Earth Day turns 44 years old this year, and there are signs our planet is not aging gracefully. A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found the earth is already feeling the effects of climate change and urges immediate action to mitigate the consequences. "Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change," said Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel. The report concludes that unless the global community works together to bring greenhouse gases under control, we can expect more of the dramatic changes we've seen in recent years, such as melting ice caps, heat waves and heavy rain, and rising ocean temperatures.
That's why there's no better time to join the Meatless Monday movement. These global climate changes-from Greenland's melting ice sheet to rising sea levels threatening the islands of Kiribati, India-are in the headlines now. And a major contributor to many of these ecological harms is meat consumption, which is projected by the FAO to increase 76% by 2050, as more developing countries adopt a Western meat-centric diet and the overall world population rises.
According to the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Schools of Public Health, "Animal agriculture generates a significant amount of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, and increased frequency and severity of flooding, droughts, and other weather events are expected to follow." Today, it's estimated that the global production, processing, distribution and retailing of animal products worldwide account for nearly 15 percent of all greenhouse emissions.
On six continents, in 35 countries and 23 languages, people have taken the pledge to go meatless on Monday. Regardless of where you live, if it's called Lunes Sin Carne (Mexico) or Luntiang Lunes (Philippines), going meatless on Monday is a small, simple step that can have a big impact. According to Dr. Pachauri, "Changes in lifestyle and behavior patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. Individuals can make a difference in this regard by altering their diets through consuming less meat, by giving up meat at least one day a week."
This Earth Day, countless schools, restaurants and civic communities are doing their part to turn back the clock on global warming and its innumerable ills. By joining the Meatless Monday movement, you're signaling your willingness to fight for health: the health of both you and the planet. For more information about the countries participating in Meatless Monday, go to http://www.meatlessmonday.com/the-global-movement/
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