Vegetarian Discussion: FOR YOUR HEALTH - Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine

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And/or Www.mantra.com/jai Dr. Jai Maharaj
2008-09-20 03:41:58 EST
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

http://www.pcrm.org

Jai Maharaj
http://tinyurl.com/24fq83
http://www.mantra.com/jai
http://www.mantra.com/jyotish
Om Shanti

Dutch
2008-09-20 04:20:18 EST

"*t@mantra.com and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)" wrote in
message news:20080919SnaulHh47sfw3y0jo81MSKD@M2U6l...
> Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
>
> http://www.pcrm.org


http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/23
"The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a wolf in
sheep's
clothing. PCRM is a fanatical animal rights group that seeks to remove eggs,
milk, meat, and seafood from the American diet, and to eliminate the use of
animals in scientific research. Despite its operational and financial ties
to other animal activist groups and its close relationship with violent
zealots, PCRM has successfully duped the media and much of the general
public into believing that its pronouncements about the superiority of
vegetarian-only diets represent the opinion of the medical community.
"Less than 5 percent of PCRM's members are physicians," Newsweek wrote in
February 2004. The respected news magazine continued:



Pearl
2008-09-20 07:05:57 EST
"Dutch" <no@email.com> wrote in message news:al2Bk.10866$Il.10587@newsfe09.iad...
>
> "usenet@mantra.com and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)" wrote in
> message news:20080919SnaulHh47sfw3y0jo81MSKD@M2U6l...

> > Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
> >
> > http://www.pcrm.org
>
> http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/23
> "The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a wolf in
> sheep's
> clothing. PCRM is a fanatical animal rights group that seeks to remove eggs,
> milk, meat, and seafood from the American diet, and to eliminate the use of
> animals in scientific research. Despite its operational and financial ties
> to other animal activist groups and its close relationship with violent
> zealots, PCRM has successfully duped the media and much of the general
> public into believing that its pronouncements about the superiority of
> vegetarian-only diets represent the opinion of the medical community.
> "Less than 5 percent of PCRM's members are physicians," Newsweek wrote in
> February 2004. The respected news magazine continued:

'ActivistCash.com is a web site affiliated with the Center for Consumer
Freedom (CCF), a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco
industries. ActivistCash.com was launched in November 2001.

ActivistCash.com was created by Berman & Co., a public affairs firm
owned by lobbyist Rick Berman. Based in Washington, DC, Berman &
Co. represents the tobacco industry as well as hotels, beer distributors,
taverns, and restaurant chains.

In a 1999 interview with the Chain Leader, a trade publication for
restaurant chains, Berman boasted that he attacks activists more
aggressively than other lobbyists. "We always have a knife in our teeth,"
he said. Since activists "drive consumer behavior on meat, alcohol, fat,
sugar, tobacco and caffeine," his strategy is "to shoot the messenger. ...
We've got to attack their credibility as spokespersons."

ActivistCash.com was established for precisely this purpose.
..'
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=ActivistCash

'CBS' "60 Minutes" last year called the center's director, Richard Berman,
a "hired gun." In an editorial, USA Today suggested that the group should
change its Web address from ConsumerFreedom.com to FatforProfit.com.

A Chronicle story six years ago described an advertising campaign in
which the center ridiculed the "junk science" that inhibits Americans'
freedom of dietary choice.

Nonetheless, the center's letter was persuasive, given the national registry's
exhaustive findings. But did the registry actually find what the center claimed?

Not even close, said Suzanne Phelan, a Brown Medical School assistant
professor and registry co-investigator.
..
Informed choice demands accurate information, said Marjorie Freedman,
a professor of nutrition at San Jose State University, in a letter to the paper
citing the center's opposition to labeling, indifference to the role of diet and
distortion of the registry's conclusions.

"Telling part of the story doesn't protect consumer choice - it sabotages it,"
she said.
..'
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgif=/c/a/2008/07/20/INA811PEQV.DTL&hw=Center+for+Consumer+Freedom&sn=003&sc=323

'NEWS RELEASE August 7, 2008

Physicians' Group Responds to Smear Tactics by American Meat
Institute and Tobacco/Meat Industry Front Group

Criticisms Are False and Anti-Public Health

Washington-The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
(PCRM) responds to news releases published recently by the "Center
for Consumer Freedom" (CCF), a group funded by the tobacco, meat,
and junk food industries, and the American Meat Institute (AMI), a
meat-industry organization that promotes consumption of processed
meats and other unhealthful products.

