LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Real ways to battle climate change

It was great to see Rep. Carney discussing the impact of climate change on Delaware, in the local Delaware papers. [“Addressing climate change vital for Delaware,” Dec. 9 ] Climate change is a real and dangerous threat, not just to Delaware, but to the entire planet.

Not only will the sea levels rise, but changes to the climate will have a devastating and widespread impact. The delicate reefs and shellfish of the oceans are already being destroyed from these changes. Even just a small change in ocean temperature can have a devastating impact on the coral reefs. A prime example of this is the Great Barrier Reef which, has seen drastic coral destruction over time from the ’60s until now.

Due to milder winters (It was in the 70s in the middle of December in Delaware) and extensive droughts, trees are weaker and more prone to tree-killing insect infestation. These insects typically would not be around in normally cold winter months.

Arctic animals are also losing their habitat as glaciers and ice shelves melt into the warmer water. The polar bear was the first animal to ever be added to the Endangered Species Act list as a threatened animal due to global warming. In fact, just recently, a photographer caught a picture of an emaciated polar bear standing on a tiny chunk of ice in the arctic, and the photo quickly went viral.

These are just a few of the devastating effects of climate change, and it’s great to see Rep. Carney working in Congress to pass legislation to encourage alternatives to fossil fuels and other energy resources; however, there is something everyone can do right now on their own to help curb climate change: reduce or eliminate our consumption of meat.

After he attended the Paris climate change summit, Arnold Schwarzenegger very publicly said that if people want to save the planet, they should “eat less meat.”

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of all greenhouse gas emissions. Various studies and research have shown that animal agriculture contributes more to greenhouse gases than all transportation methods combined.

Cows alone produce over 100 gallons of methane a day. The methane produced by livestock has over an 80-percent more warming potential than CO2.

Research has shown that over a 20-year period, methane is significantly more destructive than CO2. Projections have shown that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, if left unchecked, could increase up to 80 percent by 2050. According to the U.N. Climate Summit of 2014, reducing methane emissions would have an immediate impact on the planet.

Within the last two years, a documentary called “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” shone a light on this very topic. Thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio, the documentary is now also available on Netflix. Earlier this month, Discovery Channel aired a documentary called “Racing Extinction.” While the primary focus of the film was not the impacts of animal agriculture, it was, however, discussed in the film.

Cutting out or eliminating meat is crucial to the survival of the planet. Today, it’s easier than ever to do so. There are companies out there that are consistently releasing delicious, amazing plant-based foods. There are alternatives and replacements for just about everything nowadays, or you can just keep it simple with fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds.

A national movement called “Meatless Monday” has spread to schools, colleges and some businesses. Resources are available all over the Internet; local groups and large organizations can provide literature, recipes ideas and other helpful guidance.

All three counties in Delaware have plant-based organizations (VegRehoboth, VegDover and VegWilmington) that are available to people who may wish to look into a plant-based diet.

Protecting the planet, the oceans, Delaware coastal tourist towns, and Delaware’s economy can all start at the grocery store, and everyone can help by choosing less animal products when they shop.

Charles Wolfe
VegDover Organizer

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