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April 22 marks a half century of celebrating Earth Day, but do we observe it? Beyond Earth Day there is a growing national debate over the Green New Deal. We can each do our part by reducing our driving, use of electricity, and consumption of animals.

Why the attack on meat and dairy? A recent article in Nature argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, air and water pollution, and depletion of soil and freshwater resources. Oxford University's prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that solving the global warming catastrophe requires a massive shift to plant-based eating.

Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by operating machinery to grow and transport animals. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and animal waste ponds, respectively.

Moreover, meat and dairy production dumps more animal waste, fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It is the driving force behind wildlife extinction.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources.

Let's celebrate the observance of Earth Day at our supermarket.

Carson Barnes

Coos Bay

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