Both organizations, which are funded by the meat industry, aim to
confuse consumers about the genuine health risks posed by processed
meats. Those risks are supported by extensive scientific research,
including a recent landmark report from two prestigious cancer
organizations - the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)
and the World Cancer Research Fund. The AICR report concluded
that when it comes to colon cancer, there is absolutely no amount of
processed meat that's safe to eat. In fact, according to researchers,
just one 50-gram serving of bacon, sausage, deli meats, or other
processed meat daily increases our risk of colorectal cancer, on
average, by 21 percent.

Other cancer organizations, including the American Cancer Society
and the National Cancer Institute, have also flagged processed meats
as a cancer risk and recommend that consumers avoid processed
meats or reduce their consumption of these products.

According to expos\ufffds in major media outlets, CCF was founded by
tobacco lobbyist Rick Berman with more than $3 million from Philip
Morris and continues to receive funding from industries that market
unhealthful products. Through CCF and other front groups, Berman
has fought against stricter limits on legal blood-alcohol levels,
improvements in minimum wage, health information for consumers,
and other progressive efforts that his commercial clients view as
contrary to their interests.

Over the past few years, CCF has escalated its attacks against
organizations that warn the public about the health risks associated with
alcohol, meat, and other junk food products. Berman has admitted
publicly that his MO is to "shoot the messenger" by trying to disparage
the credibility of his opponents. His employees do not attempt reasoned
discussion of the scientific issues about health. The long list of public
health advocates in CCF's line of fire includes former New York Mayor
Rudy Giuliani for speaking out against drunk driving, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention for tackling food safety, the World
Health Organization for addressing obesity, and Mothers Against Drunk
Driving.

As to CCF's and AMI's false statements about PCRM, here's the truth.
Founded more than 20 years ago, PCRM is a nonprofit 501(c)(3)
organization working to promote good nutrition and higher standards in
both human and animal research. PCRM conducts clinical nutrition
research and helps educate the public about preventive medicine,
especially the multitude of health benefits possible with low-fat and
vegetarian diets. PCRM also opposes unethical research. PCRM
exposed experiments in which short, healthy children were to be injected
with a genetically engineered growth hormone in an attempt to make them
taller. PCRM also exposed the practice of using massive estrogen doses
to suppress height in tall adolescent girls. In addition, PCRM vigorously
promotes alternatives to the use of animals in medical education and
research through a variety of innovative programs.

PCRM's physicians, dietitians, and scientists are leaders in their fields.
They publish their work in peer-reviewed academic journals, present
their findings before scientific conferences, and serve as consultants on
government panels. PCRM's president Neal Barnard, M.D.
(www.NealBarnard.org), for example, is a respected nutrition researcher
whose research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and
published in major peer-reviewed journals. PCRM experts are also
popular with lay audiences. PCRM doctors and nutritionists are frequent
guests in the national and international media and popular writers in the
lay press.

These industry organizations sometimes mistakenly charge that the
American Medical Association (AMA) disagrees with PCRM's nutrition
policies or with vegetarian diets. This is patently untrue. PCRM did have
disagreements with the AMA in the early 1990s (PCRM favored
vegetarian diets, while the AMA was initially skeptical), but in February
2004, the AMA released a statement saying that its previous criticisms
of PCRM's stance on vegetarianism do not represent current AMA
opinion or policy (www.pcrm.org/news/statement040218.html). There
is no longer any acrimony between the groups. Many PCRM members
are also AMA members. PCRM president, Neal D. Barnard, M.D., is
an AMA Lifetime Member.

CCF and other meat-industry organizations also allege that PCRM acts
as a "front" for other groups. This is another unfounded and defamatory
claim. While CCF is indeed an industry front, PCRM is an independent,
nonprofit organization, and has been since its founding in 1985. PCRM
works with a wide range of organizations promoting human health,
scientific research, medical education, and protection of animals in
laboratories, as well as consumer groups, hospitals, universities,
corporations, and other health charities. For more information about
PCRM or an interview with one of our senior staff, please call PCRM's
Communications Department at ------------ (number at link)

Expos\ufffds and other background information about the Center for
Consumer Freedom: [links at source]

The San Francisco Chronicle
The Washington Post
USA Today
The American Prospect
ABC-TV, San Francisco
Source Watch

Background information about processed meats and cancer risk:

The American Institute for Cancer Research advises consumers to
"avoid processed meats."

