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Comfortably Unaware

What We Choose to Eat is Killing Us and Our Planet

By Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander
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Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat is Killing Us and Our Planet by Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander

Comfortably Unaware (2012) is about the impact our food choices are having on the planet. It explains how the animals that are raised for us to eat end up polluting our waters, soil and air, and why our natural resources are poorly managed.

Key idea 1 of 7

What you eat has a direct impact on global warming and environmental depletion.

Did Al Gore’s book on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, inspire you to use less water and electricity and start taking public transportation? If so, that’s great, but unfortunately, you’ve only tackled part of the problem.

If we really want to stop global warming we have to start caring more about what we eat, especially when it comes to meat, fish and dairy.

Global warming is triggered by an increase in the earth’s temperature as a result of humans releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases are mostly made up of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Between 1750 and 2006, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose 35 percent. And in just the last 15 years, methane has increased by 145 percent. This is more troubling since methane is far more powerful than carbon dioxide, having 23 times the impact on global warming.

So what is causing this rise in methane? It is primarily related to the increase in livestock.

Approximately 40 percent of methane generated by human activity comes from raising livestock. And to make matters worse, livestock also accounts for 65 percent of the nitrous oxide we generate – a gas that has 310 times more of an impact on global warming than carbon dioxide!

But global warming is only one piece of a larger problem known as global depletion: the point at which the earth’s renewable and non-renewable resources start to disappear.

But even renewable resources, such as trees, can take hundreds of years to mature in great enough numbers for us to use them again. And unfortunately, at the rate we are using our natural resources, we’re not giving nature the time it needs to restore itself.

In the blinks that follow, we’ll see how the food industry is pushing us to global depletion.

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