U.N. urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet


After learning enough facts, you will no longer be able to call yourself an environmentalist if you continue to eat the typical Western diet.

Almost five years ago (2006), the United Nations produced a 400-page report called Livestock’s Long Shadow — a report that implicated the livestock industry as one of the primary drivers of a host of categories of environmental damage around the globe.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) -- like a voice in the wilderness as no one seems to be listening.

Although they knew at the time that the raising of livestock was causing a lot of damage, they didn’t actually come out and say that we should be moving toward a meat and dairy-free diet. But in a UNEP report in June of 2010, they reported the following powerful information. (See link to the Guardian article at end):

“A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change,” a UN report said today (June 2, 2010)

“As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable,” says the report from United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.

The article continues, “Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”

How much more clear could they be? The problem is that not many people are listening — or heeding that advice. What we need is a lot more influential leaders of the world to start shouting this message to other leaders so that we can get serious about eliminating the extremely harmful, exceptionally wasteful, disturbingly cruel and grossly unsustainable Western diet with meat and dairy three meals a day.

Water, our most precious natural resource, is being wasted by the highly inefficient process of producing meat and dairy calories for human consumption.

Even now, millions of people in China and India are beginning to mimic our affluence by choosing our rich Western diet. What they don’t yet know is that that “rich” diet is going to destroy their health while taking a huge toll on the environment. Take water for example; consider this statement from a UNEP report in 2008. (See link below.)

 Agricultural water use accounts for about 75% of total global consumption – mainly through crop irrigation – while industrial use accounts for about 20%, and the remaining 5% is used for domestic purposes.

And most of that irrigation is dedicated to the feed crops for those 60 billion food animals that the world consumes each year. The numbers are mind-boggling. Agricultural water use is THREE times as much as ALL of the water used for industry and domestic use combined.

One of the UNEP's logos -- They've got the right message, but very few listeners.

While only five percent of our water is used in our homes, that is where our world leaders have placed most of the attention — focusing on things like water-saving devices for our toilets and showers — completely ignoring the far greater conservation opportunity in our food supply. As shown above, 15 times as much water is used for agriculture — as for domestic uses.

Eliminating meat and dairy from our diets would have an enormous impact on our conservation of water and fossil fuel energy — and an equally positive impact on our land, topsoil and forests of the world. Maybe you can help get the ball rolling by sharing this post with everyone you know.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

UNEP Data on global water consumption — 2008

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. Leveraging his expertise in making complex things simple, he is now seeking corporate clients who are interested in slashing their cost of health care. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, where he also sits on the board of directors.
This entry was posted in Environment, Food Policy, Sustainability, World Hunger. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to U.N. urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet

  1. Denise Sullivan says:

    That is amazing! If only our leaders would shift their attention to the truth, instead of “fiddling while Rome burns”! (Nero)

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