I would like to ask you to do yourself a huge favor.
If you do me this favor, it will allow you to have a happy, healthy retirement.
You will be able to avoid all the chronic illnesses from clogged up arteries: No strokes, no wheelchairs, no medicines, no doctors, no kidney machines or blindness, no erectile dysfunction, no Alzheimer’s disease or diabetes. It will even get rid of your pot belly!
I do have an ulterior motive for sure, but trust me (I’m a doctor), if you do this favor for yourself, you will be eternally grateful. I would like to suggest that you stop eating all animal products for the next three weeks in a row.
You will feel better, you will lose weight and you will be on your way to good health. Why do I ask this? Simple: for the planet and for our grandchildren.
Why three weeks? Psychologists tell us that if we do the same thing every day for three weeks in a row, it builds a new pathway in our brain and the new behavior becomes a habit.
If you develop the habit of a vegan diet (no animal flesh, no animal milk products), you will set an example for others to do the same.
If healthy, plant-based eating becomes the norm, the highly subsidized animal-flesh industry will go out of business. The dairy business is already going down the tubes even with government subsidies.
If you can’t avoid the unhealthy, standard, American, artery-clogging diet for three weeks, then try again, this time, by not eating beef for three weeks, and see how you do.
Cows are, by far, the most-destructive animals (besides humans) on the planet. If enough people stop eating cows and we pressure our government to stop subsidizing factory farming, it will go by the wayside.
What’s wrong with cows, you ask? Cows create water pollution, air pollution, habitat destruction, forest destruction and greatly contribute to the main causes of human disease. The harm that cattle do would fill a small book, but for this essay’s purpose, it is that cows belch methane.
That’s where your grandchildren come in.
Cows belch methane, a greenhouse gas that is 85 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. Methane causes far more damage to the climate than burning things like coal and petroleum.
The good news is that it doesn’t stay in the environment as long. The better news is that an easy way to get rid of it is to stop government subsidies to the meat and dairy (and oil) industry.
Who do you think eats all that corn on the Westside? It is not for corn-on-the cob or corn flakes.
It is seed for corn and soy grown in Iowa for cows. About 80% of the corn and soy grown in the U.S. is fed to cattle, pigs, chickens and lambs. The rest is for ethanol. It is not their natural food, that’s why they belch so much.
One day, your grandchildren will ask you why our generation didn’t do enough to protect the climate.
Your answer could be, “sorry kid.” Or your answer could be, “I encouraged everyone I knew to get our federal representatives to oppose the Farm Bill, I encouraged all my friends to switch to a plant-based diet, I drove an electric car, I urged my Hawai‘i state representatives to stop giving cheap rent to agribusiness companies in West Kaua‘i and I took a bike whenever I could.” Let’s hope our grandkids won’t be mad at us.
Dr. Gordon LaBedz is a retired Kaiser Permanente family physician and retired medical school professor living in Kekaha. He is a longtime environmental activist.