Former Vice President Al Gore has accepted an inconvenient truth: animal agriculture is one of the primary contributors to global warming. Just last week, word got out that Gore is now vegan. The news was released in a Forbes article, and the Washington Post followed up the tip by finding “an individual familiar with Gore’s decision” to confirm the claim.
Gore follows in the footsteps of former President Bill Clinton who actively discusses the significant health benefits he experienced after switching to plant-based foods a few years ago. The benefits of a vegan diet, of course, extend beyond personal health. What we eat impacts the health of the planet as well.
In fact, in a 2011 interview about climate change, Al Gore acknowledged that “industrial agriculture is a part of the problem…. The shift toward a more meat-intensive diet is also part of the problem. The clearing of forest areas in many parts of the world in order to raise more cattle, that’s a part of it.”
Countless reports and studies confirm that industrial agriculture, specifically raising animals for food, is taking a major toll on the planet and it considered one of the leading causes of both pollution and resource depletion today. According to the United Nations, “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is needed to remedy the situation.”
Researchers from the University of Chicago report that when all levels of production are factored in — from livestock crop production to shipping animals to slaughter — a vegetarian diet is the most energy efficient, and the average American can do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by not eating meat, eggs, and dairy than by switching to a hybrid car Additionally, Carnegie Mellon University researchers found that we can do more for the planet by going vegetarian even just one day per week than by switching to a totally local diet.
The takeaway message is that what we eat matters, and choosing plant-based foods is a simple yet effective step each of us can take to help protect the planet as well as our health and animals. Learn more by reading our Eating Sustainably brochure — and be sure to encourage others to start fighting global warming — and animal abuse — with their forks.