51 Ways to Help Climate Change
While passing through a newsagents’ this week, I happened to notice Time Magazine doing a special double issue on global warming, including 51 short snippets on how human beings can make a difference. Upon perusing, there were a few old familiar energy-saving techniques here and there, such as changing light bulbs, switching equipment off when not in use, buying local produce, and various others.
One surprise to me was the notion that “high rise” cities actually benefit the environment since they are less sprawled than remote areas, and some skyscrapers in New Yrok are actually designed to minimise energy input. I was under the impression that large city areas were more of a detriment to the globe than more rural areas, but it would seem the concept is far from black and white. Another point of interest was that people in a city environment are far more likely to use public transportation rather than drive their own cars, and many people cycle to their places of business as well.
Additionally, the cynic in me was very much at the surface as I flicked through, believing that I would see no mention of how animal farming detriments the environment. Much to my pleasant surprise, however, at number 22 was a short exposition with some very useful statistics about this very issue. According to the U.N.’s Food And Agriculture Organization, the international meat industry generates about 18% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions, which is even more than transportation. Methane and nitrous oxide, which arise from cow digestion, produce warming effects which are respectively 23 times and 296 times greater than that of carbon. Given the rising population of bred cattle, sheep, pigs, and various other farm animals in the devloping world, the amounts of energy consumed in raising, shipping, and selling livestock are bound to have an ever-growing impact on our global environment. The University of Chicago estimates that a vegetarian diet saves 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide a year. And this is, of course, to say nothing of all that methane and nitrous oxide. You heard it from an unbiased source, folks: there’s far more to vegetarianism than animal rights.
Beyond some somewhat impractical changes to lifestye in terms of time, effort, and cost, the Christian compulsion to live at peace with creation, love humanity, cultivate the community spirit, and conduct oneself with simplicity, can always have a greater beneficial impact upon the earth and its inhabitants than we might realise.