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The Really Inconvenient Truth

I glanced at the latest cover of Vogue with Cameron Diaz and next to her name was the headline “Queen of Green.” I scratched my head: How can a woman who goes on national talk shows telling us plebeians how to change our light bulbs to be more “green”, which I had just seen her do, not understand that by consuming meat (she is quoted as saying she “loves” hamburgers, and they are her “weakness”) she is contributing to the single greatest cause of environmental destruction on the planet? Animal agriculture—the number one industrial polluter. I mean, how can I know that information and a woman who teams up with Al Gore to support environmental initiatives not know that? Clearly she’s done her homework, right? Where’s the disconnect?

Forgive me Cameron Diaz, I am just trying to make sense of this. I’m sure you are a lovely well-meaning person, and maybe you’re just feeling your way through becoming more conscious in the public eye. That can’t be easy. Perhaps you really don’t understand the extent to which you hinder the progress of your own environmental efforts each time you declare your love for hamburgers in the press to all those devoted fans following in your ecological footsteps. You’re not the only one.

Jennifer Aniston wants us to take five-minute showers; yet as a meat eater does she not know that one hamburger requires the water equivalent of 40 showers? She is adding to not only the biggest waste of water on earth by consuming meat, but she's also contributing to the greatest source of water pollution! And she wants me, a vegan, to take a 5-minute shower? Okay. Sheryl Crow is now publically asking us to use one square of toilet paper per bathroom visit; yet she dines on beef—talk about a waste of natural resources. Julia Roberts is also “Green,” apparently she drives a bio-diesel car; yet I turn on the television and see her grilling hamburgers with George Clooney. And I ask myself, “Do they just not know?” Is that even possible?

And Al Gore! C’mon. Seriously? The King of Green gave us The Inconvenient Truth, a documentary about a planet on the verge of self-destructing from global warming; yet as a carnivore, he partakes in the very act that creates more greenhouse gases than all transportation. I couldn’t bear to see his movie. (And I still haven't.) I was certain there wouldn’t be a whisper of whistle-blowing on meat production as the PRIMARY cause of global warming due to de-forestation, gas emissions, land degradation and air and water pollution. WTH, man?

How could this inclusive documentary be so shortsighted? He needs to make another one and get it right this time and call it:

The Really Inconvenient Truth: What I Didn’t Want to Tell You Because I Would Have to Fundamentally Change and I Would Have an Up-in-Arms Animal Agriculture Industry Breathing Down My Neck.

I can’t imagine it’s because these famous, well-connected spokespeople are not educated in their cause of choice. So what is it? Is it a fear that no one will see their movies if they really speak the truth? I get that. I’m pretty sure at least one of my three blog readers won’t be back. Or is it because it’s just a little too inconvenient for them to relinquish their hamburger?

“To consider yourself an environmentalist and still eat meat is like saying you're a philanthropist who doesn't give to charity.” Howard Lyman, former fourth-generation Montana cattle rancher and now vegan activist.

It isn’t an easy choice to give up meat. We’ve been hard-wired to believe we need it. And we’ve been duped by a meat industry heavily invested in programming us to remain under its spell. It’s easy to recycle water bottles, switch out lightbulbs, and forgo plastic bags. No one really needs plastic bags. That isn’t that inconvenient.

This isn’t about expecting everyone to be a vegan. (Though, I’m not gonna lie, it would be nice!) My friends will vouch for my mum acceptance of their ominvore ways. But if you are speaking from a celebrity platform of knowledge meant to enlighten the ignorant masses, then we expect you to know what you’re talking about. We can handle the truth. What we (and the environment and animals) don’t need are half-truths and easy truths. Sure, driving eco-friendly cars and recycling are helpful, but they side step the hard choice. The far-reaching decision that challenges our lives from a very deep soul residing place and asks us to think way outside ourselves (and our appetites) and reconsider how we live on this planet, and the choices we make.

When we do make that decision what we find is that the once derived "pleasure" of eating a hamburger dismally pales in comparison to the fulfillment of knowing we are making the single greatest impact a human being can have on the healing of the environment, and dare I say the world.

Not every celebrity activist can be Thom Yorke. I’m coming to accept that. That’s my lesson. But I believe in time, they’ll all catch up to him.

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Albert Einstein

A few facts worth chewing on:

  1. 500,000 animals are slaughtered in the United States every HOUR for meat

  2. 100 acres of land produce enough beef for only 20 people, whereas those same 100 acres can produce enough wheat to feed 200 people.

  3. 440 million tons of grain are fed to cattle each year, while 500 million people starve to death in poor countries.

  4. One child dies of malnutrition every 2.3 seconds. If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 10%, one hundred million people could be fed using that freed up land.

  5. Half of the world’s rainforests have been razed for cattle grazing for beef. Most of these rainforests are in poor countries, and the meat is exported to wealthy countries like the United States. Half of Central America’s rainforests have been deforested to provide the U.S. with meat.

  6. 90% of the plant and animal species on earth live in the tropics, some of which have yet to be identified. Every day more of these species are brought to extinction as a result of Americans eating meat.

  7. High levels of pesticides, tranquilizers and antibiotics commonly used in livestock enter your bloodstream when you consume meat. Of all the antibiotics used in the U.S., 55% are given to livestock.

  8. It takes 14 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat but it takes 2,500 gallons to produce ONE pound of beef. If taxpayers did not subsidize these water costs, beef would cost $35.00 a pound.

  9. 85% of the four million acres of topsoil lost each year is due to raising livestock. In order to make up for this loss, we destroy forests. Since 1967, the rate of deforestation in the United States has been one acre every five seconds. For each acre cleared in urbanization, seven are cleared for grazing or growing livestock feed.

  10. Each time you replace a meat meal with a vegetarian one, you save at least 2.5 pounds of greenhouse gases.

  11. Reducing meat consumption by 20% (1 1/2 days per week) is the equivalent of switching to a hybrid car.

  • I gathered and saved these facts through various sources over two years ago. I tried to locate the proper sources but haven't had much luck. Some of the information came from the following website.

To learn more: CHOOSE VEG

This article was reposted at two very cool green websites: THE GREEN DOVE and Australian site PSYCHED IN STILETTOS. Thanks, ladies!