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Judaism, Vegetarianism, and the Environment

This posting is from the 2001 3rd edition of my book, “Judaism and Vegetarianism.” The complete text of the book can be freely read online, along with my over 250 related articles at www.JewishVeg.org/schwartz .

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THERE ARE MANY FUNDAMENTAL TORAH PRINCIPLES that express and make concrete the biblical concept: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalms 24:1).

1. People are to be co-workers with God in helping to preserve and improve the world.

The Talmudic sages assert that the role of humanity is to enhance the world as “co-partners of God in the work of creation.”1 There is a midrash that beautifully expresses the idea that God needs people to help tend the world:

In the hour when the Holy one, blessed be He, created the first human being, He took him and let him pass before all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him: “See my works, how fine and excellent they are!
Now all that I have created, for you have I created them. Think upon this and do not corrupt and desolate My World, For if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it right after you.”2

The Psalmist also expresses the idea that God, the Creator, treats every person as a partner in the work of creation:

When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your hands, The moon and work which you have established,
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You do care for him?
Yet You have made him little less than God, and do crown him with glory and honour.

You have given him dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet….(Psalms 8:4–7)

The Talmudic sages indicate great concern about preserving the environment and preventing pollution. They state: “It is forbidden to live in a town which has no garden or greenery.”3 Threshing floors were to be placed far enough from a town so that the town would not be polluted by chaff carried by winds.4 Tanneries are to be kept at least fifty cubits (a cubit is about half a meter) from a town and are to be placed only on the east side of a town, so that odors and pollution would not be carried toward the town by the prevailing winds from the west.5

2. Everything belongs to God. We are to be stewards of the earth, to see that its produce is available for all God’s children.

There seems to be a contradiction between two verses in the Psalms: “The earth is the Lord’s” (Psalms 24:1) and “The heavens are the heavens of God, but the earth He has given to human beings” (Psalms 115:16). The apparent discrepancy is cleared up in the following way: Before a person says a bracha (a blessing), before he acknowledges God’s ownership of the land and its products, then “the earth is the Lord’s”; after a person has said a bracha, acknowledging God’s ownership and that we are stewards to see that God’s works are properly used and shared, then “the earth He has given to human beings.”6

Property is a sacred trust given by God; it must be used to fulfill God’s purposes. No person has absolute or exclusive control over his or her possessions. The concept that people have custodial care of the earth, as opposed to ownership, is illustrated by the following ancient Jewish story:

Two men were fighting over a piece of land. Each claimed ownership and bolstered his claim with apparent proof. To resolve their differences, they agreed to put the case before the rabbi. The rabbi listened but could come to no decision because both seemed to be right. Finally he said, “Since I cannot decide to whom this land belongs, let us ask the land.” He put his ear to the ground and, after a moment, straightened up. “Gentlemen, the land says it belongs to neither of you, but that you belong to it.”7

As indicated previously, even the produce of the field does not belong solely to the person who farms the land. The poor are entitled to a portion:

And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corner of your field, neither shall you gather the gleaning of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, neither shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger; I am the Lord, your God. (Leviticus 19:9–10)

These portions set aside for the poor were not voluntary contributions based on kindness. They were, in essence, a regular divine assessment. Because God is the real owner of the land, He claims a share of His own gifts for the poor.

As a reminder that “the earth is the Lord’s,” the land must be permitted to rest and lie fallow every seven years (the Sabbatical Year):

And six years you shall sow your land, and gather in the increase thereof, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lay fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the animals of the field shall eat. In like manner you shall deal with your vineyard, and with your olive yard. (Exodus 23:10–11)

The Sabbatical Year also has ecological benefits. The land was given a chance to rest and renew its fertility.

