To celebrate my birthday, is to be aware that I am one year closer to the grave and to the end of my experience with a world filled with fear, animosity, and violence. The world in which millions of my species are suffering from severe depression, anxiety, heart disease, tumors, cancer and many other chronic diseases. More than one billion children and one billion women worldwide experience physical, emotional, and sexual violence in their life times. War, violence, and persecution leave millions of human refugees, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. Every single day there is a new wave of violence rising from this defected, anxious, testosterone driven world. We cannot escape harming ourselves, and at best, we cling to insignificant glimpses of freedom if not relief to escape feeling. Feeling this self-destructive and polluted world, the birth place of sicker and more senseless generations to come.
Where at least 150 billion animals are slaughtered every year, not including 1 trillion to 2.8 trillion fish we kill a year. Compare this volume against the total number of humans that have ever existed on earth, which is only 107.6 billion. We destroy by the vibrations we create, repeating the mantra of lack of self-esteem, lack of respect, violence, disease, decay and devolution.
Decreased water quality, increased pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, depleted natural resources, and global climate change are the direct result of our activities. The loss of arctic sea ice is, at the very least, 70 percent man-made. Climate change is up to 95 percent human-induced! We are facilitating the extinction of many species that live on our planet. Only 767 of 3,528 mammal populations still exist in Brazil’s Amazon rain-forest, which was once known for its biodiversity. Other species facing extinction include jaguars, lowland tapirs, woolly spider monkeys and giant anteaters. Sixty-seven percent of deaths among whales could be blamed on humans. Coral reefs around the world, which create a habitat for a quarter of marine wildlife, are severely endangered after steady decline over the past few decades. In fact, coral reefs in Southeast Asia could disappear in this century.
Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water and causes immense animal suffering. Livestock production is one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Every second, 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared for grazing livestock or growing animal feed. To support the livestock industry, a small group of “commodity” crops have taken up the majority of the world’s agricultural land. Corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans are planted at unprecedented rate, yet only a small percentage of these crops feed people. Currently, livestock covers 45 percent of the Earth’s total land, which leads to one-third of land becoming desertified, meaning the land is chronically degraded due to lack of nutrients and carbon and water absorption. Up to 137 plant, animal and insect species are lost every day. Within the Amazon rainforest, home for at least 10 percent of the world’s known biodiversity, 91 percent of deforestation is caused by livestock. Industrial agriculture uses 70 percent of the planet's fresh water. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are derived from petroleum and the majority of crops grown with the use of these chemicals are turned into animals feed. Water polluted with agricultural run-off can destroy whole ecosystems and is toxic, if not lethal, to humans and animals alike. Bees, bats, amphibians and other beneficial species are dying off, and their declines are linked to pesticide exposure. Pesticide exposure can increase risks of cancer, autoimmune disease (e.g., diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Parkinson's disease and more, with children being at higher risk. Further, a staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture (livestock and their by-products).
This is what we are doing to ourselves, to each other, to our Earth and to its creatures, its children. How much more greed and craving is going to feed this chronic inflammation and contaminated mind? How long more truth is repressed by the frequencies of fear, self-centeredness and violence we project? To come out of this massive suicidal behavior and destructive cycle, empathy is necessary to combat the worst effects of this descent.