Evidence keeps mounting that eliminating animal products from our diet is the single best thing anyone can do to immediately start fighting climate change. For some reason, climate leaders have chosen to ignore this important issue, which may be in large part because they, themselves haven't adopted a plant-based diet. This may be changing.
It was recently reported that on a speaking tour, Al Gore had specifically requested that vegan meals be served to him and his entourage. A couple of vegan meals does not a vegan make. So, it remains to be seen whether it was a one-off thing or if Al Gore has finally seen the light.
While it is nice to see Al Gore make this choice for himself, it would be better to see and hear him talk openly and actively about this issue to the people that look to him for guidance on which actions to take to best help heal the planet.
A couple of weeks ago, over 40,000 people descended on Washington D.C. to protest the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. If the 40,000 in D.C. and the millions of others in the U.S. and Canada who are fighting to reverse climate change were made aware of the fact that they had the power to make a huge impact in the fight against climate change by changing what they eat, and they made that change - well, it would go a long way to show their commitment to this issue while making immediate and long term impacts in reducing climate change.
Instead of urging us to take responsibility for our own choices, climate leaders have largely been telling us to rely on government and industry to do the right thing. Given the enormous amounts of fossil fuels, land (that could be reforested to soak up carbon) and water resources required to maintain animal agriculture and our demand for animal products, we are, in effect, sending government and industry mixed signals about our resolve to preserving the health of the planet for future generations. Why should they take our demands seriously if we are not willing to take what is the most obvious step to fight climate change?
Hopefully, Mr. Gore's newfound love for vegan foods will change this. Many others who are not primarily seen as climate change activists but are leaders in their own regard, like James Cameron andBill Gates, have seen the need of a global shift to a plant-based diet as a necessity for the survival of the human species and are actively talking about it.
It's about time that climate change leaders start doing the same.
UPDATE 11/24/2013: Plant-based alternatives are becoming more and more popular, with backers like Bill Gates. A recent Forbes article indicates that eggless mayonaise is making big waves on the food market. The same article contains a passing mention that Al Gore has turned vegan. This is promising news, and could mean Gore will begin publicly talking about the harmful links between meat products and climate change as part of his Climate Reality Project. We at Op_ML certainly hope so.