Veganism or Extinction?

by Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati on August 31, 2012

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Recently The Guardian came out with the headline “Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism, warn scientists”.

It appears that leading water scientists are painting a dark picture for our future, entailing catastrophic water shortages unless we as a global community switch “almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years.”

It is important to note that while they use the term “vegetarian” in their report, they are referring to a reduction in the use of all animal products (meat, eggs, dairy, etc.) currently making up about 20% of our collective diet.

While news about the likelihood of a world water crisis is nothing new, it appears that the scientific community may be finally ready to recognize, in some small part, how the abuse of our fellow animals has led to the abuse of our planet, including its clean water reserves.

If immediate changes in our food production system do not begin to take place, by 2050 we will not have enough water to produce food for the extra two billion people expected to live on this planet by that time. With 900 million people already starving and two billion suffering from malnutrition, we can only imagine the loss of life if conditions are allowed to worsen.

Yet even under such dire predictions, and with the knowledge that it takes five to ten times as much clean water to produce animal-based protein as opposed to plant-based protein the report’s authors, Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), still leave a 5% margin for their use, stating that:

There will be just enough water* if the proportion of animal-based foods is limited to 5% of total calories and considerable regional water deficits can be met by a … reliable system of food trade.” – (SIWI)

Are we really so attached to the animal products that every day take the lives of millions of innocent animals, poisoning our lives and the environment in the process, that we can only conceive of giving up “just enough” of them to possibly save our necks… and no more?

Reducing our consumption of animal products to 5% is not enough. What we need is a vegan paradigm shift, which will not only alter how we look at “what” we are eating, wearing and using, but rather who we are eating, wearing and using.

The voices calling us to alter custom in favor of compassion are growing louder, from the ethical perspective, as well as the scientific and health-based approaches. From mainstream movies to news articles, activists to athletes, they are all saying, in their own way:

We can not save ourselves, until we begin to respect our fellow animals’ right to life and liberty.

I hold on to the hope that our voices will be heard and that it’s not too late.

 

*[emphasis mine]

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