Judaism asserts that there is one God who created the entire earth as a unit, in ecological balance, and that everything is connected to everything else. This idea is expressed beautifully in Psalm 104:

…You [God] are the One Who sends forth springs into brooks, that they may run between mountains, to give drink to every animal of the fields; the creatures of the forest quench their thirst. Beside them dwell the fowl of the heavens;… You water the mountains from Your upper chambers,… You cause the grass to spring up for the cattle, and herb, for the service of humans, to bring forth bread from the earth…. How manifold are your works, O Lord! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your property….

3. We are not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value.

This prohibition, called bal tashchit, is based on the following Torah statement:

When you besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy (lo tashchit) the trees thereof by wielding an ax against them; for you may eat of them but you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged by you? Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, them you may destroy and cut down, that you may build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it fall. (Deuteronomy 20:19–20)

This prohibition against destroying fruit-bearing trees in time of warfare was extended by the sages. It is forbidden to cut down even a barren tree or to waste anything if no useful purpose is accomplished.8 The Talmud makes a general prohibition against waste: “Whoever breaks vessels or tears garments, or destroys a building, or clogs up a fountain, or destroys food violates the prohibition of bal tashchit.”9 In summary, bal tashchit prohibits the destruction, complete or incomplete, direct or indirect, of all objects of potential benefit to people. The seriousness with which the rabbis consider the violation of bal tashchit is illustrated by the following Talmudic statements:

The sage Rabbi Hanina attributed the early death of his son to the fact that the boy had chopped down a fig tree.10

Jews should be taught when very young that it is a sin to waste even small amounts of food.11

Rav Zutra taught: “One who covers an oil lamp or uncovers a naptha lamp transgresses the prohibition of bal tashchit [because it causes the fuel to burn more wastefully].”12

Rabbi Hirsch says that bal tashchit is the first and most general call of God: We are to “regard things as God’s property and use them with a sense of responsibility for wise human purposes. Destroy nothing! Waste nothing!”13 He states that destruction includes using more things (or things of greater value) than is necessary to obtain one’s aim.14 The following midrash is related to this concept:

Two men entered a shop. One ate coarse bread and vegetables, while the other ate fine bread, fat meat, and drank old wine. The one who ate fine food suffered harm, while the one who had coarse food escaped harm. Observe how simply animals live and how healthy they are as a result.15

Ecology in Jewish History and Prayers

Much of early Jewish history is closely related to the natural environment. The Patriarchs and their descendants were shepherds. Their work led them into many types of natural settings, including mountains, prairies, wilderness, and deserts. They developed a love and appreciation of natural wonders and beauty. According to Charles W. Eliot, “No race has ever surpassed the Jewish descriptions of either the beauties or the terrors of the nature which environs man.”16 The greatest prophet, Moses, while a shepherd, learned many things about nature that were useful in leading the Israelites in the desert. The Ten Commandments and the Torah were revealed to the Jews at Mount Sinai, in a natural setting. The forty years of wandering in the wilderness trained Israel in the appreciation of natural beauty.

Jews have often pictured God through His handiwork in nature. Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, when marveling at the heavenly bodies, intuited that there must be a Creator of these wonders. The prophet Isaiah exclaims:

Lift up your eyes on high,
And see: Who has created these?
He that brings out their host by numbers,
He calls them all by name;
By the greatness of His might, for He is strong in power, Not one fails. (Isaiah 40:26)

Many Jewish prayers extol God for His wondrous creations. In the morning, religious Jews say the following prayer to thank God for the new day:

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe. Who forms light and creates darkness,
Who makes peace and creates all things.
Who in mercy gives light to the earth

And to them who dwell thereon,
And in Your goodness renews the creation Every day continually.
How manifold are Your works, O Lord!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions….
Be blessed, O Lord our God,
For the excellency of Your handiwork, And for the bright luminaries
Which You have made:
They shall glorify You forever.

 

At the Sabbath morning services, the following prayer is recited: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalms 19:2).

