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?