A study conducted by American Cancer Society researchers concludes
that "[p]eople who ate the most processed meats were 50% more likely
to develop colon cancer and 20% more likely to develop rectal cancer
compared to those who ate the least."

The American Cancer Society encourages people to "[l]imit intake of
processed and red meats."

The National Cancer Institute: "Red meat and processed meat are
associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, and there is also
suggested evidence for some other cancers, such as prostate cancer."
A meta-analysis in Journal of the National Cancer Institute concludes
that "Increased consumption of processed meat is associated with an
increased risk of stomach cancer."

USA Today article: "Put down that bacon! Report emphasizes
cancer-fat links"

[links at source]

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine,
especially good nutrition. PCRM also conducts clinical research studies,
opposes unethical human experimentation, and promotes alternatives to
animal research.
..'
http://www.pcrm.org/news/release080708.html



Dutch
2008-09-20 12:49:57 EST
pearl wrote:
> "Dutch" <no@email.com> wrote in message news:al2Bk.10866$Il.10587@newsfe09.iad...
>> "usenet@mantra.com and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)" wrote in
>> message news:20080919SnaulHh47sfw3y0jo81MSKD@M2U6l...
>
>>> Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
>>>
>>> http://www.pcrm.org
>> http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/23
>> "The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a wolf in
>> sheep's
>> clothing. PCRM is a fanatical animal rights group that seeks to remove eggs,
>> milk, meat, and seafood from the American diet, and to eliminate the use of
>> animals in scientific research. Despite its operational and financial ties
>> to other animal activist groups and its close relationship with violent
>> zealots, PCRM has successfully duped the media and much of the general
>> public into believing that its pronouncements about the superiority of
>> vegetarian-only diets represent the opinion of the medical community.
>> "Less than 5 percent of PCRM's members are physicians," Newsweek wrote in
>> February 2004. The respected news magazine continued:
>
> 'ActivistCash.com is a web site affiliated with the Center for Consumer
> Freedom (CCF),

The National Council Against Health Fraud
http://www.ncahf.org/
http://www.ncahf.org/articles/o-r/pcrm.html

Diet: Survival, Longevity, and Quality of Life.
NCAHF recognizes that humans can survive on many different kinds of
diets, and individual's diets are rooted more in culture and personal
preference than science. Hindus are largely vegetarians. Eskimos and
Canada's Inuits subsist exclusively on raw meat. Australian aborigines
eat lizards and insects. Coastal Indians eat seafood. Nomads eat grazing
animals that move with them in their ceaseless journeys. Many religions
have dietary restrictions. Despite such wide variations, they all
survive. However, survival does not equate with longevity. Natural
selection only requires that people live long enough to propagate and
rear their young. Epidemiologists, who must quantify "health" so
differing groups can be compared, have determined that the gauge of the
health of a society is life expectancy. Life expectancy in primitive
settings is only 22-29 years [14]. Non-experts focus too much upon
causes of death without realizing that a higher rate of heart disease,
cancer, and stroke reflects a population that has lived long enough to
develop such diseases. Longevity is a consistent feature of a modern
technological society. Besides survival and longevity, public health
experts also take into account quality of life. If longevity means just
more time spent in boredom, the prospects for an a meaningful life are
bleak indeed. Underdeveloped nations are usually deprived of many of the
things that make people's lives more enjoyable, including festive foods.
The diets of the poor nations are largely vegetarian. As societies
become more prosperous, they also eat more meat and animal products.

NCAHF wonders if the vegetarian ideologist is merely today's ascetic who
revels in self-denial and wars against pleasure. Animal rights devotees
reflect the Taoist worldview. On April 24, 1996, PETA's Ingrid Newkirk
appeared on the television show Day & Date opposing sport fishing. Her
arguments began by eliciting sympathy for fish as living creatures who
suffocate when taken out of the water. She then said that fish were
unhealthful food because they contain mercury and other environmental
contaminants. Her ultimate solution was for people to "go vegetarian."
Her opponent, a television talk-show hostess pressed her into
acknowledging the PETA creed. She recalled an on-air encounter with a
PETA representative where a scenario was presented in which her daughter
needed a vital organ of a beloved household pet to survive. The ethical
question centered around placing a value on the life of a child versus a
household pet. The PETA representative held that the child has no more
value than the pet, reflecting the Taoist view that all life is equally
sacred. An individual is free to choose such a belief if they wish, but
should neither force such a value on others by law or by using mind
control techniques.

