Opinion: Celebrate Earth Day at the supermarket, Potsdam resident says
Earth Day is April 22, marking a half century of promoting environmental awareneess and calling for protection of our planet. But are we making a difference? Can we do more than reduce, reuse and recycle? Sure! We can adopt a plant-based diet and stop consuming animals.
Why the focus on meat and dairy? An article in Nature argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, air and water pollution, and depletion of soil and freshwater resources. Oxford University's prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that solving the global warming catastrophe requires a massive shift to plant-based eating.Animal agriculture is responsible for carbon dioxide emissions from burning forests to create animal pastures and the operation of machinery to raise and transport animals. More damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and animal waste ponds, respectively. In fact, meat and dairy production dump more animal waste, fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined, and it’s the driving force behind wildlife extinction.
An environmentally sustainable world replaces meat and dairy products in our diet with vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources.
We can celebrate the observance of Earth Day at our supermarket.