The sensitivity of the Torah to environmental cleanliness is illustrated by the following law, which commands disposal of sewage, even in wartime, by burial in the ground, not by dumping into rivers or littering the countryside:

You shall have a place outside the camp, when you shall go forth abroad. And you shall have a spade among your weapons; and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig therewith, and shall turn back and cover that which comes from you. (Deuteronomy 23:13–14)

The preservation of the land of Israel has been a central theme in Judaism. The three pilgrimage festivals (Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot) are agricultural as well as spiritual celebrations. Jews pray for dew and rain in their proper time so that there will be abundant harvests in Israel. Jewish tradition prohibits abuse of natural resources and the environment.

Ecological Problems Related to Current Livestock Agriculture

Unfortunately, the wisdom of bal tashchit is seldom applied today. Our society is based on waste, on buying, using, and throwing away. Advertisements constantly try to make us feel guilty if we do not have the newest gadgets and the latest styles of clothing. Every national holiday in the United States has become an orgy of consumption.

Our animal-centered diets are extremely wasteful:

1. As stated in the previous chapter, the average person in the United States eats over five times as much grain (mostly in the form of animal products) as a person in an undeveloped country, it takes about nine pounds of grain and soybeans to produce one pound of feedlot beef for our plates, and over seventy percent of the grain grown in the United States is fed to farm animals. Perhaps the modern counterpart of destroying fruit-bearing trees is taking grain which could feed starving people and feeding it to animals.

2. About 800 million acres (forty percent of U.S. land area) is devoted to livestock grazing, and an additional sixty million acres is used to grow grain for feeding livestock.17 As indicated in the last chapter, land growing potatoes, rice, and other vegetables can support about twenty times as many people as land producing grain-fed beef.

3. The standard diet of a person in the United States requires 4,200 gallons of water per day (for animals’ drinking water, irrigation of crops, processing, washing, cooking, etc.).18 A person on a vegan diet requires only 300 gallons a day.19

4. Animal agriculture is the major consumer of water in the U.S. According to Norman Myers, author of Gaia: An Atlas of Planet Management, irrigation, primarily to grow crops for animals, uses over eighty percent of U.S. water.20 Almost ninety percent of the fresh water consumed annually in the U.S. goes to agriculture, according to agronomist David Pimentel.21 The production of only one pound of edible beef in a semi-arid area such as California requires as much as 5,200 gallons of water, as contrasted with only twenty-five gallons or less to produce an edible pound of tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, or wheat.22 Newsweek reported in 1988 that “the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a (Naval) destroyer.”23

5. A non-vegetarian diet wastes much energy. In the United States, an average of ten calories of fuel energy are required for every calorie of food energy obtained; in many other countries, they consume twenty or more calories of food energy per calorie of fuel energy.24 To produce one pound of steak (500 calories of food energy) requires 20,000 calories of fossil fuels, most of which is expended for feed crops.25 It requires seventy-eight calories of fossil fuel for each calorie of protein obtained from feedlot- produced beef, but only two calories of fossil fuel to produce a calorie of protein from soybeans.26 Grains and beans require only two to five percent as much fossil fuel as beef.27 The energy needed to produce a pound of grain-fed beef is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline.28

6. According to a comprehensive study sponsored by the U.S. departments of Interior and Commerce, the value of raw materials consumed to produce food from livestock is greater than the value of all oil, gas, and coal produced in this country.29 One third of the value of all raw materials consumed in the U.S. for all purposes is consumed in livestock foods.30 As these facts indicate, a vegetarian diet is far less wasteful than an animal-centered diet and is therefore much more consistent with the principle of bal tashchit.

Modern agricultural methods related to meat production are a prime cause of the environmental crises facing the United States and much of the world today.