NCAHF supports efforts to prevent cruelty to animals. It deplores the
public torture and maiming of animals in cultural rituals such as bull
fighting, cock fighting, dog fighting, animal beheading on horseback,
and so forth. NCAHF deplores the poaching of endangered species for the
purpose of obtaining their body parts for medicinal purposes based upon
superstition. NCAHF deplores the plunder of sharks for the purpose of
supplying the quack remedy shark cartilage. NCAHF endorses the
responsible use of animals in medical research. NCAHF considers
vegetarianism, particularly veganism, a hygienic religion that meets
deep emotional needs of its followers. Adherents cannot be trusted to be
objective, reliable sources of information on anything that bears upon
its fundamental paradigm. PCRM pretends to speak for physicians who are
functioning as medical experts. In reality, it is speaking for a handful
of ideologists who happen to be physicians, but who are functioning as
vege-evangelists.

The essence of sound nutrition is in three guiding words; four basic
food groups, and the seven Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The three
guiding words are: variety, moderation, and balance. Food groups help
balance the variety from which diets may be selected. All food is
"health food" in moderation; any food is "junk food" in excess -- there
are no inherently "good" or "bad" foods, just good and bad total diets.
More than anything else in food, it is excessive calories producing too
much body fat (rather than dietary fat per se) that is associated with
our high frequency of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and
cancer. Exercise, which also should be done in moderation with variety
and balance, is inseparable from diet for good health. NCAHF highly
recommends Total Nutrition by Victor Herbert as a comprehensive guide to
sound nutrition information

UNmaiviLambi
2008-09-20 13:05:50 EST
On Sep 20, 12:49 pm, Dutch <n...@email.com> wrote:
> pearl wrote:
> > "Dutch" <n...@email.com> wrote in messagenews:al2Bk.10866$Il.10587@newsfe09.iad...

I think it is ridiculous to say 1) eating meat is as ethical and
humane as vegetarian consumption 2) eating meat does not cause
ecological damage. Meat consumption is the major cause of damage and
industrial expansion (other than meat industry) comes second! Health
is another advantage but the other two are far more important

Dutch
2008-09-20 15:21:21 EST
"uNmaiviLambi" <tripurantaka@yahoo.com> wrote

I think it is ridiculous to say 1) eating meat is as ethical and
humane as vegetarian consumption

I agree. It is also ridiculous to say that "vegetarian consumption" is as
ethical and humane as eating meat. Neither statement contains enough
information to make such a determination. You are not stipulating which
meat, which vegetables, raised in what manner, nor have you established a
mutually acceptable definition for the words "humane" or "ethical".

2) eating meat does not cause
ecological damage.

I agree again, but again, nobody is saying that. All agriculture causes
ecological damage. Take a tour of the western praires and tell me which are
the more "ecologically damaged", the grain fields or the pastures where cows
are seen grazing.


Meat consumption is the major cause of damage and
industrial expansion (other than meat industry) comes second!
Health is another advantage but the other two are far more important


Sigh.. until you're ready to examine your beliefs critically nothing I say
is going to matter.


UNmaiviLambi
2008-09-20 15:42:15 EST
On Sep 20, 3:21 pm, "Dutch" <n...@email.com> wrote:
> "uNmaiviLambi" <tripurant...@yahoo.com> wrote

> Sigh.. until you're ready to examine your beliefs critically nothing I say
> is going to matter.

I should clarify that ecological damage means consequences such as
global warming! Ethics means the morality of killing an animal with a
face and that which moves or flies!!

Let us critically examine!!


Dutch
2008-09-20 23:10:08 EST

"uNmaiviLambi" <tripurantaka@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:5ab57f8c-73dc-4402-9a97-477e0284fa78@8g2000hse.googlegroups.com...
On Sep 20, 3:21 pm, "Dutch" <n...@email.com> wrote:
> "uNmaiviLambi" <tripurant...@yahoo.com> wrote

> Sigh.. until you're ready to examine your beliefs critically nothing I say
> is going to matter.

>I should clarify that ecological damage means consequences such as
>global warming!

Ecological damage has many faces, most of them much more immediate than
"global warming".

> Ethics means the morality of killing an animal with a
>face and that which moves or flies!!

If that's immoral then we're all going to hell, but you haven't established
that it is.

> Let us critically examine!!

I am trying, are you?



