My Biggest Bush Man Takeaway:
Yesterday, I posted on our unforgettable encounter with an Alaskan bush man who’s lucky enough to have benefited from climate change. He’s been collected long-buried wooly mammoth tusks exposed by accelerating ice melt in the state’s interior.
Although he didn’t claim to know exactly why, he agreed “…that the temperature is changing.” So he might be interested to learn that according to NASA, 97 percent of currently active climate scientists “… agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change.”
Their assessment affirms my biggest takeaway from the few hours we spent with the remarkable Alaskan. It’s that nowhere on Earth, no matter how isolated, is immune to our food choices’ negative effects.
For millions of years, tropical rainforests have served as the Earth’s “lungs” by absorbing CO2 from the air. They either store it or and convert it to oxygen.
By releasing water vapor into the atmosphere, they also affect global rainfall patterns – including those affecting the cattle-feeding cornfields of the Midwestern U.S.
But now, reports the World Wildlife Fund, “… in the Amazon around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching.”
The cattle raised on those ranches feed people in China, the Middle East, Russia and the EU. But, as the bush man might now agree, shrinking rainforests mean climbing temperatures and melting ice. That includes the sea ice polar bears need to hunt seals.
Will Alaska’s polar bears go the same way as the bush man’s wooly mammoths, which went extinct about 5,600 years ago? They were stranded on St. Paul Island in the Bering Strait, cut off when sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age.
The Earth warmed, the ice melted and the sea rose. At the time, however, human meat consumption didn’t factor into the changing climate. Today it does, and in a major way.
And only a major switch to plant-based or vegan eating can reverse its impact!