Use Your Feet to Save the Environment
Al Gore is definitely onto something. He can be credited with opening the dialog about how we all must work together to save our planet now. After many years of either ignoring an impending problem or paying lip service to it more than actually acting upon it, now is the time to do something. So, thank you, Al Gore.
There is, however, one minor problem (don’t worry, I’ll get to the shoe connection in a bit (with photos)). He has overlooked, whether deliberately or not, one of the most significant contributors to global warming—meat eating, and the cattle industry in particular (although it really extends to all animal production). According to a study by the United Nations, raising cattle contributes more to global warming than all the cars in the world combined. Yes, you read that right. This is huge and yet Al Gore never (or maybe barely) mentions it. In fact, at the Live Earth concert they even served meat! Whose brilliant idea was that?
Rather than go into all the details, here is the link to read the UN press release yourself.Others are finding the same thing. A study published in the Animal Science Journal (Aug. 2007) reported that most of the emissions are in the form of methane gas released from the animals’ digestive systems (methane is 23 times as warming as CO2). This is not an inconsequential problem. If taken seriously, it will have major impact on most people’s daily life. Because of this, it’s like the elephant in the room-no one is talking about it for fear of actually having to do something about.
How does this all relate to what you wear? Simple. While the meat of cattle, dairy cows, and veal calves (where do you think calfskin comes from?) is eaten, their skins are used to make shoes, boots and handbags among other things. There is no getting around it. Wearing leather contributes directly to the meat industry.
Reducing (or preferably eliminating) animal products in your diet is terrific. Taking it one step further, so to speak, will make an even greater impact on the plight of our environment and the lives of animals raised for food and leather. It is easier than you think. As the demand increases for non-leather shoes and handbags more and more beautiful, cruelty-free choices are popping up. Whether you have already done so or are ready to take a first step or two in that direction, here are a few great options.
(Please note that in a future newsletter I will address the impact of producing leather vs. synthetic shoes and bags, and in another one I might even talk about the reality of compact fluorescent lightbulbs.)
I have a very handbag very similar to the red one above (mine is green). Red is a very hot color this fall so this bag is the perfect addition to your wardrobe. And, I have the shoes on the right in brown. They are incredibly comfortable.
For those of you who are interested, here is a website with more information about cows and leather: www.cowsarecool.com