Pearl
2008-09-21 07:28:37 EST
"Dutch" <no@email.com> wrote in message news:_O9Bk.15640$rV4.7247@newsfe03.iad...
> pearl wrote:
> > "Dutch" <no@email.com> wrote in message news:al2Bk.10866$Il.10587@newsfe09.iad...
> >> "usenet@mantra.com and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)" wrote in
> >> message news:20080919SnaulHh47sfw3y0jo81MSKD@M2U6l...
> >
> >>> Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
> >>>
> >>> http://www.pcrm.org

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine,
especially good nutrition. PCRM also conducts clinical research studies,
opposes unethical human experimentation, and promotes alternatives to
animal research.
..'
http://www.pcrm.org/news/release080708.html

> >> http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/23

'We've got to attack their credibility as spokespersons."

ActivistCash.com was established for precisely this purpose.
..'
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=ActivistCash

> The National Council Against Health Fraud

'http://www.quackpotwatch.org/ Quackwatch (Operated by Stephen
Barrett, M.D.) affiliate of the National Council Against Health Fraud.
(NCAHF)
..
The "quackbuster" operation is a conspiracy. It is a propaganda
enterprise, one part crackpot, two parts evil. It's sole purpose is to
discredit, and suppress, in an "anything goes" attack mode, what is
wrongfully named "Alternative Medicine." It has declared war on
reality. The conspirators are acting in the interests of, and are
being paid, directly and indirectly, by the "conventional" medical-
industrial complex.
..
"..Really, we're a bunch of guerrillas - we're not a large group, there
are about 40 members, but we're the only such group in the country."
---Barrett (Ref: The Assault On Medical Freedom - by P. Joseph
Lisa c 1994)
..'
http://www.whale.to/a/quackwatch.html

'Pharmaceutical Market Trends, 2007 - 2011

"The global pharmaceutical market grew to US$643 billion in 2006,
growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.0% between
1999 and 2006.
..
The global pharmaceutical market is forecast to grow to US$897 billion
in 2011 [..]
..'
http://www.bioportfolio.com/cgi-bin/acatalog/Pharmaceutical_Market_Trends__2007_-_2011.html

> The essence of sound nutrition is in three guiding words; four basic
> food groups, and the seven Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The three
> guiding words are: variety, moderation, and balance.

'Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets (1997)

Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and
reduced risk for several chronic degenerative diseases and conditions,
including obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus,
and some types of cancer.
..
Studies indicate that vegetarians often have lower morbidity (1) and
mortality (2) rates from several chronic degenerative diseases than do
nonvegetarians.
..
Vegetarian diets low in fat or saturated fat have been used successfully
as part of comprehensive health programs to reverse severe coronary artery
disease (3,4). Vegetarian diets offer disease protection benefits because of
their lower saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein content and often
higher concentration of folate (which reduces serum homocysteine levels)
(5), antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and phytochemicals
(6). Not only is mortality from coronary artery disease lower in vegetarians
than in nonvegetarians (7), but vegetarian diets have also been successful in
arresting coronary artery disease (8,9). Total serum cholesterol and low-
density lipoprotein cholesterol levels are usually lower in vegetarians, but
high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels vary depending
on the type of vegetarian diet followed (10).

Vegetarians tend to have a lower incidence of hypertension than
nonvegetarians (11). This effect appears to be independent of both body
weight and sodium intake. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is much less likely to
be a cause of death in vegetarians than nonvegetarians, perhaps because
of their higher intake of complex carbohydrates and lower body mass
index (12).

Incidence of lung and colorectal cancer is lower in vegetarians than in
nonvegetarians (2,13). Reduced colorectal cancer risk is associated with
increased consumption of fiber, vegetables, and fruit (14,15). The
environment of the colon differs notably in vegetarians compared with
nonvegetarians in ways that could favorably affect colon cancer risk
(16,17). Lower breast cancer rates have not been observed in Western
vegetarians, but cross-cultural data indicate that breast cancer rates are
lower in populations that consume plant-based diets (18). The lower
estrogen levels in vegetarian women may be protective (19).

A well-planned vegetarian diet may be useful in the prevention and
treatment of renal disease. Studies using human being and animal
models suggest that some plant proteins may increase survival rates
and decrease proteinuria, glomerular filtration rate, renal blood flow,
and histologic renal damage compared with a nonvegetarian diet
(20,21).
...'
http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/adapaper.htm

'Cardiovascular Pharmaceutical Market Trends, 2007 to 2010

The global cardiovascular market grew to US$89.7 billion in 2005, a
year-on-year increase of 9.6%.

