by MPD
Categories: People
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“I asked Al Gore about why he didn’t mention this in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ [as animal production is responsible for more greenhouse gases than every car, bus, truck, bus, plane and boat on the planet combined]. He answered honestly, basically saying that getting people to drive a hybrid car isn’t that difficult. Getting people to give up animal products is almost impossible. I appreciated his honesty.”

-Moby sharing his conversation on spinner.com with Al Gore about why An Inconvenient Truth doesn’t mention meat-free diets. What do you think about this statement? Chime in and share your thoughts!

via: vegetarianstar.com

  • http://garyploski.com Gary Ploski

    Al Gore’s statement, while honest, is an excuse. To change is not easy. Some things are easier than others, sure, but the rest are as, and sometimes more, important and should not be left out simply because it is difficult.

    I feel that Al Gore should re-release his film and include AG content.

  • Stephanie

    Going vegan is free. Buying a hybrid car is expensive. Veganism is a way that we can ALL help save the environment while saving the lives of 100 animals from suffering, reducing global hunger, and improving our health. It is not nearly impossible to convince people to go veg like Al Gore is saying. Vegan food is delicious and healthy. Most people simply have no idea why it is so important to go vegan, how healthy it is, and how great the food tastes. Most people (in Ohio anyway) don’t even know what vegan food is. It’s time that we educate people. If Al Gore doesn’t want to talk about agriculture’s effect on the environment, he should at least go veg himself. Almost 3 years ago, at age 16, I went veg and it was the greatest choice I ever made. I used to be really into meat and knew nothing about vegetarianism, veganism, the environment, animal rights, or the health benefits of veganism. If I could do it, Al Gore can do it too.

  • VeggieTart

    While I get Al Gore’s point–people do have a sad attachment to animal-based foods–I agree it’s a copout.

    It’s not impossible! How do you know if you haven’t tried? He could have said REDUCE your meat consumption, which many people ARE willing to do.

  • Christy

    I am a meat eater. I adore the taste of meat. To me, going vegetarian or vegan would be akin to never seeing the sun again. Sure, I could do it. But I would be unhappy about it (or at least I imagine I would be unhappy about it).

    I do read this blog though everyday to motivate me to change. And I have made some baby steps – no more deli meats and at least one veggie day a week. In fact, it was by reading about Peta’s No Meat Mondays that I decided, yeah I can totally do meat-free at least one day a week. I have also started to look for great vegan options to satisfy my desire for meat (i.e. vegan bacon bits).

    So for me, if I can start reducing my meat intake, surely it is something that everyone can consider going. Al Gore’s message for cars is ‘we can do better’. It is that exact same message he can offer on meat eating. A hybrid car is better than a non-hybrid car but not as a good as walking or biking. A reduced meat diet is better than a plent-o-meat diet but not as good as veggie or vegan.

  • Rachelle

    Al Gore would have a tougher time with the meat industry and Washington lobbyists than with individuals. Telling people to go veg for the environment and their health is easy…but taking on McDonald’s and the other fast food joints/dairy farmers/pig, cow and chicken slaughterers/ most of Texas, etc. would be the fight of his life. Still…you gotta try. LOL!

  • http://www.veganbakesale.org Gary

    Christy, I appreciate your honesty. Like you, I was a meat-lover. Also, like you, at one point I had similar fears about giving up meat. However, now that I’ve done it, the sun is shining brighter than ever. I don’t feel the slightest bit deprived. For every food I gave up, I found five new foods to replace it. I’ve expanded my cuisine and discovered new products and cooking methods. My diet has never been more diverse and enjoyable.

    I’ve been vegan for five years now. I don’t have particularly strong willpower, and I love to eat. It is also a *great* feeling knowing that I am not contributing to the end-to-end violence and suffering in animal agriculture – long transport in sweltering heat with no food or water, suffocating or grinding up baby male chicks in hen hatcheries, pigs regaining consciousness as their bodies are being torn apart, “spent” dairy cows killed with late-term calves inside, 7-week old chicks, some still peeping, already at adult size, ready for slaughter…the horrendous list goes on and on. It is great not to have to block all that out when I sit down to eat.

    Good luck! You can do it. Sounds like you’re on your way. I only wish Al Gore was as honest and willing to take those first steps.

  • http://vegreg.wordpress.com Gina

    Christy-kudos to you for taking some steps to reduce your meat intake!

    I think, as Rachelle mentioned, Gore would be in for a huge battle with industrial ag. It would be really wonderful if he would ask people to reduce their meat intake or at least purchase their meat from small family farms and ranches committed to raising animals humanely. These operations have a much less negative impact on the environment than CAFOs.

  • Christine

    Thank you Moby. Someone had to call out this idiotic greenwashing fool. Gore has just reinforced what many already knew…he’s just a cowardly hypocrite whose dedication to his own ‘convictions’ is trumped by a desire for steak and pork chops.

    Really Al?? Getting people to eat vegetables instead of animal products is next to impossible?? This clown will continue to preach priuses and lightbulbs while he happily munches on burgers in his private jet. What a phoney.

    I intend to ride around in a gas-guzzling SUV with ILVTOFU plates.

    VEGANISM = ENVIRONMENTALISM.
    GORE = IDIOT

  • http://www.veganbakesale.org Gary

    I think if Al Gore would simply tell people to *at least* reduce their purchases of animal products (including leather), and to set an example by doing so himself, that may be the best way to “take on” the vast and powerful animal ag industry.

    Also, small family farms do not necessarily equate to humane treatment of animals or low negative environmental impact. Even on small family farms: dairy cows have their babies stolen from them every year and are sent to slaughter at 5 years old; layer hens come from hatcheries where the male chicks are killed by suffocation, gassing, or being ground up alive; all the animals have been bred to grossly overproduce flesh, eggs, and milk, which takes a toll on their bodies; most animals are starved for one or more days before slaughter, to save on costs; and nearly all the animals are killed when quite young.

