Help planet with plant-based eating
This Earth Day we have reduced our carbon footprint by curtailing travel and our thermostat. We recycle. But we can do so much more by cutting our consumption of animal meat and milk products. Yes, that.
A recent article in The Guardian argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, as well as air and water pollution, depletion of soil and water resources, and destruction of wildlife habitats. Oxford University's prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that solving the global warming catastrophe requires massive shift to plant-based eating. The Netflix feature Seaspiracy documents the devastating environmental impacts of the fishing industry.
In an environmentally sustainable world, we must replace meat, fish, and dairy products with vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources.
Each of us has a unique opportunity to heal our planet by transitioning to plant-based eating. We can begin with the 1-minute NY Times diet quiz. Then, let's celebrate Earth Day by checking out the rich variety of plant-based meat and dairy products at our supermarket. The internet offers ample advice and recipes.
Bill a transformative tool in climate policy
Judith Dale's ["Earth Day's Santa Barbara origin"] asks us to think about what we can do to protect our part of California. While local efforts help, they will ultimately fail if the climate crisis isn't solved nationally and globally.
A transformative bill just introduced in the House (HR 2307) may be the best thing we can do for the Central Coast and America. It's called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and it already has 41 co-sponsors, including Rep. Salud Carbajal.
It puts a price on fossil fuels, but it’s not a tax. It's not used to raise revenue for the government. All the fee receipts are rebated as equal-share dividends to everyone with a social security number. The dividends get bigger each year as the carbon price rises.
Scientists like it because, without a meaningful price on carbon energy, there is no chance of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius. Economists like it because much of the rebated cash goes to households that will spend it, stimulating the economy.
A steadily rising carbon price sends a clear signal to investors that clean energy is the future and that further big investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure no longer makes sense. American oil companies will evolve into diversified clean energy companies as their overseas competitors are doing.
This is the most effective climate policy tool that Congress has ever considered. If enacted with other sensible measures now being studied, America could reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
San Luis Obispo
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