Climate change – largely driven by livestock (Sound Bites)

The fifth edition of our Sound Bite Series…

Al Gore, Nobel Prize Winner

Do you remember Al Gore’s movie for which he won the Nobel Prize? It was An Inconvenient Truth and it came out in 2006. The movie was all about global warming and how it is being driven by our harmful lifestyle. Yet, Mr. Gore failed to mention the #1 cause — the raising of livestock for our food. How does one win the Nobel Prize for a global problem and fail to mention the #1 cause of it?

My theory is that it’s because Al Gore, and probably the entire Nobel Prize Selection Committee, still believe that we humans truly “need” animal protein to be healthy. Why would they mention our livestock as a cause if they truly believe that we cannot live without that crucial source of protein?

The 2006 U.N. Report

Well, the UN report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, which also came out in 2006, did mention that livestock was a huge problem for four different categories of the environment — and Climate Change is one of them. The other three categories are   Land and Trees, Water, and Biodiversity. All four were covered in Chapter 4 of our book; for your convenience, a few sound bites relative to Climate Change:

Bite #1. According to the U.N. Report, the livestock sector is responsible for 33% more greenhouse gases than all transportation in the entire world — combined.

The report stated, “The livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions…compared to only 13.5% for ALL transportation.”

The source of a whole lot of methane in our air

Bite #2. The Report went on to say that, “Livestock create 9 percent of the CO2; 37 percent of all methane, a deadly gas with 23 times the global warming potential of CO2; and 65 percent of all nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide, by the way, has a global warming potential 296 times that of CO2 and also contributes to acid rain. Livestock are also responsible for almost two-thirds of anthropogenic (human-caused) methane emissions, mainly through belching and releases of intestinal gas, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems. According to Howard Lyman, every cow emits up to 400 quarts of methane gas per day.


All of the above is based on well-referenced information that appears in Chapter 4 of our book. While the U.N. Report was compelling in its findings, it offered precious little in terms of a recommended solution. That’s because, it is very likely that a very large percentage, if not ALL, of the scientists working on the study still believe that we humans “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy. Until these great minds understand the complete truth about nutrition, they are not likely to recommend the obvious solution — a return to the natural diet for our species.

Click on the image to visit our 4-Leaf Page

Sound bite series…

  1. Big Picture — First edition (7-21-11)
  2. Wasteful, Harmful and Cruel (7-26-11)
  3. Environment — Land & trees (7-27-11)
  4. Environment — Water (7-28-11)
  5. Environment — Climate change (7-29-11)
  6. Environment — Biodiversity (7-30-11)

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

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. 

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. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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