Saving the environment starts at supermarket

“Climate Change Threatens World Food Supply” was the lead story in yesterday’s leading newspapers. It was prompted by the release of a summary report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, staffed by more than 100 experts from 52 countries.

The report details how climate change is threatening our world’s food and water supplies — turning arable land to desert, degrading soil and raising the frequency of devastating weather conditions.

It concludes that avoiding wholesale starvation and mass migrations requires fundamental changes in current animal agriculture and land management practices, which account for 23 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

The conclusions of the IPCC report match closely those by Oxford University in 2017 and by Chatham House in 2015. A 2010 United Nations report blames animal agriculture for 19% of greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of freshwater use and 38% of land use. All reports recommend a massive shift to plant-based eating.

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. Our next visit to the supermarket provides a superb starting point.

Gerald Harting

Joplin

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Dan Coats spoke truth to power

The Joplin Globe recently published an article reporting that Dan Coats is out as President Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence.

The reason that Coats is out is because he doesn’t trust North Korea’s intentions regarding the procurement of nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s Supreme Leader is an unruly dictator whose ghastly economic policies include starving some of his own people to death rather than abandon his ruthless cost-prohibitive pursuit of nuclear missiles. Kim Jong Un is a Machiavellian despot who would revel in ecstasy, like the terrorists did on 9/11, if he could decimate one of our densely populated cities with a devastating nuclear strike.

I don’t know enough about Coats to endorse him categorically, but his decision to place national security ahead of job security — by speaking truth to power — is a stellar example of selfless leadership that desperately needs to be emulated in Washington.

The fact that Coats is out because he was standing on an important principle — for looking at an issue objectively and then choosing to do what was right, even at risk of creating an acrimonious relationship with his boss, President Trump — is encouraging because it reveals that we still have some politicians who are too noble to compromise regardless of the consequences.

Although I voted for President Trump, I believe he has done our country a disservice by removing someone from a position of power and influence who had admirable integrity and excellent judgment. This is a blot of President Trump, not on Dan Coats.

Thank you, Dan, for the sacrifices that you have made to make the world a safer place. Your altruism and patriotism are greatly appreciated.

James Bruce

Joplin