1. The tremendous quantity of grains grown to feed animals requires extensive use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Air and water pollution is caused by the production and use of these products. Various constituents of fertilizer, particularly nitrogen, are washed into surface waters. High levels of nitrates in drinking water have caused illnesses for people as well as animals. According to Norman Myers’ Gaia, fertilizers and pesticides are responsible for over half of U. S. water pollution.31

2. Mountains of manure produced by cattle raised in feedlots wash into and pollute streams, rivers, and underground water sources. U.S. livestock produce an astounding 1.4 billion tons of wet manure per year (this amount works out to 89,000 pounds per second!), or about 130 times that of the U.S. human population.32 Food geographer Georg Borgstrom estimates that American livestock contribute five times more organic waste to water pollution than do people, and twice as much as does industry.33

3. According to mathematician Robin Hur, nearly six billion of the seven billion tons of eroded soil in the United States is directly due to cattle and feedlot production.34 David Pimentel has indicated that about ninety percent of U.S. cropland is losing soil at a rate at least thirteen times faster than the sustainable rate.35 William Brune, a former Iowa State conservation official, has warned that two bushels of topsoil are being lost for every bushel of corn harvested in Iowa’s sloping soils.36 Lower yields are occurring in many areas due to erosion and the reduction in fertility that it causes.37

4. Grazing animals have destroyed large areas of land throughout the world. Overgrazing has been a prime cause of erosion in various parts of the world throughout history. Over sixty percent of all U.S. range lands are overgrazed, with billions of tons of soil lost every year.38 Cattle production is a prime contributor to all the causes of desertification: overgrazing of livestock, over-cultivation of land, improper irrigation techniques, deforestation, and prevention of reforestation.

5. The huge amounts of grain grown to feed animals require increasing amounts of pesticides. The amount of these synthetic poisons has increased by 400 percent since 1962 when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, the book that so eloquently sounded the alarm about the dangers of pesticides to our health, to rivers, and wildlife.39 Also, in a “circle of poison,” pesticides banned or heavily restricted in the U.S. are legally exported to poor countries where they are sometimes used on foods imported into the U.S. Due to the increased biological accumulation of pesticides in the body fat of animals through movement up the food chain, people eating meat and other animal products ingest large amounts of pesticides.

6. In the U.S., more plant species have been eliminated due to overgrazing by livestock than through any other cause.40

7. Demand for meat in wealthy countries leads to environmental damage in poor countries. Largely to lower by a few pennies the price of a fast-food hamburger exported to the U.S., the earth’s tropical rain forests are being bulldozed at a rate of a football field per second.41 Each imported quarter-pound fast-food hamburger patty requires the destruction of fifty- five square feet of tropical forest for grazing.42 Half of the rain forests are already gone forever and, at current rates of destruction, the rest will be gone by the middle of the next century. What makes this especially serious is that half of the world’s species of plants and animals reside in tropical rain forests, some of which might hold secrets for cures of some of today’s deadly diseases, such as cancer and AIDS; others might prove to be good sources of food. Also, the destruction of the rain forests is altering climate and reducing rainfall, with potentially devastating effects on the world’s agriculture.

8. Current livestock agriculture and the consumption of meat contribute significantly to the four major chemical compounds associated with potential global warming: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, and chlorofluorocarbons. The burning of tropical forests to create pastureland and land to grow feed crops releases tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while eliminating trees which formerly were absorbing carbon dioxide. Also, the highly mechanized agricultural sector uses a significant amount of fossil fuel for energy and to produce pesticides, chemical fertilizer, and other agricultural resources. This also contributes to carbon dioxide emissions. Cattle emit methane as part of their digestive processes, as do termites who feast on the charred remains of trees. The large amounts of petrochemical fertilizers used to produce feed crops for grain-fed animals create significant amounts of nitrous oxides. Also, the increased refrigeration necessary to prevent animal products from spoiling adds chlorofluorocarbons to the atmosphere.

Global climate change is arguably the most critical problem the world will face in the coming decades. It threatens the destruction of our civilization and the survival of humanity. There is a growing scientific consensus that we are already experiencing the effects of global warming, and that human actions are playing a significant role.43 Global average temperatures have increased about one degree Fahrenheit since 1900. The warmest decade in recorded history is the 1990s. The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1983, with seven of them since 1990. In 1998, global temperatures were the warmest in recorded history. A recent report indicated that average temperatures could increase anywhere from two to ten degrees Fahrenheit in the 21st century.

