More Than Half of Humanity’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Currently Come From Livestock Production.

Article: Dominick Thompson, Founder / Creative Director of Crazies and Weirdoes

Twenty minutes into my 2.4-mile swim, I begin to smell toxic fumes that have become all too familiar to me in each triathlon I have competed in over the years. During this specific open-water swim, the smell of gasoline was stronger than usual. I tried to ignore it and continue the swim, but the smell intensified to the point I had to pause to observe my surroundings and make an assessment of why I could taste gasoline in my mouth. At this point, my lungs were burning because of the fumes I had been inhaling. To the left of me, the bay was filled with multiple small boats lined up along the swim course, occupied by safety personnel monitoring the thousands of swimmers participating in this race. In hindsight, swimming in an open-water swim, breathing in toxins from the motors attached to boats is not normal, let alone safe. If I experienced trouble breathing properly during my swim, I could only imagine how marine life feels every day throughout our oceans and rivers, polluted with toxins and chemicals caused by humans.

Whether in water, land, or air, the day-today activities of humans are increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which in turn warms the air and increases the amount of CO2 in the ocean. The implications will be felt from the ice caps to our own backyards. Our oceans and marine life are dying, and we as a human race are in critical danger as well. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first nine months of 2015 had the warmest global land and sea temperatures ever recorded. 2015 is clearly on pace to be the warmest year by a wide margin. The warmer climate impacts every region of the globe, but nowhere is it more evident and more impactful and visible than in the polar regions. The National Snow and Ice Data Center recently reported that Arctic sea ice has been declining at a rate of 13.4 percent per decade through 2015. Retreating sea ice has a negative impact on numerous species in the Arctic ecosystem, from microscopic organisms to polar bears.

Polar bears were the first vertebrate species to be listed by the U.S. Endangered Species Act as threatened by extinction primarily because of global warming and the decline of their sea ice habitat. As climate change shrinks the sea ice further, and for longer periods of time, polar bears have fewer hunting opportunities and more scarcity of food. The retreat of the sea ice leads to a longer, more treacherous swim to hunt for food. If the rate of change in sea ice coverage continues, the US Geological Survey projects a loss of two-thirds of the world’s already small polar bear population by 2050. This projection is based on a continued rate of global warming and can be managed by decreasing CO2 emissions and reducing the rate of climate change.

It’s no secret where the primary source of climate change comes from. Many credible sources have pointed to animal agriculture as the biggest contributor to global warming. An article called “Livestock and Climate Change” released by the journal World Watch suggests that livestock and their methane byproducts account for at least 32,564 tons of CO2 per year.

This means 51 percent or more of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions currently come from livestock production.

This is a serious matter. We must take responsibility and slow down this problem by reducing or eliminating meat and dairy from our diets. This is critical to saving and preserving our planet.

If we continue with our current habits as a human race, life as we know it will continue to deteriorate rapidly to the point that some areas of the world will no longer be able to sustain life. We each make daily decisions that affect the environment and the overall ecosystem in an impactful way, and changing those decisions can change our environment.
Dominick Thompson is a leader of the vegan community and founder of Crazies and Weirdos —a conscious clothing company that advocates for animal rights and a holistically ethical lifestyle, including eating plant-based vs. animal-based diets. He is also the founder of IRON BRUKAL, a sports and fitness brand for the working athlete, and a full-time executive in the healthcare industry. Despite this rigorous schedule, at the core he is still a working athlete whose training includes endurance training, weight lifting, calisthenics, and competing in triathlons. | @domzthompson | #ClarkKentWasVegan
Photo: NSIDC Courtesy Andi Pfaffling

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