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LLU Hosts Int’l Congress on Vegetarianism + Why That’s Cool

The Press-Enterprise writes that “The Fifth International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition begins [March 4] with a lecture from a UCLA nutrition expert on how eating broccoli can make up for a genetic flaw that leaves half of us at greater risk of colon and lung cancer and ends Thursday with a discussion of research on how cutting out steak dinners can fight global warming.”

Organizers expect the biggest news for health professionals to come out of Thursday’s 3:50 p.m. discussion of research linking climate change with food production.

Led by Annika Carlsson-Kanyama of Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, Gidon Eshel of the University of Chicago and Loma Linda University’s Hal Marlow, scientists will review evidence suggesting that consumers can do more to fight climate change by foregoing steak dinners than they can by replacing SUVs with hybrid cars.

Scientific research and social events worldwide have accelerated in such a way that this congress will confirm what we anticipated in a session at the last congress, that food choices are probably one of the greatest things we can do on the personal level to improve the climate-change phenomenon,” Sabaté said.

He said plant-based diets reduce the carbon footprint of mealtime by reducing the CO2 and methane emissions generated by raising cattle and the fuel-related pollution involved in refrigerating beef and the soy and corn needed to feed cattle.

Here is the conference site.

This adds to the growing movement within Adventism and the environmental community for making the case for a non-flesh diet. I just spent yesterday in Sonoma County at the MacMurray Ranch with about 25 leaders from TIME, Alcoa, Pratt, GM, Shaklee, UBS, DuPont and some others all talking about how we can create a business climate conducive for making low and zero carbon products as well as reducing their corporate footprint. I can’t share more because I’m under an NDA, but one of the things noted during our conference was that consuming meat accounts for at least 20% of an average American’s carbon footprint. Except for fossil fuels, it’s the highest factor.

With many mainline and evangelical churches running carbon fast campaigns for Lent, the faith climate, and to some degree business (note USCAP), is changing. A lot of serious environmentalists speak about the need to give the earth a rest and with the ethical impact of traditional Adventist health message, if we really got our act together, a new evangelism message for the church could involve joining and growing a green church.

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