The global cardiovascular market is forecast to expand to US$116.3
billion in 2010, equivalent to a CAGR of 5.3% over the next five years.
The slow-down in cardiovascular market growth between 2003 and
2005 is forecast to continue through to 2010. While continued changes
in demographics and lifestyle will continue to drive cardiovascular
sales forward, growth rates will be limited by continued patent expiries
for major products and a dearth of novel therapies being introduced.
..'
http://www.bioportfolio.com/cgi-bin/acatalog/Cardiovascular_Pharmaceutical_Market_Trends__2007_to_2010.html

> The diets of the poor nations are largely vegetarian. As societies
> become more prosperous, they also eat more meat and animal products.

'Continued double-digit market growth in China will make it the seventh
biggest drug market by sales in 2010.
..'
http://www.bioportfolio.com/cgi-bin/acatalog/Pharmaceutical_Market_Trends__2007_-_2011.html



Pearl
2008-09-21 08:11:08 EST
"Dutch" <no@email.com> wrote in message news:sUiBk.16391$wr1.6341@newsfe02.iad...
>
> "uNmaiviLambi" <tripurantaka@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:5ab57f8c-73dc-4402-9a97-477e0284fa78@8g2000hse.googlegroups.com...

> >I should clarify that ecological damage means consequences such as
> >global warming!
>
> Ecological damage has many faces, most of them much more immediate than
> "global warming".

'The Warming Globe and Us

It's More Than CO2

by Dan Brook and Richard H. Schwartz / May 1st, 2007

Global warming goes way beyond "an inconvenient truth". We are overheating
our planet to alarming levels with potentially catastrophic consequences. 2006
was the hottest year on record in the U.S. and the 10 hottest years on record
have occurred since 1994. Think of an overheated car, an overcooked dinner,
or being sick with a fever. Now imagine that on a planetary scale.

Global warming is perhaps the biggest social, political economic, and
environmental problem facing our planet and its inhabitants. People are becoming
increasingly aware of and concerned about global warming, despite ExxonMobil
misinformation and Bush Administration obfuscation, due to frequent reports
regarding record heat, wildfires, an increase in the number and severity of storms,
droughts, the melting of glaciers, permafrost, and polar ice caps, rising sea levels,
flooding, acidification of the oceans, changes in wind direction, endangered
species and accelerated species extinction, spreading diseases, shrinking lakes,
submerged islands, and environmental refugees. We may be standing at a
precipice.

At the close of 2006, there were reports of at least three major events that
dramatized the present threat of global warming: (1) the Indian island of
Lohachara had to be evacuated before being submerged, creating over 10,000
refugees; (2) the massive Ayles Ice Shelf broke off from the Canadian Arctic;
and (3) the Bush Administration, which has been resistant to addressing global
warming, and generally hostile toward the environment, agreed that polar bears
are "threatened", as many polar bears are drowning and starving to death,
mainly due to melting ice caused by global warming, and moved to protect
them under the Endangered Species Act. Global warming is also threatening
penguins, seals, frogs, butterflies, African elephants, and many other animals.

All this comes on top of other recent catastrophes: the collapse of ice shelves
in Antarctica and Greenland; unprecedented weather events around the world,
such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; killer heat waves, causing among other
things, a bust of the ski season in Europe and the deaths of 35,000-50,000
people in Europe in the summer of 2003; the disappearing of glaciers from
Glacier National Park in Montana and elsewhere (about 80% of the world's
glaciers are shrinking); and other ominous signs of disaster.

"Such a path is not merely unsustainable", according to Harvard Professor
John P. Holdren, president of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science, "it is a prescription for disaster."

There is no doubt that humanity is threatened as perhaps never before and
major changes have to occur to put our imperiled planet on a sustainable path
- and soon. Even though a small number of individuals argue against global
warming, there is a scientific and environmental consensus - among all major
scientific and environmental organizations, journals, and magazines, and all peer-
reviewed scholarly articles - that global warming is real, serious, worsening, and
caused or exacerbated by human activity. The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fourth Assessment Report in February
2007, which was researched and written by about 2,500 climate scientists over
six years and vetted by over 130 governments.

The Report carefully delineates clear trends and catastrophic consequences
associated with climate change, warning of the possibility of severe and
irreversible change, unless we make concerted efforts to counter global
warming. The IPCC makes it plain that the current and projected climate
change is not simply "natural variation", but "very likely" (meaning at least 90%)
the result of human activity. Even Time magazine (and the Brookings Institution,
among many others) has declared the "case closed" on the problem of global
warming, with only the solutions to still debate.

