’s “proposed penalty is far and away more extreme than what we’ve seen at the state level.”

When you combine provisions that vague to penalties that extreme,” Page said, “that creates uncertainty about what is and isn’t legal.”

House Democrats signalled that they would oppose the measure, which comes just two weeks after the Texas state Senate passed a bill that would hit pipeline protesters with up to 10 years in prison.

A spokesperson for House Energy and Commerce chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) told Politico that the congressman “has no intention of allowing a pipeline safety bill to be used as a vehicle for stifling legitimate dissent and protest.”

On Twitter, the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) warned that as “we grapple with the mounting climate catastrophe, the fossil fuel industry is holding nothing back in its attempt to silence its critics and those who assemble to protest their destruction of our shared climate.”

“We’re not giving in to the dirty fossil fuel industry’s bullying ways,” said NRDC.

This article (Pipeline Protesters Could Face up to 20 Years in Prison Under New Trump Proposal) was originally published at Common Dreams and is re-posted here under creative commons.

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Farming Subsidies Are Destroying The World, And The Public Is Paying For Them

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Photo Credit: www.wallpaperaccess.com

Global farm subsidies (money granted by the government to assist the industry so that the price of food can remain low) are driving climate crises and destruction of wildlife, according to a new report. What’s most disturbing is the money comes from taxpayers, meaning that the public is providing these funds – a whole lot too, more than $1 per minute!

In total, $700bn a year is given to farmers worldwide. The report analysis found that only 1% of this is used to benefit the environment. The other 99% are used to promote high-emission cattle production, forest destruction and pollution from the overuse of fertilizer.

Soy farms in China. (Photo Credit: Xinhua)
Soy farms in China. (Photo Credit: Xinhua)

There is a desperate need for reform to these subsidies – the security of humanity itself is at stake here! The report says a big reduction in meat-eating in rich nations and other damaging uses of land is required as well. However, this will naturally happen by redirecting the subsidies to storing carbon in soil, producing healthier food, cutting waste and growing trees instead.

The idea that subsidies are needed to supply cheap food is a misconception. The report found that the cost of the damage currently caused by agriculture is actually greater than the value of the food produced. Overall, the damaging way the world currently produces food and uses land causes $12tn a year in hidden costs to the environment, human health and development. Furthermore, producing healthy, sustainable food would actually cut food prices, as the condition of the land improves.

Jeremy Oppenheim, principal at the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), the collaboration of food, farming and green research groups that produced the new report, said:

“There is incredibly small direct targeting of [subsidies at] positive environment outcomes, which is insane. We have got to switch these subsidies into explicitly positive measures.”

Oppenheim explains how some subsidies are difficult to quantify precisely so the true global total was likely to be $1tn a year. “That trillion dollars of public funding is available and is a massive, massive lever to incentivize the farming community across the world to act differently,” he says.

Dairy Cows in New York. (Photo Credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Dairy Cows in New York. (Photo Credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

This isn’t the only report that reveals how the world’s food system is broken. There have been a series of recent works shining a light on the problem. Here are three:

  • 130 national academies of science and medicine concluded in November 2018 that the system is driving the planet towards climate catastrophe while leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight.
  • Another 2018 study created a huge dataset based on almost 40,000 farms in 119 countries and covering 40 food products that represent 90% of all that is eaten. The research found that livestock uses 83% of farmland to produce just 18% of calories, therefore avoiding meat and dairy was the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet.
  • Yet another impactful piece of research is the “planetary health diet” which was published by scientists in January 2019. Adopting this diet requires an 80% cut in the red meat eaten by Europeans and North Americans so the world could see 60% of today’s pasture could be used for wildlife or other environmental purposes in the coming decades. That 60% is an area roughly the size of Brazil!

Meanwhile, Oppenheim’s FOLU report states that they “couldn’t find any examples of governments using their fiscal instruments to directly support the expansion of supply of healthier and more nutritious food.”

