you change the world

be kind to yourself, others, animals, earth – go plant-based

The United Nations Environment Programme yesterday released a report that looks at the role human activity plays in giving rise to zoonotic diseases. These are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans, as COVID-19 is supposed to have originated.

The report calls out seven “human-mediated factors … most likely driving the emergence of zoonotic diseases.” They cite seven “disease drivers”:

1) increasing human demand for animal protein; 2) unsustainable agricultural intensification;
3) increased use and exploitation of wildlife; 4) unsustainable utilization of natural resources accelerated by urbanization, land use change and extractive industries; 5) increased travel and transportation; 6) changes in food supply; and 7) climate change.

No big surprises here. It’s the usual culprits for so many of the things ailing us, particularly the impoverished citizens of the globe.

Given all that we know, it’s still startling how little we’re actually doing about any of it. As the report mentions, these negative impact factors are actually increasing or intensifying.

Human demand for animal protein is just one of them. It’s startling to realize that even though it is common knowledge that our insatiable demand for meat and dairy directly contributes to profound health and environmental issues, it remains on the increase.

Data from the Global Meat & Poultry Trends report released by Packaged Facts in February of this year shows that:

“Meat consumption worldwide is expected to increase 1.4% per year through 2023…”

It predicts that “…global meat and poultry consumption will reach 313 million metric tons in 2023. Global per capita consumption will rise slightly to 39 kilograms per year.” That’s roughly 86 pounds per person — globally.

USDA data cited by the The National Chicken Council shows that in the United States, per capita meat consumption (including beef, pork, and poultry) in 1960 was 167.2 pounds. In 2019 that number was 224.3. Although a slight dip to 220.2 pounds is predicted in 2020, meat consumption is forecast to be on the increase again, up to 223.5 pounds in 2021.

That is a lot of dead animals. And repercussions.

While plenty of folks are being religious about wearing masks and social distancing, the UNEP report underscores that there are other truly meaningful things we could be doing to help the world both now and in the future relative to pandemics and beyond. Just look at that list of seven things above. There is no doubt in my mind that there are at least several that each of us, personally, can directly impact. Reducing meat consumption is just one of them. 

Don’t wait for the powers that be to tell you how they’re gonna change the world (and then figure out if you can like it). YOU change the world.

go ahead and ask

At this point, we all have a lot of questions. We have all heard conflicting stories. Fear may keep someone in a strident mask-bound stance, but even they cannot help but have doubts.

And that’s as it should be. 

There has been enough conflicting, dubious information, that you’re not awake if you haven’t noticed. You should have doubts and questions.

Based on a narrative, we have turned our culture on its head. We are reduced to anonymous, hidden entities. We are uncomfortable in what used to be normal spaces for us. We are largely separated from community. The looming agenda for our children’s schools should frighten any thinking parent. Our livelihoods, our food supply are threatened. Trackers are hired, and apps developed for the purpose of knowing even better who we know and where we go. Discourse is censored. Medicine and our control over our own bodies are becoming even further not matters of choice but submission to state decisions.

We are citizens of the earth first. We have every right to question the narrative as well as what government seeks to decree. 

We need to look with open minds and compassion at each other as we find our way through this. We need to look at each other with respect instead of being driven apart by fear. 

The people who stridently support everything they are told are trying their best to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. 

The people who question and resist also have everyone’s best interests at heart — they are no less invested in protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.

This is a time for people to come together – in the midst of our enforced alienation – to find the true answers and discover the truly healthy path we should follow. We must come out of the trenches of fear and move towards love to find the truth.

We must allow the questions. We must be willing to listen and to learn. We must be willing to confront the narrative and to take a loving stand. With no time to spare.