    Also, while a farm with 100 cows produces less pollution and methane emissions than an operation with 100,000 cows, it is the high *demand* for meat (and dairy and eggs) – we slaughter 25 million non-marine animals a day in the United States alone – that is causing the environmental destruction, whether people buy their meat from CAFOs or from a massive number of small farms, which might result in an even greater displacement of native habitat and wildlife. Basically, 25 million animals is a huge number, and at that level CAFOs and high-throughput slaughterhouses are almost inevitable. The eggs in mayonnaise, cookies, and frozen waffles; the chicken in frozen pot pies and soup; the milk in ice cream, cream cheese, and hundreds of other products in grocery stores (even Whole Foods) and restaurants – almost all come from horrific factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses.

  • Dru

    I eat meat, and I’d buy a hybrid before I’d give up eating meat. I agree with Gore, a meat eater content to be so, is not going to give up that food. Money isn’t the issue. If you are a meat eater, you eat meat. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you don’t.

    I have a hybrid and steaks

  • http://www.vegangrub.com Eric

    I’m getting tired of all the smug vegans out there who think they are god’s gift to mother nature because they cut out animal products. Everyone is guilty of pollution, so lets stop making villains out of certain people; that’s not how the problem will be solved.

    Inconvenient Truth was a powerful film, and it woke a lot of people up. It did a lot of good, but if he had been throwing in the diet aspect, how many potential supporters might have been turned away?

    Also, he’s an omnivore. If anything, he’d be pushing a locavore diet, which is every bit as environmental as veganism, and even more so in many cases.

    Maybe it isn’t his job to push the veg*n agenda. He got our foot in the door, so now its our turn to pick up where he left off, rather than waggling our fingers at anyone who doesn’t think like us.

  • Georgina

    Did gore stop to think that if vegetarianism and veganism were impossible to achieve we would not be in blogs like this? Christine, I second your opinion of Gore…not the brightest energy saver bulb out there…
    .

  • http://www.veganbakesale.org Gary

    Eric – I apologize if I came across as smug or “God’s gift” or anything like that. I don’t think I’m any better than anyone else. I’m just trying to do what’s right, abolishing avoidable animal cruelty, preventing global warming as much as practical, and so forth. Some of that involves sharing information with others and putting forth my opinion.

    I agree with you on some points. I give Al Gore credit for his film, as well as his books and his speeches. But he’s not above criticism. I think it was unfortunate that he almost completely failed to mention diet as a solution, and has continued to do this for years – even though eating animal products is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions and something that we all can change immediately at no net extra cost. I think it would be irresponsible for me to remain silent on that.

    In any case, I don’t want to focus to much on Mr. Gore. Granted, he’s in an influential position, but each of us can do our part without waiting for him to change or tell us what do.

    The research I’ve read, including a study by Carnegie-Mellon University last year, indicates that going veg has a far greater impact on reducing energy use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions than eating local. Of course, one can do both.

  • don miguelo

    Gore means that it would be inpossible to change everyone, not impossible for some of us to change ourselves. While I can see how that sounds defeatist, it may be a more probable reality. If he gets crucified for trying to get the world to stop eating animals, he will lose his credibility on other fronts where he is respected. Thomas Jefferson did the same thing with slavery (he wrote “all men are created equal” and then said slaves were inferior in a later book.) They both see it wouldn’t be good strategy to lose credibility on an issue that is not probable to change soon, even though they have changed some other amazing things.
    Not everyone is 100% radically supergreen, and to judge/force them to be is intolerance and effectively alienating.
    Can’t we just all do a little better in some areas where we weren’t before and be ok with that? Sorry–fear and guilt aren’t going to get permanent change, IMO.
    He got the ball rolling and he’s not perfect–let’s let the right-wing talk radio try to defame his character– not do it for them. You don’t like him, he’s not good enough? Then you go out there and do it better! I’m sure no-one will find any hypocrisy in you ever.

  • http://www.veganbakesale.org Gary

    Don – I don’t think Gore would be “crucified” for telling people to reduce their consumption of animal products. That’s not a radical view anymore. The United Nations and the Pew Commission, among other mainstream groups, have identified our demand for meat and dairy as a major threat to the health of the planet.

    I may have to disagree with you slightly on guilt. In my vegan outreach over the last several years, my perception has been that guilt is often a powerful motivator for positive change. Not that you want to lay a guilt trip on people! Just present the facts – they can be quite persuasive in their own right. And endeavor to help and inspire people to make those changes. Many people are afraid that if they give up meat (and dairy and eggs), they’ll have an unsatisfactory, impoverished diet, or they’ll be unhealthy, or it will be expensive, or they won’t be able to fit in with their family and friends, and so forth. I try to let people know that with just a modicum of planning, their fears won’t be realized, except that they may get some pushback initially from family and friends, who may feel guilty, but that over time that will fade and some of the naysayers may eventually be inspired to follow suit.

    I agree with you that we all have some hypocrisy in our lives. I know I do. And we should be honest with ourselves about that. But I don’t think we have to be perfect in order to express our opinions or offer constructive criticism.

    I also agree that we should be thankful when people make incremental changes. And I am! But that should be an ongoing process, especially if the changes are relatively easy and may help solve urgent problems.

    Gore is forfeiting a huge opportunity IMHO and I don’t see the point in being silent about that. Who knows, we may persuade him to change, just as he’s trying to persuade others to change. But again, I don’t know that we want to spend too much time gnashing our teeth over one person. There are many people out there who are more receptive than Gore to changing their diet, and we should spend a good deal of our time engaging in constructive dialog with them; that may be far more productive.

  • don miguelo

    Those are great points as well Gary!
    As a veteran 10 year vegetarian/5 year vegan, inspired myself by Moby’s liner notes on “everything is wrong”, I guess being on the frontlines can make you think strategic when going to Thanksgiving–hahaha. Kudos to Moby for challenging Gore to address it (and maybe think twice about it). I agree that we should highlight that diet changes, even small ones would have a giant effect, just like driving less and recycling helps with co2 reduction. I always end up struggling myself with the constructive dialog vs the holier than thou guilt-trip that no one wants…but maybe that’s a discussion for another thread!

