Livestock and global warming — even worse than we thought

Yet millions of Americans don’t even believe it exists.

The London Bridge is now in Dr. Don’s listening area in Arizona

A few weeks ago I appeared on a radio show in Arizona with Dr. Don Wagner. Having recently read our book, he was excited to find so much “big picture” information about the food we eat and the consequences thereof. He seemed to be particularly interested in global warming and asked several question on that sometimes controversial topic.

When he started taking calls about midway through the one hour show, one of his regular listeners called in and said something like this:

Dr. Don, when you start saying that global warming is caused by what we’re eating, you’re going to start losing a lot of listeners. This is really bad for your show. Are you crazy? Everyone knows that all of that climate change garbage is nothing but a hoax. Can’t believe you’re buying into that crap. What have you been smoking?

Not exactly the type of question that leads to a sincere discussion. But that Arizona listener served one purpose for me; he served as a reminder of just how far we have to go before the average citizen is going to believe anything bad about their sirloin, pork chops and fried chicken.

The 2006 U.N. Report

A little background. It was actually the global warming topic that got me started down the road of activism in 2006. That was the year the United Nations produced a 400 page report entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow — a report on the vast amount of environmental damage that is caused by the raising of livestock.

The international scientists estimated that 18 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs, and poultry. Incredibly, according to the U.N. Report, the livestock sector produces about 35 percent more greenhouse gases than ALL of transportation combined — all cars, trucks, planes, ships, trains and motorcycles. So, what did Al Gore have to say about livestock in his Inconvenient Truth movie that same year? Absolutely nothing.

How does a man who was almost elected president of the USA win the Nobel Prize for a documentary about global warming—and fail to even mention the number one cause? I have been asking that question for years but have never heard an acceptable answer.

But it was that inconvenient “omission” that launched my new career. I knew at that moment that we simply could not trust our authorities in government to level with us about what is really happening in this world. One month after seeing that movie, I launched my Harmony Earth website, which later led to writing a book and then launching this blog in February of 2011. Thank you Mr. Gore.

As for livestock, it gets worse. There is newer information by Dr. Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang that suggests that the livestock sector is responsible for a much greater portion of those greenhouse gases than was reported by the U.N. From the WorldWatch Institute website:

Dr. Goodland and Anhang report that livestock and their by-products actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.

So who  are those guys? From the report, “Robert Goodland retired as lead environmental adviser at the World Bank Group after serving there for 23 years. In 2008 he was awarded the first Coolidge Memorial Medal by the IUCN for outstanding contributions to environmental conservation. Jeff Anhang is a research officer and environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation, which provides private-sector financing and advice in developing countries.”

The Bottom Line. Most educated citizens of the Western world truly believe that global warming is a serious problem and that much of it is caused by human activities. But even the best and the brightest still don’t understand that ALL of the global warming caused by livestock is completely unnecessary.

Since an estimated 95% of the scientists of the world still believe that we “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy, the environment-friendly, plant-based food model for humans never even makes it to the table for consideration. My Project “Harmony” is aimed at dispelling that “protein myth” and thereby freeing up the greatest minds in the world to leverage the power of plant-based eating to quite possibly save the planet.

Five Minute Video featuring Dr. Goodland’s Report

More reading and viewing for your Sunday afternoon.

An exceptionally well-done 2009 movie produced in France; has been seen by millions around the world, but not nearly enough Americans. Features aerial footage in 54 countries.

Finally, for your week-end viewing pleasure, I have once again provided two very important movies. Just in case you haven’t seem them yet, get yourself some popcorn (or celery), and watch these great world-changing documentaries with your family (free). They are about 1.5 hours each and are likely to leave you feeling differently about the role of the human race on our precious planet.

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

J. Morris Hicks, author and activist. Working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

Want to receive some occasional special news from us? 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.

And if you like what 4-Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4-Leaf Gear” store. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

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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