Archive for ‘Impact of Livestock’


Cattle – not climate change – killing the Great Barrier Reef

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Few people have seen the entire reef – it’s 3,000km long!  Each part of the reef is unique, but those who have visited even one corner of this amazing underwater world talk in wonder of the exquisite, vibrant colours and shapes of diverse marine life.  Diving the reef is almost like stepping into a parallel universe, experiencing a vision that inspires awe and respect for nature.  I have a personal fondness for the reef, having worked up and down its length in my early 20′s, mapping the reef for the Australian bid for UNESCO World Heritage status, given in 1981.


‘Acidifying oceans’ threaten food supply, UK warns

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Up to one half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by burning fossil fuels over the past 200 years has been absorbed by the worlds oceans

Up to one half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by burning fossil fuels over the past 200 years has been absorbed by the world's oceans

Acidification of the oceans is a major threat to marine life and humanity’s food supply, Hilary Benn has warned.

The UK environment secretary said that acidification provided a “powerful incentive” to cut carbon emissions.

Ocean chemistry is changing because water absorbs extra CO2 from the air.

Some believe this impact of rising CO2 levels could be as significant as climatic change, though it is rarely discussed at the UN climate convention.

‘Really important’

The science has come to prominence only within the last five or six years, and most of the details were not available when the convention was signed in 1992.

“We know that the increasing concentration of CO2 [in the air] is making the oceans more acidic,” Mr Benn told BBC News.

It affects marine life, it affects coral, and that in turn could affect the amount of fish in the sea – and a billion people in the world depend on fish for their principal source of protein.”

“It doesn’t get as much attention as the other problems; it is really important.”

In September, the UN-backed study into The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb) concluded that the widely-endorsed target of trying to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of CO2 or their equivalent to around 450 parts per million (ppm) would prove lethal to much of the world’s coral.

Mr Benn made his speech during the summit’s “oceans day” at a meeting organised by Stanford University and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, both based in California.

“Unlike global warming, which can manifest itself in nuanced, complex ways, the science of ocean acidification is unambiguous,” said Andrew Dickson, a Scripps professor of marine chemistry.

“The chemical reactions that take place as increasing amounts of carbon dioxide are introduced to seawater have been established for nearly a century.”

The oceans and atmosphere are constantly exchanging CO2.

Concentrations in the atmosphere are now about 30% higher than in pre-industrial times; a proportion of this is absorbed by seawater, which results in rising concentrations of carbonic acid.

As a result, the pH of seawater has fallen by about 0.1, and a further change of 0.3-0.4 is expected by the end of the century.

This is likely to affect the capacity of organisms including molluscs, coral and plankton to form “hard parts” of calcium carbonate.

A 2007 study showed that rates of coral growth on the Great Barrier Reef had fallen by 14% since 1990.

Mr Benn said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should investigate ocean acidification during its next major assessment of the Earth’s climate, scheduled for release in 2013.


  • Up to 50% of the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels over the past 200 years has been absorbed by the world’s oceans
  • This has lowered the pH value of seawater – the measure of acidity and alkalinity – by 0.1
  • The vast majority of liquids lie between pH 0 (very acidic) and pH 14 (very alkaline); 7 is neutral
  • Seawater is mildly alkaline with a “natural” pH of about 8.2

The IPCC forecasts that ocean pH will fall by “between 0.14 and 0.35 units over the 21st Century, adding to the present fall of 0.1 units since pre-industrial times”

1. Up to one half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by burning fossil fuels over the past 200 years has been absorbed by the world’s oceans
2. Absorbed CO2 in seawater (H2O) forms carbonic acid (H2CO3), lowering the water’s pH level and making it more acidic
3. This raises the hydrogen ion concentration in the water, and limits organisms’ access to carbonate ions, which are needed to form hard parts

Source: ‘Acidifying oceans’ threaten food supply, UK warns – BBC

Date:14 December 2009

Posted via web from World Preservation Foundation

Brussels eyes water savings in agriculture

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Addressing water efficiency in farming, which accounts for two thirds of EU water use, should be one of the priorities in reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the head of the European Commission’s water unit suggests.

