Letter: Our diet choices impact climate change

Posted

To the editor:

Celebrated on April 22, Earth Day is meant to inspire personal and political action to stem climate change and protect the future of the planet. One of the most important decisions that individuals can make to shrink their carbon footprint is to decrease consumption of animal foods. While all agriculture contributes to global warming, growing animals to produce meat, eggs and dairy takes a disproportionate amount of natural resources and is responsible for higher greenhouse gas emissions.

When researchers from Loma Linda University in California measured average greenhouse gas emissions from subjects eating different types of diets, they found that the less animal food people ate, the lower the emissions associated with their diet. Choosing locally-produced and organic animal foods has a far smaller effect.

The impacts of climate change are felt most severely by the world's poorest people who are especially vulnerable to natural disasters and to food and water shortages. In the United States, where we consume almost twice the amount of meat as people in developing countries, we're presented with a powerful opportunity to act. It's an issue that should be taken seriously by everyone but especially by those who profess progressive values regarding poverty and the environment, and by people of faith who are tasked with honoring God's creation.

We who have choices about what we will eat — a choice that is not available to many across the globe — are uniquely privileged. With every meal, we can turn our back on those who live in poverty and on the very future of our planet, or we can choose to act — and eat — according to our values.

Ginny Messina,

Pittsfield

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