Rubio, Shame on You: Go Vegan, Friends, to Slow Climate Change

7-most-terrifying-global-warming.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smartDespite the fact that 98% of climate scientists believe that global warming is “human-induced,” Florida state senator Marco Rubio proclaimed in an ABC “This Week” interview, “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate.”

The statement from the Oval Office-inspiring Senator comes on the heels of a massive government report which outlined how global warming is affecting climate as we speak. With Rubio’s home state among the most vulnerable to climate change, one wonders who is paying him to make such dangerous statements. Sure, many of us dismiss them, but others will drink the Kool-Aid, and continue the behaviors that have brought the planet to the brink of destruction.

Let’s pretend that Rubio is right—if we’re not responsible, there’s no need to change our behavior. Here’s some of what our behavior has already created:

1. Iconic Western forests have been decimated because winters aren’t cold enough to kill ravaging beetles
2. Wildfire season in Western states has grown to 2½ months longer since 1987 because of warmer spring temperatures and earlier, faster melting of snow.
3. “Super storms” like deadly hurricane Katrina and Sandy have caused over 2,000 deaths and uprooted tens of thousands of lives. In the Northeast alone, there has been a 71 percent increase in “very heavy” storms (the top 1%) since 1958.
4. One-third of all counties in the lower 48 states face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century, with more than 400 facing extremely high risks of water shortages.

If we listen to folks like Rubio, our hottest temperatures may soon be 10 degrees to 15 degrees hotter across most of the country than during the last 20 years. Among the consequences we face:
1. More devastating and more frequent droughts
2. Faster melting of glaciers and polar ice; rising sea levels will make many coastal communities uninhabitable
3. The possible reemergence of rare diseases
4. Deteriorating infrastructure: extreme heat is already damaging roads, rail lines and runways
5. Water shortages and diminished water quality
6. Food scarcity as climate change threatens crops and livestock
7. Rapid species extinction due to the dramatic disruption of ecosystems

Our government, tragically in the pocket of business, will not legislate real solutions. Nor can all of us afford hybrid cars, solar energy, or other costly means of lightening our footprint. But there is a choice that every single adult can make that, if made by enough of us, would dramatically slow climate change. And that is the choice to go vegan. You see, when it comes to climate change, our consumption of meat and dairy is the elephant in the room that isn’t being addressed by those in power.

Dozens of comprehensive studies have proven that meat and dairy production takes a tremendous toll on the planet. It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has almost 300 times the global warming potential of CO2, and 37 percent of the methane (23 times more potent than CO2). Meat production emits more greenhouse gases, in fact, than the entire transportation sector. One study looked at what would happen if households in four countries swapped lentils for beef once a week and found that the emissions reductions from this step alone would equal taking 3.7 million cars off the road for a year. Driving a Prius? Good idea. But the best idea yet? Switching to plant-based eating.

Many of us are waking up to the importance of a plant-based diet for optimal health. But the terrifying truth is that, for our very survival, there is no time left for a slow transition to veganism. In an Earth Day article calling on environmentalists to go vegan, I outlined some of the hundreds of ways humanity’s transition to plant-based eating would help the planet. Help us save the planet, friends. The politicians won’t do it. So we have to.

Try these tips for beginning this vital journey; and these links:
Finally, consider e-mailing Linda Soper-Kolton at She’s our certified vegan chef and head of Compassionate Cuisine. An inspired cook and a wonderful teacher, she’ll answer your questions and give you the support you need.




Herd Around The Barn, Why Sanctuaries Matter, Your Diet, Our Future