  • deena

    Thanks Moby for calling that out. Al has done an immense amount of good but the flip side is that meat consumption causes a ton of harm to the Earth as well. There’s another documentary for you Al! Wouldn’t it be great if he flipped to veg/vegan?
    I’ll never forget the first time many years ago that I bypassed the meat dept. in the grocery stores to begin my new life as veg. It was a very easy transition.

  • RAIN

    Well summing it all up… If you eat meat well it is your choice. If your vegan it is on step in the right direction. Agenda or no agenda anyone who is trying is in my book someone to respect anyone who ignores the facts comes off as weak. Just like any vegan who has to have his or her cookie. I thought veganism was healthy well compared to a fast food diet well hell yeah but still to much processed foods and sugar also in a vegan diet. So health is not always a factor. If your not eating veggies yet you better start because that is the only think that is going to save you from horrible diseases like cancer when your older. I think we all need to make a better effort. Stop buy stuff and conserve more, stop eating so much meat… aint good for anyone, there is no reason to eat but for taste entertainment or pleasure and that is just gosh darn egocentric. I came from Taco bell and pizza to a vegan diet. Was it easy? well with a learning curve hell yeah. All I got to say forget inconvenient truth … watch the movie … Earthlings this is for the people who really want to reach deep inside their soul. This should clear it up for most people who are sane for those who watch it and have no effect … boy that is truely scary stuff.

    No one should point fingers. But everyone deserves to know the truth about the harm to our health, environment and to other living beings. Blinders does not change the nature of things.

  • RAIN

    I hate spelling…. rrrrr I always forget to proof … rrrrrr

  • Lightning

    I greatly admire people who have chosen to not eat meat for ethical reasons, but as of yet I’m not one of them.

    Humans have been eating meat since the dawn of our existence so it is perfectly natural. What isn’t natural for humans is driving around in automobiles, flying and the thousands of other things we do each day to pump carbon into the atmosphere. What also isn’t natural is unchecked, exponential population growth. If we could get our population numbers down to something sustainable (2 billion), we could eat all the meat we wanted until the cows came home. I would honestly rather abstain from sex the rest of my life than give up meat. If every fertile person on earth did likewise, we’d solve the population (and environmental) problem in a generation. So why not ask Gore about his views on sexual abstinence??

    The fact is, animal rights and healthy living are much stronger arguments in favour of veganism. The environmental (greenhouse gas reduction) argument was tacked on later and does not entirely hold to close scrutiny given it is not the root of the problem. Excessive material consumption and overpopulation are the roots of the problem, things we only started doing in the last century. We’ve been eating meat since the day we evolved on the plains of Africa.

  • http://www.veganjapan.net herwin

    Inconvenient truth is great, and its great that it opens the door to a critcial view to the meat production. Its very right to ask Gore about why he didnt include MEAT and to highlight this aspect, its not fingerpointing merely seeing and taking an oportunity to deepen the global warming debate.

  • http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9FD18926170ED901&search_query=earthlings Whoever…

    “He answered honestly, basically saying that getting people to drive a hybrid car isn’t that difficult. Getting people to give up animal products is almost impossible.”

    Unfortunately he’s right! What I think he meant was that it would be practically impossible to reach the general population if he had opted for a veg*an approach.

    However, although I believe he has done a lot to raise some awareness concerning global warming and the destruction of the planet, I think he should set an example and become veg*an. Until he does that he can’t tell people to become veg*an, can he? That would be a “do as I say but don’t do as I do” kind of thing.

    “I’m getting tired of all the smug vegans out there who think they are god’s gift to mother nature because they cut out animal products.”

    Well Eric, I’m truly sorry you feel that way about many veg*ans. You know, I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 12 years (almost 100% vegan for the last 2) and let me tell you that in the beginning I was constantly inquired (that’s the right word – as if I had committed a crime) by most animal eaters regarding my choice. They made me feel as if I was doing something wrong or as if I was a radical crazy person! This got so bad that I actually started hiding the fact that I was a vegetarian.
    So, you see, I could also say that I am tired of animal eaters making me feel as if I’m not normal or as if I’m doing something wrong…

    Fortunately I got over it and now I don’t have any problem in letting people know I’m a vegetarian.
    And if I see that people are starting to question my choice, now I know what to answer them and they just shut up and leave me alone!

    Additionally, to fully understand an issue and talk about it, you should do some research first. Therefore if you want to find out why most of us become veg*ans and why we’re so passionate about it sometimes, just click on my nickname and watch the documentary ‘Earthlings’ on You Tube.
    After watching all 10 parts (if you have the stomach) you’ll understand exactly our point of view.

    @ Christy

    “To me, going vegetarian or vegan would be akin to never seeing the sun again. ”

    I also loved meat and I used to eat a LOT of it! (good riddance!) :)

    But now that I’m a vegetarian, I feel so much better (on all levels), and believe me I love the sun… ;)

    I’m glad you’re at least considering on cutting back on meat though.

    Again (as I mentioned to Eric), if you click on my nickname, it will direct you to a documentary (‘Earthlings’) on You Tube. If you watch it (all 10 parts), it will help you (when you’re ready!) decide to make a full transition to veg*anism.

    And I promise you that if you have a balanced and varied veg*an diet, you’ll enjoy the sun even more :)

  • VeggieTart

    Christy, thank you for your honesty. I think a lot of people who are now veg used to think that way; I know I did. Carol J. Adams calls it a blocking force. But one day I got so disgusted with meat, I went veg. And then a few months later, I went vegan.

    But even eating less meat is a step in the right direction. There are tons of analogues out there. I saw a story in The Washington Post last month that suggested a vegan diet is more environmentally friendly than a locavore omni diet.