If things don’t change, the consequences will likely be catastrophic. The report states:

“Continuing on current trends means sleepwalking into a scenario wherein climate change increasingly threatens human life, biodiversity and natural resources are depleted, people increasingly suffer life-threatening, diet-induced diseases, food security would be compromised, and [poverty reduction] is seriously impaired. Such a pathway would within a few decades threaten our collective security.”

Transforming the food and land use systems in the next decade is not a daunting task, but a remarkable opportunity! It could reap a societal return more than 15 times the investment costs required. Not only that, but it would also make the food supply more secure.

Oppenheim said:

“Stick with the model we have got and you can be reasonably confident that in the next 20 years we are going to have a number of climate-related food price spikes, because we have a highly concentrated system, with a small number of [regions] that are absolutely critical to the supply of grains.”

Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi, research director at FOLU and formerly at the World Bank, added:

“We need a big system reset and I think it is the role of government is to lead on these issues. It is extremely important for the planet, but it can be good for business too…a shift to sustainable production of healthy food could unlock $4.5tn in new commercial opportunities each year by 2030.”

Beautiful, dense vegetation from the cloud forests from Costa Rica. Credit: Shutterstock
Beautiful, dense vegetation from the cloud forests from Costa Rica. Credit: Shutterstock

There are some examples of the benefits from reforming subsidies. For instance, farmers in the European Union have reduced greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer by 17% while yields rose. Meanwhile, Costa Rica has seen a remarkable return of rainforest following the elimination of cattle subsidies as well as payments for improving nature. “But there is a long way to go,” the report concludes. “Perverse subsidies need to be rapidly redirected or phased out.”

This article (Farming Subsidies Are Destroying The World, And The Public Is Paying For Them) was originally created for Intelligent Living and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Environment

Nine Latin American Countries Set 70% Renewable Energy Target By 2030

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Nine Latin American Countries Set 70% Renewable Energy Target By 2030
Photo Credit: www.intelligentliving.co

Latin America is in the spotlight for its promising rise in climate leadership! Nine countries have set a collective target of 70% renewable energy use by 2030, which is more than double the EU’s target of 32%.

Colombian energy minister Maria Fernanda Suarez presented the target at the United Nations Climate Action Summit (that just took place in the beginning of October), where world leaders were asked to deliver concrete proposals to combat climate change. Colombian President Iván Duque was also present.

It’s the most ambitious goal in terms of a global region. Right now, nine countries in the region have agreed to this plan and we will continue to get more countries to be part of this goal ahead of the upcoming summit,” Suarez said. “The introduction of viable renewables, meaning wind, solar, biomass or other clean energy, is the first priority.”

Colombia has been working towards diversify its energy sector by really pushing the implementation of wind and solar technology. At the moment, over a third of the nation’s energy already comes from renewable sources like hydroelectric power. There was also news about a massive solar project recently being approved by a government agency – it’s so big it could help save Colombia two hundred million tons of carbon emissions once up and running!

The other countries involved in the pact include, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Panama and Brazil are undecided, and the rest of the countries are not involved. It has been a growing trend on the continent to push for renewable alternatives and this pact is a part of that. Although, some countries like Panama and Brazil are still considering whether to commit to the ambitious plan.

Atacama Desert wind farm. Credit: Jose Luis Stephens/iStock

The upcoming annual UN Climate Change Conference will be hosted by Chile in December – this momentum is in preparation for that. Chile has definitely been at the forefront of combating climate change. President Sebastián Piñera has placed climate change at the top of his agenda since the start of his second term in December 2017 and significant legislative actions have taken place. Dozens of coal factories are expected to close soon to help the country reach its overall aim of carbon neutrality by 2050.

These bold leaders in Colombia and Chile are spurring initiatives, at a time where firm global leadership has largely been stalled, and inspiring the rest of Latin America to aim high. All these nations united – enthusiastically combating climate change – are creating a model for the rest of the world to follow!

If you enjoyed reading this article and want to see more like this one, we’d be humbled if you would help us spread the word and share it with your friends and family. Join us in our quest to promote free, useful information to all!

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