Several leading experts, including climatologist James Hansen of NASA and
physicist Stephen Hawking, perhaps the most famous living scientist, as well
as Al Gore and others, warn that global climate change may reach a 'tipping
point' and spiral out of control, with disastrous consequences, if current
conditions continue. A recent 700-page British government report, authored
by a former chief economist for the World Bank, projects losses of up to
20% of world gross domestic product by 2050 unless 1% of current world
domestic product is devoted to combating global climate change. Other
economic studies have projected even worse scenarios. Whether for personal
or public health, for a personal crisis or a planetary one, prevention is far
cheaper and easier than trying to catch up and clean up after the catastrophe.

It therefore should not be surprising that the Pentagon states that global
warming is a larger threat than even terrorism.

"Picture Japan, suffering from flooding along its coastal cities and
contamination of its fresh water supply, eyeing Russia's Sakhalin Island oil
and gas reserves as an energy source", suggests a Pentagon memo on global
warming. "Envision Pakistan, India and China - all armed with nuclear
weapons - skirmishing at their borders over refugees, access to shared river
and arable land."

The new Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has said
that climate change needs to be taken as seriously as war and, further, that
"changes in our environment and the resulting upheavals from droughts to
inundated coastal areas to loss of arable land are likely to become a major
driver of war and conflict". Fighting global warming may be one way to
prevent future wars, simultaneously increasing energy security and physical
security.

Progressives have additional cause for concern. The people most affected by
global warming are the socially disadvantaged - especially the poor, people
of color including the indigenous, women, children, the elderly, people with
disabilities, subsistence farmers, and those dependent on a single crop for
their livelihood or a few species for their nutritional needs - since they are
often in the weakest position to guard against environmental damages and
will likely suffer the most harm.

"It's the poorest of the poor in the world, and this includes poor people even
in prosperous societies, who are going to be the worst hit," said IPCC Chair
Rajendra Pachauri.

Further, increased suffering and increasing numbers of environmental
refugees, along with greater anxiety over declining access to food, water, land,
and housing, the material essentials of life, often lead to unstable conditions
that give rise to anger, ethnic violence, fascism, and war, which all-too-often
have been targeted at minority communities and vulnerable people. In addition
to causing more famine and disease, the fallout from climate change may also
lead to more terrorism and violence, by impoverishing and radicalizing people,
and making them more desperate, according to some experts. Those who
needlessly degrade and destroy the environment to satisfy their own selfish
pleasures are like the pre-revolutionary Queen Marie-Antoinette, declaring
"Let them eat carbon dioxide"!

A collateral benefit of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to fight global
warming is that it will reduce air and water pollution. Such modern crises kill
many more people each year than terrorism, causing havoc in the present and
creating a distressful environmental debt for our descendants, instead of
bequeathing a healthy future. Energy independence and self-sufficiency,
especially in the form of decentralized renewable fuel sources, is an important
step toward a more sustainable world.

Yes, we need our governments, corporations, schools, religious institutions, and
other organizations to get actively involved in fighting global warming. Yes, the
U.S. - the largest contributor to global warming - needs to join 169 others and
ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Yes, we need more fuel-efficient cars, appliances,
electronics, batteries, and light bulbs, and, yes, our society needs to switch
away from fossil fuels and toward renewable ones, such as solar, wind, tidal,
biomass, hydrogen, and others. But while we are struggling for these important
and positive large-scale social changes, we also need to say "yes!" to personal
changes.

A major study showing how personal change can affect global warming is
in the November 2006 390-page report of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow
http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/." It states that animal-
based agriculture causes approximately 18% of greenhouse gas emissions,
which lead to global warming, an amount greater than that caused by all forms
of transportation on the planet combined.

Cars are still problematic, of course, but cows and other animals raised for
human consumption are contributing more to global warming, thereby causing
more damage to our existence. Therefore, what we eat is actually more
important than what we drive and the most important personal change we
could make for the environment, as well as for our health and the lives of
animals, is to switch to vegetarianism.

"If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating
meat", Paul McCartney has said. "That's the single most important thing
you could do."

The world is feeding over 50 billion farmed animals, while millions of people,
disproportionately children, starve to death each year. Over 70% of the major
grains produced in the U.S. (and about one-third produced worldwide) is
inefficiently and immorally diverted to feed farmed animals, to satisfy appetites
for money and meat, as it takes up to sixteen pounds of grain to produce a
single pound of feedlot beef for human consumption.