    Eric, nobody is asking Gore to push a veg*an agenda, but if you are going to make a film about the effects of global warming and some of the causes, leaving out meat production is a serious error. Most people DON’T make the connection. He could have said reduce your meat consumption, which might have been more palatable to people.

  • Anna

    Reading all these comments has caused me to leave this blog. I apologize to the author.

  • Rosie

    Here, here, Eric. Smugness abounds. This attitude is what makes me NOT want to be vegan. (Why do you write it with the asterisk?) I don’t eat a lot of meat and I am an incredibly conscientious purchaser. I don’t argue with much of what is said here, but the lecturing is tiresome. I don’t care what your message is – the negativity and the criticism is just not how we should behave towards each other. (Yes, I realize the irony in that statement since I am criticizing you.)

    Why are we harping on this man who woke up much of an asleep country to at least some of the issues of global warming? There is no reason his film had to cover all bases, particularly when there is so much coverage elsewhere about the effects of diet and the meat industry.

    I appreciate those who encouraged Christy on here – this is the welcoming attitude that appeals to others and will help “convert” people, or at least help them understand what positive things eating less meat will do.

  • Elizabeth Schafer

    I think that many people don’t know enough about veg nutrition. It’s a complicated issue. I have questions about it, like vitamin B-12. Where do they get it to make supplements for vegans? Are the supplements guaranteed vegan? I’m 90% veg now, but I would probably go strict vegan if I knew the truth. As is, I’m afraid to limit my diet too severely.

  • Casey

    Dear Al,

    It never hurts to ask. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get anything.

  • Emily

    I disagree with Al Gore. It is much easier to switch to a meat free, or at least a reduced meat, more vegetarian diet than to drive a hybrid. While prices are starting to come down, hybrids are still very expensive purchases. Aside from being greener than meat based diets, vegetarian diets are much cheaper as well.

    If you amortize the cost versus gas savings generated, you will see that you can compare the new hybrids with many other fuel efficient vehicles (such as the Honda Civic) and you should be unimpressed when you compare the mileage difference versus cost difference between them. My 1998 Toyota Corolla got maybe 5-10% less mileage than the hybrids do, and the new ones are about half the price.

    Moreover, being a proud owner of a Volkswagon TDI Jetta, I know that it is unfortunate that it doesn’t have the reputational “hype” of being a green vehicle, but it is MUCH greener actually when stacked up with the hybrid. You can run biodiesel in a Jetta, while you can only run ethanol of up to 80% in a Prius. My Jetta gets very good mileage, 40-50 mpg, which is comparable to the hybrids and in some cases better.

    Hybrid diesels would be a huge change, you could get up to 80 mpg with those. But the current hybrids are nothing but hype, and the people who drive them thinking they’re “green” are full of it, I’m sorry but they are.

  • Colin

    Gary, as 1st, u give the most truthful statement, and one I agree with fully.

    Christine, I don’t think you have any idea about what the true meaning of this article is.

  • http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9FD18926170ED901&search_query=earthlings Whoever…

    Rosie,

    You shouldn’t generalise an entire group of people just because you’ve met (have you?) a few veg*an individuals who you think may be somewhat smug.

    If you read my previous comment you can clearly see that I also have reasons to think that most animal eaters are arrogant fools. However, I chose not to go that path…

    Again, if you really want to know why some veg*ans (* means both vegans and vegetarians) are so passionate about this way of life, please click on my nickname and watch the documentary ‘Earthlings’ on You Tube. Then you’ll understand!

    Elizabeth,

    Here are some sites that can help you with that:

    http://www.vegansociety.com/food/nutrition/b12/

    http://www.vegsoc.org/info/b12.html

    http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/b12.htm

    http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/sources-of-vitamin-b12-in-your-vegetarian-diet.html

    http://www.vegcooking.com/index.asp

    http://www.goveg.com/order.asp

    There’s a ‘world of information’ on the internet. All you have to do is look for it.
    Nowadays there are already veg*an alternatives to everything you find in the conventional diet.
    I hope this can be of some help to you. :)

  • http://thevegetarianblog.today.com apasolini

    The kind of environmentalism that Gore serves is only useful to those purveying it. It changes nothing, it does nothing, it’s just a new marketing niche. In fact, it’s detrimental to the real paradigm shift, which includes a change to a plant-based diet. What is nearly impossible to do is take Gore seriously.

  • mvp

    erm you people seem to be forgetting cows and other animals produce more greenhouse gasses than cars? so surely by eating meat you are being more green?

  • Asia

    I have been vegetarian for a few months now (since January), its been a transition that has taken a few years, but I have successfully removed meat from my diet and am working to remove as much dairy and other products as well, though I will never be the perfect vegan (unless I do, then good for me).

    I managed to do this all with the love, patience and support of my vegan friends, who never gave me unwanted information or guilt trips. I was never reminded (like many vegans do in my area) of what I was eating and was spared the speeches and peta flyers (I do not support peta and hope to find a group with as few ties as possible to peta).

    Guilt doesn’t work on me. I was brought up in a house with much guilt flying around from my grandmother and mother. I can recognize guilt tactics (gory pictures, sad stories etc) and wouldn’t buy into them. I wanted nothing to do with the angry vegans and their peta pamphlets, yelling at me for being a murderer. Its like watching angry street preachers howling about hell and expect me to believe in God, it just doesn’t work to expect flies when all you have is vinegar.

    Then I started working for New Seasons Market and met some really nice vegans who explained that they were in it for the earth benefit and health benefit. No nasty flyers, no guilt trips, but an unending source of information and support at every small step I made.

    I think this is how we get people to make changes in their life, through patience and support, rather than nasty pictures and guilt trips, because if you’ve had women in your life who liked to guilt you into doing the dishes, you know how easy it is to turn a deaf ear.

    I don’t believe that everyone should be made to stop eating meat, there are many people who wont and there are people who benefit from meat (a friend of mine went broke as a vegan and almost died because his body didn’t have enough fat to burn and he couldn’t keep up with his own metabolism. Bad planning? perhaps, but hes ten times healthier now with meat back in his diet).
    I do, however, believe that we can educate people to (at least) eat meat more responsibly (organic/local) and teach them that you don’t need meat in every meal and in such large quantities. I think that would be a nice step in the right direction.

