How Can Passionists Fight Global Warming?

This summer at our Congregational Assembly, the Passionist Sisters declared that justice, peace and the integrity of creation are central to our charism and our way of life. We challenged ourselves to respond with urgency to the destruction of our planet. We committed ourselves to reducing our carbon footprint and to seeking simpler ways of living.

One of the most effective ways we could fight global warming is to reduce our consumption of meat.

A 2006 United Nations report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. Greenhouse gases cause global warming.
Raising animals for meat, eggs, and dairy not only produces carbon dioxide, it is the leading source of methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Methane, which farmed animals produce during digestion and through excretion of feces is more than 20 times as powerful as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere. Statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency show that animal agriculture is the number one source of methane emissions in the U.S. Nitrous oxide is about 300 times more potent as a global warming gas than carbon dioxide. According to the U.N., the meat, egg, and dairy industries account for a staggering 65 percent of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions.

The world’s leading authority on global warming, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize, recommends that people should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change and should then go on to reduce their meat consumption even further.

The action called for by Dr. Pachauri is simple and consistent with the sort of asceticism our Passionist vocation demands.

What do you think?


3 thoughts on “How Can Passionists Fight Global Warming?”

  1. Great post! Thanks. I’ve been meatless for about a year now for mostly the reason you mention. I still eat dairy and eggs, but feel good about reducing my part of the problem some.

    I think I read also that a lot of deforestation is done for the land for grazing in some areas and that it takes a lot more land to raise cattle than it does to grow crops which can provide the equivalent nourishment. Removing trees adds even more to the carbon dioxide level.

  2. I remember I was shocked to find out just how much my daily choices affect the planet. Statistics like it takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, while growing 1 pound of wheat requires only 25 gallons of water are mind boggling at first. The first thing that went through my mind was how could I not know about something this big?

    The information is out there if you look for it, however, and I’m glad I did. I actually work for a public health campaign called Meatless Monday – we advocate cutting back on your meat consumption one day a week to reduce your saturated fat intake by 15% and thereby lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, four of the leading causes of death in the U.S. I think Dr. Pachauri’s recommendation is something that all of us can integrate in our lives as a way to improve our health and the health of the planet. It’s a way for people to feel that they are doing something everyday to create a more sustainable world.

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