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Raising animals for food is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which contribute to global warming and climate change.

When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, people were concerned about air and water pollution and the survival of endangered species. They talked about how the growing human population was crowding out wildlife and how we all have a responsibility to take care of the planet. Now, 44 years later, there are 3.5 billion more of us in the world, and our appetite for energy, land and meat has skyrocketed.

It’s time for a renewed call to action for the planet and wildlife, and we can start by taking extinction off our plates.

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Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of global warming and is responsible for more water pollution, topsoil depletion, deforestation, and wildlife destruction than any other human activity, yet the public as well as many environmentalists still consume animal products without making that connection. Together, we need to educate folks that a diet change is an easy way to help the planet.

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Countless areas around the world are experiencing drought like never before and the number of areas being affected is on the rise. Here in the United States, one such area is the state of California, which is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts on record.

In response to the alarming situation, Governor Edmund Brown has declared a state of emergency, and President Obama has pledged $183 million in emergency funding. In an Op-Ed article to The New York Times, Professor James McWilliams examines the amount of water that’s needed to raise agricultural crops and its relation to California’s current drought-stricken status.

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The vegan diet got another mainstream boost from a new report by scientists working for the United Nation’s International Resource Panel. The report states that a dramatic shift in diet, away from animal products, is necessary in addressing increased land use, world hunger, and climate change.

As the world’s population continues to climb towards a predicted 9 billion people by 2050, the need for more sustainable food systems is more important than ever. And a diet rich in animal protein and dairy products is certainly not the road towards sustainability.   

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It was big news last year when director James Cameron announced he was adopting a vegan diet. And he continues to make headlines with a recent acceptance speech he gave at a National Geographic Gala, where he encouraged supporters to follow his lead if they care for the planet.

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Another Earth Day has gone by and once again, our results have made a lasting impact! Dozens of activists from all over the country distributed thousands of handouts to local events while our online efforts were just as strong, using all avenues possible to share the vegan message far and wide.

We revamped our Green Your Diet handout which received great acclaim from our activists. While the handout is certainly attractive, the content is what helped change diets. With very convincing information about the correlation between animal agriculture and climate change, there is no doubt our handout made people question if they are making the right dietary choice for the planet.

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For over 40 years, Earth Day has encouraged people all over the world to both promote and engage in practices that benefit the planet. As we get closer to April 22nd, many will propose solutions to delay climate change, such as convincing the public to drive hybrid cars or introduce recycling bins into their neighborhoods. While these suggestions are all sound, there is one solution that is often ignored but is actually the easiest to apply: a change of diet.

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Our "Green Your Diet" banner helped to lead the march.

…is exactly what more than 40,000 individuals chanted this past Sunday as they marched on Washington to demonstrate to President Obama their stance on climate change, and FARM was there educating the American public how a change in diet can change the climate.

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So it seems that talk of climate change only resurfaces following a devastating natural disaster. This time “Frankenstorm” Sandy, which struck the U.S. Eastern Shore at the beginning of the week, can be thanked for bringing global warming back into view. Even the up-coming presidential election seems to have ignored the issue.

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Feed lots are responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalists are often hesitant to address the ecological problems with animal agriculture—some people will happily drive a hybrid and change their light bulbs, but then plug their ears when told about the impact of their cheeseburgers. In fact, Al Gore has claimed that asking people to give up meat would make his arguments too difficult for the public to swallow.

But when experts have concluded that raising animals for food is a top cause for nearly every ecological problem on the planet, the argument is not difficult at all. For Earth Day, remind your omnivorous friends of what their meat habit is doing to the earth:

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