    I’m glad Moby said what he did, and I’m glad that Vegetarian organizations are using friendlier tactics by explaining health and earth benefits and offering support in even the smallest decision to reduce animal consumption. Its the best way to gain support.

    ^__^

  • http://www.samuraimarineblog.com SamuraiMarine

    Some of the responses I see here are either for people to cut meat out entirely or for people to keep eating the way they are.

    Why not just learn to practice moderation? When I was growing up meat was a small part of a large meal… It made up MAYBE a quarter of the meal. Now there are some people who eat huge portions of meat for their breakfast lunch and dinner.

    There is no denying that we, at least in the USA, eat too much meat, but reducing that to about 6 to 8 ounces for dinner and less for any other meals would be fine and you will see a big drop in beef, pork and chicken sales.

    Now… I did follow a Vegetarian diet for about three years because of some unusual liver enzyme variations and once I got used to it, it was not so bad, but once the problem was gone I went back to an omnivorous diet, but I still do not eat as much meat as I used to, sometimes none.

    It just goes back to moderation… something that we all shoudl practice and not only in eating meat, but in life in general.

  • ckwebgrrl

    I agree that it would have been better to present a more complete picture about the leading causes of global warming – we will all decide what to do with that information and how to improve if so motivated. I seriously considered buying a hybrid car, but the price was beyond my reach. Instead I bought a car with better gas mileage and am happy I made the right decision. In January, I decided to cut out all animal products. I still love the smell of bacon but have found that the door to eating a wider variety of foods more than compensates for any loss of meat. But I recognize that there is much much more that I can do. Next I want to focus on small energy choices that I make and buy more local food and products. No one has the perfect answer, but it helps to have the right information and to support each other as we strive to make this planet a better place for us and our children.

    We should realize that just because other people’s choices differ from ours, it doesn’t necessarily invalidate or threaten our decisions. Amazing how defensive and judgemental we humans can be.

  • http://personalwebguide.com/ Travis

    Being a vegetarian for some time now, and not trying to sound like a snob; I’m honestly confused why some people have such a hard time giving up meat in their diet. Are they addicted to the taste? Is it the laziness factor, and they just don’t want to work to improve themselves or their environment?

    I actually have a lot of fun eating vegetarian cuisine, as it’s generally off the beaten path and you usually incorporate a much healthier variety of foods into your meal.

  • Krysta

    weak, weak, weak. Al Gore didn’t have to even recommend that people give up meat. He could simply have mentioned the UN report. Getting the facts out there is an obligation, even if he doesn’t want to suggest the next logical step (stop eating those animals).

  • Suzy

    Christ, you people are obnoxious. There are many reasons educated people do not go veg*an (probably the most annoying word configuration I have ever seen). For example, in many places including rural areas you cannot get a hold of the foods you would NEED to have a balanced veg*an (kill me) diet. It takes a very large amount of variation in available food in order to be a healthy veg*an and many of you on this blog probably have been told by your doctors that you aren’t even doing it properly. Besides, we are omnivorous. Have you noticed your canine teeth? Eating meat and the protein it supplied is what allowed us to develop these big ol’ brains that you like to use now to complain about people who choose to eat animals. Pretty obnoxious, don’t you think? Yes, animals contribute to global warming, just like many other things like jet fuel trails and volcanic eruptions and the industrialization that has allowed you to get these veg*an foods that you love so much. Without this industrialization, you’d still be slaughtering goats and sheep on the farm to eat. You certainly wouldn’t be sitting behind your computers being so obnoxious.

  • Emma

    The major problem with changing the habits of meat-eaters is meat tastes so delicious. You just can’t get around it. Unless you have a personal aversion to meat for whatever reasons, there is just no substitute for a roast chicken, broiled steak, or crispy bacon laying next to a couple of fried eggs. My son was a vegetarian for five years when he fell of the wagon over some really delicious meatballs made with ground beef, pork, and veal. That was about seven years ago and he’s been scarfing down meat ever since. What’s to be done?

  • http://ramblingfamilymanager.blogspot.com Kim, Rambling Family Manager

    Awareness comes before meaningful change can occur. I’m a meat eater, but as I’ve learned more about the negative aspects of animal production I’ve started phasing meat out of my diet. (And as the principal menu planner and grocery shopper for my family, that means 4 other people are phasing meat out of their diets along with me.) I switched to organic, free range beef many, many years ago and now I’m reducing our consumption of even that. It’s a slow process because it involves learning a whole new way to eat! It’s not something anyone could have forced down our throats, either; this is something we, as a family, had to arrive at for ourselves. I like the approach advocated by the folks at “Meatless Monday” (http://www.meatlessmonday.com/) which asks everyone to make a pledge to give up meat products one day a week. That’s even easier than buying a hybrid car, and it makes it a lot more manageable for “regular folks” who need time to wrap their heads around a new way of eating. My family made the Meatless Monday pledge and I’ve found those meat free meals so tasty that they’re just leaking out into other days of the week, too! Like the tortoise and the hare, sometimes slow and steady is the best way to win the race, or to accomplish a goal like going veg, or to get others over to that way of thinking and living.

    And to answer Travis, a couple of comments ahead of mine, YES, I happen to like the taste of meat (although I wouldn’t say addicted, but I’m sorry, I grew up eating meat it’s a familiar taste I enjoy), and YES, there is an element of laziness, although that’s not exactly the right word, either. I have a lot going on in my life and it’s easy to fall back on the quick and easy meat-based meals. I know the recipes by heart, I can purchase the ingredients without consulting a list, and I can whip them up with a minimum of fuss. Trying to find new recipes my family will eat, regardless of their inclusion or exclusion of animal products, is a HUGE deal. We’re all super picky eaters and have a hard time adjusting to new foods, so even when I’m actively looking for new recipes I can only introduce about one per week. If we went “cold turkey” (pardon the pun) on meat I think my kids would starve! Or I would. I’m trying, though, in my own, plodding, one step at a time way. (Hey, I even went to a Vegan Raw Foods un-cooking class recently, so I’m seeking out opportunities to learn more about meat free meals whenever I can. I wish I could find more cooking lessons like that one. Speaking of which, I wish Food Network would put a vegetarian/vegan cooking show on the air.)