The FAO study reports that the livestock industry, in total, uses and abuses
roughly 30% of the planet's surface, thereby "entering into direct competition
[with other activities] for scarce land, water and other natural resources."
Further, overuse of the land by livestock, leading to overuse of fuel and
water, also degrades the land and pollutes the water around it, contributing
to additional environmental and health problems.

An animal-based diet also uses energy very inefficiently. It requires 78 calories
of fossil fuel for each calorie of protein obtained from feedlot-produced beef,
but only 2 calories of fossil fuel to produce a calorie of protein from
soybeans. Grains and beans require only 2-5% as much fossil fuel as beef.
The energy needed to produce a pound of grain-fed beef is equivalent to one
gallon of gasoline. Reducing energy consumption is not only a better choice
in terms of fightig climate change, it is also a better choice in terms of being
less dependent on foreign oil and the vagaries of both markets and dictators.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, a vegetarian, "we must be the change
we wish to see in this world".

Additionally, the editors of World Watch (July/August 2004) concluded:
The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every
major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future -
deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate
change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of
communities, and the spread of disease." Lee Hall, the legal director for
Friends of Animals, is more succinct: "Behind virtually every great
environmental complaint there's milk and meat.

While growing concern about global warming is welcome, the many
connections between the increasingly globalized Standard American Diet
(SAD) and global warming have generally been overlooked or marginalized.

The production of meat contributes significantly to the emission of the
three major gases associated with global warming: carbon dioxide (CO2),
methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as other eco-destructive
gases such as ammonia, which contributes to acid rain.

Indeed, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, Unit on
Climate Change, "There is a strong link between human diet and methane
emissions from livestock." The 2004 World Watch publication State of
the World is more specific regarding the link between animals raised for
meat and global warming: "Belching, flatulent livestock emit 16% of the
world's annual production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas."

Likewise, with the July 2005 issue of Physics World: "The animals we eat
emit 21% of all the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity."
Eating meat and other animal products directly contributes to the
environmentally-irresponsible industry and its devastating impact on the
environment, including the dire threat of global warming.

While carbon dioxide is the most plentiful greenhouse gas, methane is 23
times more powerful, and nitrous oxide is a whopping 296 times more
potent, than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming potential. With
the livestock industry emitting such a huge amount of methane and given
that methane degrades relatively quickly in the atmosphere (in approximately
12 years as compared to hundreds or even thousands for carbon dioxide),
a sharp decrease in animal consumption, and therefore subsequent livestock
production, would provide the necessary near-term alleviation from global
warming potentially "spinning out of control".

Further, changing from the Standard American Diet to a vegetarian or, better
yet, vegan diet, according to geophysicists at the University of Chicago,
does more to fight global warming than switching from a gas-guzzling
Hummer to a Camry or from a Camry to a Prius.

It has been said that "eating meat is like driving a huge SUV. a vegetarian
diet is like driving a [hybrid], and. a vegan diet is like riding a bicycle."
Shifting away from SUVs, SUV lifestyles, and SUV-style diets, to energy-
efficient, life-affirming alternatives, is essential to fighting global warming.
Planetary sustainability and the well-being of humanity are greatly
dependent on a shift toward plant-based diets. One easy and effective way
to fight global warming every day is with our forks, knives, and chopsticks!
We have the opportunity and the responsibility to act against global warming.
Therefore, we need to take action. If we don't, the "procrastination penalty"
will be painful. "How wonderful it is", Anne Frank wrote in her diary, "that
nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

It is increasingly clear that eliminating, or at least sharply reducing, the
production and consumption of meat and other animal products is
imperative to help reduce global warming and other grave environmental
threats, in addition to benefitting one's physical and spiritual health.
Mark Twain once quipped that "Everybody talks about the weather, but
no one ever does anything about it."

Now we can. Now's the time.

*

Dan Brook, Ph.D., is the author of Modern Revolution and dozens of articles.
He maintains Eco-Eating http://www.brook.com/veg/, The Vegetarian Mitzvah,
No Smoking? http://www.brook.com/smoke/, and can be contacted via [..].
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism,
Judaism and Global Survival, and over 150 articles located at
JewishVeg.com/schwartz. He is President of Jewish Vegetarians of North
America http://www.jewishveg.com/, Coordinator of the Society of Ethical
and Religious Vegetarians (SERV), and can be contacted via [...].
Read other articles by Dan Brook
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/author/DanBrook/ .

This article was posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 at 3:00 am and is filed
under Environment.

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/05/the-warming-globe-and-us/


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