By Karin Bennett
Think way back to the days of the dinosaurs, the cave people, and America's original tea partiers for an instant reminder that in the grand scheme of things, 40 years is a drop in the bucket. And 40 years after the fast-food revolution took off in the 60s and 70s, McDonald's and other quickie burger and chicken joints continue to multiply and spread across the world than faster than a family of bedbugs in a New York City row house (or slaughterhouse).
The meat, dairy, and egg industries have helped to morph humans into meat addicts who shovel animal parts into their mouths only to sicken and die from meat-related ailments including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. And the meat factories have raped and fouled the world's land, water, and air—and not without severe and soon-to-be deadly consequences for the planet.
Fast-forward 40 years: Today's scientists make it very clear that if meat-eaters don't greatly curb their addictions—or better yet, quit them, pronto—then by 2050, life is going to be very grim for humans, many of whom will be suffering and dying from starvation. And a million other species, including elephants, polar bears, and tigers, will already be long gone, unable to cope with climate change and dwindling habitats.
Reynard Loki's article "Rise of the Herbivores" reiterates a point made in 2009 by the head of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, Jacque Diouf, who told attendees at a food-security conference that global food production would need to double by 2050 in order to head off mass hunger. But if humans don't check their meat addictions and if meat production continues as is, then by 2050, the livestock sector alone might either occupy the majority of, or significantly overshoot, recently published estimates of humanity's "safe operating space."
This dire situation has even flesh peddlers paying attention. A recent article on Meatingplace.com begins, "People need to begin limiting the amount of meat they eat to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, nitrate pollution, and habitat destruction, according to a new study by Canada's Dalhousie University."
Limiting one's intake of animal products is a good start, but going vegan—today—is the surest, most effective way to save animals, humans, and the planet tomorrow.