  • Claudia

    Suzy,

    Yes, I have noticed my “canine teeth”. Pretty wimpy. And they’re basically useless on a steak (which I don’t eat, btw) without a knife and fork. Nature’s true carnivores don’t need the help of utensils, meat tenderizers, or marinades. They do it themselves with 5 inch long flesh-tearing claws and these:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/docbert/444896493/

    Mine look nothing like those. Do yours?

    We are not carnivores.

  • harlowethrombey

    Al Gore tells everyone what they want to here. When he’s with Stephen Gaskin on the Farm in TN, he’s a Buddhist freethinker in favor of legalizing marijuana. When he’s with Pastor Fred Phelps of Topeka, he’s suddenly a right-wing Christian who favors protecting straights from the gays and banning porn. When he’s with the gay rights groups, he’s suddenly a pro-gay advocate. When he’s with Moby, he’s pro-vegetarian. When he’s with his friends from Occidental, he’s suddenly a meat connoisseur.

    Although I’d vote Gore in a heartbeat over shadow-personalities like Bush, I still am not very fond of Gore, for the way he always pretends to agree with whomever he is with.

    He did a great job as Vice-President, however.

  • Brian

    Mmmmm…As a type-o blood type…I am ideally designed to eat meat…why the fuck am I going to go against my nature

  • Joe O’Bobson

    UGH!!! This is terrible. As a veggie, it’s high time vegetarians stop trying to convert the masses by talking about the suffering of animals. This is to me as silly as centering the the legalization of marijuana debate around cancer patients. The central issue should be the reason it’s illegal, which is the same reason it should be legal: economics. Everything else is distraction.

    Again, I’m veg, and I believe in the inherent dignity of life, which is but part of why I don’t eat meat. Arguing this point to meat-eaters is like explaining aerodynamics to people who have never seen flight: while you may be able to explain the concept well, without seeing it most people cannot make the logical leap. There’s plenty of reason not to make the ethical leap on eating animals, it calls into question the pervasive violence in our society. But it’s DIVORCED from the reason and rationale for a vegetarian society.

    That rationale is simply that we are producing meat in an environmentally and economically unconscionable way! It is bad for humans, who cares about the sad-faced cows? We need to stop subsidizing these industries, and make it clear that people consuming meat that was not produced in a soil-positive, carbon-sequestering, ecologically sound manner is wrong, as in bad for humans. We’re making our worst diseases in factory farms, diseases humans get that are then resistant to antibiotics.

    STOP arguing for the animals, such sermons are lost on even the choir. Preach about the direct effect on humans and the environment, and maybe some will switch their diets, and THEN some might make that ethical leap.

  • http://personalwebguide.com/ Travis

    In response to what Kim said — I have all the more respect for people trying to become better informed about vegetarianism or reduce their meat-intake.

    Especially having to cook for an entire family that eats meat, making the switch overnight is certainly hard, as the impacts are going to not only hit you, but your family as well. I can revel in your pain a bit, as I too have had to make meals for families that were omnivorous, and even HINTING that it it’s a veggie meal seems to send some people into a tailspin.

    And while I’ve never heard of the meatless monday society, I think they represent a good thing. If people can learn to go one day a week without meat, that’ll certainly pave the way for a lifetime without meat.

  • Emma

    There are many people who say they are “phasing out” meat or try to “limit” the amount of meat they consume. But there is a big difference between a “occasional” vegetarian and a vegan. Cutting back on meat may help your health, save a few furry or feathered animals and help the environment, but unless you go truly animal-free, vegans consider you a part of the problem at best or a real enemy at worst. I am more concerned with the treatment of my fellow humans than I am with some barnyard fowl.

  • http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9FD18926170ED901&search_query=earthlings Whoever…

    Suzy,

    “Christ, you people are obnoxious. [...] veg*an probably the most annoying word configuration I have ever seen”

    You’re the obnoxious one!

    You obviously also don’t know much about computers – * means it substitutes several letters in a word; this way we include both veg(etari)ans and veg()ans in this simple form of abbreviation. Get it?
    It’s not so different from lol, fyo, btw, etc.

    Regarding your ridiculous comment “Eating meat and the protein it supplied is what allowed us to develop these big ol’ brains”, it only shows your lack of information and knowledge about the issue. In case you don’t know, it’s certain vegetables that are the richest source of protein, not meat! How about that?

    You’re just one more arrogant animal eater who thinks has the right to point the finger at people (VEG*ANS) who are only doing their best not to hurt any living creature or the environment.

    If you don’t want to contribute to a better world it’s your problem, but do us a favour and get out of the way and let us do our best to change things for the better, okay?

    “but unless you go truly animal-free, vegans consider you a part of the problem at best or a real enemy at worst.”

    That’s not true and instead of pointing your finger at veg*ans, maybe you should read many of the comments made by veg*ans on Ecorazzi supporting people who are trying to cut back on meat… They prove you wrong.

    “I am more concerned with the treatment of my fellow humans than I am with some barnyard fowl.”

    That’s the big difference between most veg*ans and the majority of animal eaters – while you (allegedly) care about humans, we care about both humans and non-humans…

  • foldered

    the other issue is that by saying we should give up animal products, he is putting an industry to blame. by supporting hybrid cars he is supporting an industry while, surely according to him, bettering the environment.

    he probably has a mad paycheck from hybrid car companies. D:

    anyway, i think there’s something wrong with it. i happen to not eat meat for many reasons, environmental impact being one of them.

