Well, isn't this interesting! It seems not everyone is jumping on the Gore, Saviour-of-the-Environment bandwagon. PETA fired off a letter, several days ago, challenging Al Gore to go veggie, if he truly considers himself a champion of global warming. Apparently, they also criticized his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, for failing to mention what they consider to be the one, major contributing factor in global warming: raising cattle.
According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): "Cattle-rearing generates MORE global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation." The FAO report basically states that most of those greenhouses gases are generated from, well... cow poop. "It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure. And it accounts for respectively 37 per cent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 per cent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain." In other words, that burger you're eating is causing more problems for the environment, than that Dodge Ram you're driving.
Though I'm not totally convinced of a global warming crisis, the earth's temps have risen, somewhat, over the years. I remember reading, years ago, that the deforestation of the world's Rain Forests was a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in South America, where cattle-raising (and the soy the farmers grow to feed them) is responsible for the destruction of huge chunks of the Amazon. And, we all know that Co2 is absorbed by plants (that's why houseplants are highly recommended), so, you have to wonder what happens to all that Co2 when huge chunks of forest are removed. And how does that naturally affect climate? Then again, I have also read about the cyclical nature of climate change. Extreme weather patterns occur, supposedly, every 15 to 60 years or so, alternating between regular warming and cooling trends. For the Northern Hemisphere, the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) cycle has been in the warm phase since the 1990s, which brings with it a wetter than usual period, and an increased frequency of hurricanes. The 1940s through '70s, however, saw what was considered as a global cooling phase, and many people feared another Ice Age. There was also what was termed: a Little Ice Age, which ended around the 1850s, though no-one is quite sure when it started. So, as we can see, there have been periods of warming and cooling that have occurred, naturally, over the centuries. Who knows what the true story is, and only time will tell.
But, we do know that raising cattle for food is a major factor in "land and water degradation", and forests have been destroyed, worldwide, to accommodate the meat-eating habits of humanity. So, I guess, PETA does have a point when they say: if you wanna be an environmentalist, Al, act like one. You know, put your money where your mouth is?! Practice what you preach?! Stop eating meat. I suppose I should stop eating soy burgers, as well, considering much of the deforestation problem is also attributed to soy farming. Though it's mostly utilized as cattle feed, I'm sure some of it winds up in my Boca Burger.
So, here's my challenge to you all: if you stop eating your burgers, I'll stop eating mine!