We cannot talk about water efficiency without talking about agriculture,”

said Peter Gammeltoft, addressing the Parliament’s water intergroup on 7 April.

The last reform, dubbed as the ‘CAP Health Check’, already introduced some positive measures on water but more needs to be done “to make agriculture contribute to water efficiency,” he added. (more…)

Cancer strikes animals due to environmental pollution, which may affect human health

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

In 1996, Dr. Frances Gulland, the director of veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, and colleagues at the University of California, Davis, found that a striking 18 percent of deaths in stranded adult sea lions were the result of tumors in the reproductive and urinary tracts. Scientists also found that about 18 percent of dead beluga whales stranded in Canada’s St. Lawrence River had intestinal tumors or other cancers that were linked to industrial pollutants. Fish in contaminated waters have tumors, but not those in clean water. Dogs that are exposed to herbicides from chemically treated lawns have more cancers than those that are not.

The plight of sea lions will affect humans, since they “eat a lot of the same things we do,” said Dr. Gulland.

Source: Cancer Kills Many Sea Lions, and Its Cause Remains a Mystery – The New York Times

Date: Published: 4 March 2010

Source: Cancer in Pets, Wildlife and Fish –

Date: 10 March 2009

Source: Cancer Strikes Sea Lions –

Date: 10 March 2010

Animal agriculture is a top consumer of water resources in the United States

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

The US is already experiencing water shortages that look set to continue. With 87% of total water used for livestock production the United States will soon become a water stressed country.

Source: David Pimentel, Professor of Ecology at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Date: Released 7 August 1997

100 billion gallons of water saved per day if US goes vegetarian for one day

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

With the massive quantities of water used in meat production, just a small change in eating habits would have a positive impact. If everyone in the US ate vegetarian for just one day, 100 billion gallons of water would be saved, enough to supply all homes in New York for 5 months.

Source: New York Department of Environmental Protection – Residential Water Use

Date: Retrieved November 2009

Source: The Startling Effects of Going Vegetarian for Just One Day – Kathy Freston

Date: 2 April 2009

Source: If Everyone Went Vegetarian For A Day – Kathy Freston

Date: 18 April 2009

‘Up to 200 and rising’ ocean dead zone areas around the world in 2006

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

There could now be as many as 200 ocean dead zone areas around the world, and without action to change intense factory farming and the use of fertilizers this number could keep on rising.

Source: United Nations Environment Programme – Further Rise in Number of Marine ‘Dead Zones’  - Professor Robert Diaz Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Date: 19 October 2006

Increasing dead zones in oceans could be avoided with a vegetarian diet

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

A vegetarian diet drastically decreases the amount of land used for livestock farming, cutting down on gas emissions that contribute to global warming by up to 80%. This would also decrease the amount of contaminated water draining in to the oceans, cutting down on the spread of dead zones and hopefully reversing some of the damage that has already been done.

Source: Increasing dead zones in oceans could be avoided with a vegetarian diet – Jessica Prussia

Date: 3 July 2009

By 2030 nearly half of humanity will be living in water stressed areas

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

If current trends continue with the rise in population and demand for water intensive foods, almost half of the world’s population will experience water scarcity on a daily basis

Source: UNESCO – Water in a Changing World

Date: April–June 2009

1 kilogram of beef requires 16,000 liters of water

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

To produce 1 kilogram of beef 16,000 liters of water is needed, whereas it only takes 1,350 liters to produce 1 kilogram of wheat, and 900 liters to produce 1 kilogram of maize.

Source: Measuring the Damage of our ‘Water Footprint’ – Spiegel

Date: 26 August 2009

Source: United Nations “Livestock’s Long Shadow” Report, Rome, 2006, Part V Livestock’s role in water depletion and pollution (PDF)

Date: 2006

Source: The Math Behind Meatless Monday

Date: NA

Results 1-10 of overall 11
REPORTS see all

Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Climate Change


Livestock Production and Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers


Plant-Based Diets - A solution to our public health crisis


Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010


Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report


Livestock's Climate Impact


Livestock & Sustainable Food


Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change


The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)


Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)



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