  • Emma

    To Whoever: You say you care about humans and “non-humans” (I assume you mean animals as a cockroach and rat is non-human). I have never met an animal lover, vegan, or vegetarian who cared about humans as much as they do animals. Never. They are always partial to animals over humans. If you really cared about people you would respect their wish to eat animals to preserve the life of their families as billions of poor people around the world have to do. Your problem is that your love for animals is so extreme it takes precedence over your love for people. You say I “allegedly care about humans”. That means you would rather die and see your family die than eat animal flesh. If I needed to feed my starving “allegedly human children” I would slaughter the family cat and roast it to keep them alive. I wouldn’t like doing it, but no animal of the face of this earth is worth one hair on the head of my children or any other human being. Let things get bad enough and you get hungry enough and you would eat anything you could get your hands on, too. I’ve lived where children eat out of dumpsters. It cost a fortune to be a true vegan in the U.S. Only the wealthy can afford to do even attempt it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9FD18926170ED901&search_query=earthlings Whoever…

    Emma, I’m sorry but I must say that you’ve been very well indoctrinated (as most humans have)…

    “If you really cared about people you would respect their wish to eat animals to preserve the life of their families as billions of poor people around the world have to do.”

    Since when do you have to eat animals to survive? I’m a vegetarian and I’ve never starved because of it! That’s preposterous!
    Besides, your comment shows a huge lack of knowledge about real poverty – since when do poor people have the money to buy meat? They eat mostly vegetables… Meat is a luxury to them!!

    You’re clearly an American. You have no idea what’s happening around the world – yes, there is a world outside the USA.

    “That means you would rather die and see your family die than eat animal flesh.”

    Did I say that? If you don’t understand what people write, it’s your problem but please do not put words where I didn’t write them, okay?

    “If I needed to feed my starving “allegedly human children” I would slaughter the family cat and roast it to keep them alive.”

    You’re creating an extreme situation to which I reply to you with one question: would you be capable of killing a perfect stranger in order to feed your “allegedly human children”?

    “no animal of the face of this earth is worth one hair on the head of my children ”

    We too are animals – you do know that, don’t you? So, again, does that comment mean you would be capable of killing another human being to save your children? If the answer is yes, then what you wrote – “They are always partial to animals over humans.” – coming from you doesn’t make much sense does it?

    “It cost a fortune to be a true vegan in the U.S.”

    That’s not true. I live in a country where the cost of life is higher than in the US and one doesn’t have to be wealthy to be a true vegan; on the contrary!
    And from many comments I’ve read on Ecorazzi made by US veg*ans, it’s not that expensive to have a veg*an diet.

    You know, most veg*ans don’t want to force people to become veg*ans (although we wish one day that would be a reality) but we do want animals to be treated with respect and not used, abused, tortured and killed in horrible ways to ‘our’ benefit.

    If you truly want to understand what I’m ‘saying’ and understand our point of view, please click on my nickname and watch the documentary ‘Earthlings’ on You Tube. It’s very intense but it will open your eyes to the real truth about the animal industry and what ‘your’ beloved humans are capable of.

    As someone very wise once said: “You can see the level of evolution of a people by the way it treats ‘its’ animals.”

    Oh, and please do not interpret my comment as a personal attack or anything like that.

    I just don’t like it when people who have very little knowledge regarding one issue, so easily point their fingers at those who do and who are only trying to make this planet a better place for all of us – including your children!!

  • Jules

    Whoever….Don’t knock/pick on Americans. It’s actually pretty arrogant and speciecist of you to do so. I am an American, vegan, and well educated on all the topics, including the environment, poverty, etc. Your insults actually set the vegan movement back about 30 years instead of helping the animals. Chill out and take a breather next time…haven’t you ever heard of “get ‘em with kindness” before? Your unfriendly rants don’t really help…some people just really don’t know the facts and that’s your chance to educate them…don’t miss the opportunity.

  • hil

    The cost and ease of being a Vegan in America is largely dependent on where in America you live. Where I live now (Seattle) it is very easy and cost effective to be a vegan. There are plenty of vegan restaurants as well as a plethora of farmers markets to buy locally as well as specialty shops that cater to the vegan lifestyle. Where I grew up in Indiana is entirely different. If you wanted to fight traffic and go to Chicago to purchase your food then sure you could be vegan. But most people there could not justify the added expense of driving 45 minutes to an hour to the city to get their variety of veggie proteins. In fact many of the people I know that tried to become vegetarian or vegan in that area suffered from mouth sores from vitamin B deficiencies and anemia because there simply was not enough variety of vegetables and plant based proteins available at the local grocery store to support their lifestyle. This is changing as meat substitutes become more mainstream, and becoming vegetarian is a little easier, as long as you never eat in restaurants. However, I feel that it is still a challenge to get the type of variety of foods that is needed to be healthy whatever your diet is in a large part of the US. As mental models change so does the availability of these foods, but this is a slow process where insults do not help.

  • Zargon

    I am a meat eater. I have tried not eating meat and I would equate it to an addiction. Sure its physically possible to go without it, but eventually the craving for it is so strong that I almost feel a need to slaughter an animal myself. And I did, in fact, do just that. And it was delicious.
    Eventual change in the lifestyles of humans is possible, but unless the government actually did the unthinkable and outlawed butcher shops, people will always eat meat.

  • Jesse

    So, here I am muddling through all of this and I can’t help but keep noticing that most of the vegans sound like they’re enticing you to join them, which I guess is the aim. Everyone seems to have some inspirational story about how they came to be a vegan and will share it with you instantly because they want everyone else to become vegan too. That’s not a dietary choice, though. It functions more like a religion and, well, the problem with religion tends to be certainty of truth. Everyone would like to think they have certainty of truth, which is the draw to various religions and lifestyles, but please, make it a personal matter. I understand that in order to realize your vision of the world you need to have others who share that vision, but to do it in such a negative way leaves you behind your idea and not embracing it. Whenever somebody says:

    “But now that I’m a vegetarian, I feel so much better (on all levels), and believe me I love the sun”

    I can’t help but feel like I’m being sold the finest snake oil money can buy.

  • http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9FD18926170ED901&search_query=earthlings Whoever…

    Jules,

    I’m sorry if I personally offended you. That was not my intention and for that I apologise. I know better than to generalise…
    However, your country’s attitude (and thus the majority of its people) towards the rest of the world has been, for a long time, nothing but arrogant and imperialistic. I sincerely hope this will change with your new president.

    “some people just really don’t know the facts and that’s your chance to educate them”

    Actually many people don’t want to know the facts because that would shatter the illusion they are living. But you’re right. And sometimes I do lose my temper a little bit…

    “Whenever somebody says:
    “But now that I’m a vegetarian, I feel so much better (on all levels), and believe me I love the sun”
    I can’t help but feel like I’m being sold the finest snake oil money can buy.”

    I’m not trying to sell anything and if you had carefully read Christy’s comment and mine, you wouldn’t have written such a nonsense!

  • Brooster

    I love the taste of bacon first thing in the morning! I love the taste of a big, juicy steak at night!

    Hell I love meat balls and chops and tongue and I’d even give haggis a try!

    I’ve had the game of Africa and Australia and eaten a bit of Frenchy horse made pie.

    But truly oh truly after reading all those comments I’d really love to taste a self-righteous Vegan thigh!

    Now, now don’t be all concerned. I knowed it’s against the Law. So don’t go getting Hippie eyed with me.

    Get the laws changed to a Vegan majority and then the cows can sip tea and dream of human mastery!

  • Stephan R. Hanna

    I gave up meat in 1993 for the last time. I did one more thing people seem to be unwilling to commit to though. I vowed never to procreate. With over 6 billion people in the world, most of them meat eaters, I think any contribution on my part would be quite unnecessary. I only wish more people would see it that way.

  • eoin

    we all give up meat and the economy is also fucked

  • Jeffrey Thomas Moss

    Eating animals immoral?Not sure.Factory farming very immoral,thats for sure.Vegan diet healthier?Not sure.Ethically correct FOR SURE!
    Dont eat tortured aniamls fools!!!!

  • Emma

    To Whoever: Man,are you from another planet! Your comment that poor people only eat fruits and veggies shows just how far removed from real life you and your ilk are. Poor people in the U.S. can’t afford fruits and veggies from the supermarkets and don’t have access to farmer’s markets, which are out in the ‘burbs where the rich live and shop. Read The Grapes of Wrath. It is cheaper for the poor to buy a five dollar chicken than a five dollar bunch of asparagus. A three dollar pack of hot dogs fills the poor up more than a three dollar pack of strawberries. An order of vegan sushi is seven dollars, a meal at Mickey D’s five. You claim my examples of true hunger are extreme but hunger like that it is all over the world. Believe it or not, some people do have to kill humans to feed their families! My point-being a vegan is a personal choice of yours that you are able to pull off because of your particular circumstances. Lose your job, home, health insurance, car, support system, etc. and see how fast you scarf down a hot dog or hamburger in a soup kitchen, buddy. I’ve seen former bleeding hearts like you in the line many times. Being a vegetarian or vegan in the U.S. is a luxury, a lifestyle choice usually made by wealthy people. You see it as “giving up” something so you think it’s easy to do. But the ordinary under-employed, under-educated working stiffs who live in poor neighborhoods, ghettos, or towns have to eat what is available where they live. Give the economy a bit more time and you’ll see what I mean. I am leaving this site now-I have a life.

  • Wm. Rhett Baker

    Wake Up Vegans! We all know Al Gore is a hypocrite. The question is who is he working for and what is Their Real Agenda? Follow the $$$$$$$$$$. Global Warming the is the result of extensive overgrazing livestock producing methane gas.

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  • http://tryveg.com Louche

    “Almost impossible.” What on earth does that mean? It’s difficult, obviously. Is that a reason to give up on something so imperative? Al Gore obviously thinks it’s impossible to get himself to go vegan, so of course he’s going to say it’s impossible to get others to do so. Start with yourself before you start calling others “impossible.” I’ve been vegan for a little over a year… before that, I said, “I could never be vegan.” And before that I said, “I could never be vegetarian.” Then, of course, after the transition impossibility suddenly became possibility and no turning back. People tell me all the time, “I could never do that. I could never give up cheese. I could never give up chicken.” In my head I think “So what?” I tell them, “I said the same thing.” Once you’re on that track, it just becomes a habit and no turning back, at least if you’re determined. But if you sit there and say, “I can’t do it,” then of course you can’t do it because you don’t even believe in it. When people need to lose weight, do they sit around saying, “I can’t lose weight?” or do they say, “I need to lose weight. It’s hard, but I need to lose weight!” Eh? Now, losing weight is a more personal issue than going vegan and so has to be tackled more personally, but even that could be addressed more publicly than it has been. And it should be. These are public, not just personal, issues we are talking about.

  • http://pursuinghealthblog.com Robin

    It seems to me that Al Gore says “Getting people to give up animal products is next to impossible” because he loves eating meat himself. All you need to do is take one look at him and know that he loves to eat meat.

    He should work with a chef as Oprah has with Tal Ronnen and make an effort to reduce his and his family’s consumption of meat. After all, people look up to him. He needs to set an example. If he at least tried, others might follow his example.

    Fifty years ago people would have said that asking people to give up smoking or drinking and driving would be next to impossible. Social attitudes change and, heck, this is a matter of planetary survival!

  • http://www.pursuinghealth.com Robin Ives

    “Getting people to give up meat is next to impossible” is a pretty feeble response, if you ask me.

    Fifty years ago people would have had the same response re: giving up cigarette smoking or drinking and driving.

    So many people look to Al Gore for leadership. If he would only try to give up animal foods, others would follow.

    • http://www.veganjapan.net herwin

      i so completely agree with you. :-) he doesnt have to become a hard core 24-7 vegan, just a small effort about eating less meat would be a good step and good example for others.