Researchers were uncertain until recently whether human activities contributed to the warming, or whether it reflected natural variations in the earth’s climate. However, in the fall of 1995, scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the authoritative international group charged with studying this issue, concluded that the observed global temperature increase during the last century “is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin” and that “the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on human climate.” These conclusions are in the panel’s Second Assessment Report, a document that received contributions and peer review from over 2,500 of the world’s leading climate scientists, economists, and risk analysis experts.

The main cause of this global warming has been the increase in atmospheric concentrations of heat trapping gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, and chlorofluorocarbons. These gases act as a “greenhouse” trapping heat radiated out from the earth. While a certain amount of these gases is natural and necessary to retain the right amount of the sun’s energy to support life on earth, current excessive amounts cause more heat to be trapped, and this raises the earth’s temperature. A world map that showed eighty-nine “Global Warming Early Warning Signs” was produced in 1999 by seven environmental groups, including the “Union of Concerned Scientists” (www.climatehotmap.org). The groups conclude that “the earth is heating up.” They group the “early warning signs” into ten categories:

1. Heat waves and periods of unusually warm weather (frequent and severe heat waves lead to increases in heat related illness and death, especially in urban areas, and among the ill, the poor, the elderly, and the young).

2. Spreading disease (warmer temperatures allow disease-transmitting mosquitoes to extend their ranges).

3. Earlier spring arrival (this may disrupt animal migrations, alter competitive balances among species, and cause additional unforeseen problems).

4. Plant and animal range shifts and population declines (this can hasten extinctions).

5. Sea level rise and coastal flooding; global sea level has risen four to ten inches in the past 100 years and may rise an additional half a foot to three feet during the next 100 years, causing major losses of coastal areas.

6. Coral reef bleaching; reefs in thirty-two countries experienced major bleaching in 1997–98, and continued bleaching due to warmer sea temperatures and other factors is likely. Since these are the richest environmental communities on earth (except for some tropical rain forest areas), this can have a major negative impact on aquatic life.

7. Glaciers melting (over the past 150 years, the majority of monitored mountain glaciers have been shrinking and many at low altitudes are disappearing. Continued shrinkage could disrupt an important source of water).

8. Arctic and Antarctic warming (as parts of Canada, Alaska, Siberia, and Antarctica have been experiencing warming well above the global average for the past few decades, melting permafrost requires the reconstruction of buildings, roads, and airports, and is increasing soil erosion and the frequency of landslides).

9. Downpours, heavy snowfalls, and flooding (heavy rainfall and other types of storms have been more frequent recently and this has substantially increased storm damage. It is significant that U.S. insurance companies have become major advocates of efforts to reduce global warming because of major payments they have had to make due to recent severe storms and flooding).

10. Droughts and fires (as temperatures increase, droughts have become more frequent and severe in many areas). In the summer of 2000, forest fires burned out of control for weeks throughout the western U.S. and destroyed six million acres.

When we consider all of the above negative environmental and climate-change effects, and then add the very harmful effects of animal- based diets and agriculture related to human health and global hunger, we can safely say that animal-centered diets and the livestock agriculture needed to sustain them pose tremendous threats to global survival. It is not surprising that the Union of Concerned Scientists ranks the consumption of meat and poultry as the second most harmful consumer activity (surpassed only by the use of cars and trucks).44 Clearly, a shift toward vegetarianism is imperative to move our precious but imperiled planet away from its present catastrophic path. While an increased concern about global warming and other environmental threats is very welcome, the many connections between Western animal-centered diets and these threats are generally overlooked. Jeremy Rifkin eloquently summarizes the very negative effects of animal-based agriculture:

The ever-increasing cattle population is wreaking havoc on the earth’s ecosystems, destroying habitats on six continents. Cattle raising is a primary factor in the destruction of the world’s remaining tropical rain forests. Millions of acres of ancient forests in Central and South America are being felled and cleared to make room for pastureland to graze cattle. Cattle herding is responsible for much of the spreading desertification in the sub- Sahara of Africa and the western rangeland of the United States and Australia. The overgrazing of semiarid and arid lands has left parched and barren deserts on four continents. Organic runoffs from feedlots is now a major source of organic pollution in our nation’s ground water. Cattle are also a major cause of global warming….The devastating environmental, economic, and human toll of maintaining a worldwide cattle complex is little discussed in public policy circles….Yet, cattle production and beef consumption now rank among the gravest threats to the future well-being of the earth and its human population.45

The Vegetarian Imperative

When God created the world, He was able to say it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Everything was in harmony as God had planned: the waters were clean, the air was pure. But what must God think about the world today? What must God think when the rain He provides to nourish our crops is often acidic due to the many chemicals emitted into the air by industries; when the ozone layer is being rapidly depleted; when the abundance of species of plants and animals are becoming extinct at so rapid a rate that we are not even able to catalog them; when the fertile soil is rapidly being depleted and eroded; when the climatic conditions He designed to meet our needs are threatened by global warming?

Today’s environmental threats can be compared in many ways to the biblical ten plagues, which appear in the Torah portions read in the weeks immediately preceding the ecological holiday of Tu B’Shvot. However, today’s plagues are even more devastating:

1. We can easily enumerate ten modern “plagues,” including threats to our land, water, and air; pesticides and other chemical pollutants; resource scarcities; threats to our climate; etc.

2. The Egyptians were subjected to one plague at a time, while the modern plagues are threatening us all at once.

3. The Jews in Goshen were spared most of the biblical plagues, while every person on earth is imperiled by the modern plagues.

4. Instead of an ancient Pharoah’s heart being hardened, our hearts today have been hardened by the greed, materialism, and waste that are at the root of current environmental threats.

5. God brought the biblical plagues to free the Israelites, while today we must apply God’s teachings in order to save ourselves and our endangered planet.

In 1993, over 1,670 scientists, including 104 Nobel laureates—a majority of the living recipients of the prize in the sciences—signed a “World Scientists’ Warning To Humanity.”46 Their introduction stated:

Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.

The scientists’ analysis discussed threats to the atmosphere, water resources, oceans, soil, living species, and forests. Their warning:

We the undersigned, senior members of the world’s scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.

Vegetarianism is an essential component of the changes necessary to reduce global environmental threats. A shift to plant-based diets would greatly simplify agricultural practices and would put far less stress on the environment. Land presently used to grow feed crops could be used to grow food for hungry people and could even be permitted to lay fallow periodically, thus enabling it to restore its fertility. Far fewer chemical fertilizers and pesticides would be necessary. There would be far less demand for scarce water, fuel, and other resources. Giant feedlots, which result in much animal manure washing into streams and rivers, could be converted to more ecologically sound uses. It would no longer be necessary to destroy tropical forests and other habitats in order to create grazing land and to grow feed crops for livestock.

The aims of vegetarians and ecologists are similar: simplify our life styles, have regard for the earth and all forms of life, and thereby apply the knowledge that “the earth is the Lord’s.” In view of the many negative effects that animal-based agriculture has on the earth’s environment, resources, and climate, it is becoming increasingly clear that a shift toward a vegetarian diet is a planetary imperative.


END NOTES

1. Shabbat 10a; Sanhedrin 7.
2. Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28.
3. Kiddushin 4:12, 66d.
4. Mishneh Baba Batra 2:8.
5. Ibid. 2:8–9.
6. Berachot 30:5.
7. Story told by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin in “Biblical Ecology, A Jewish View,” a television documentary, directed by Mitchell Chalek and Jonathan Rosen.
8. Sefer Hachinuch 530.
9. Kiddushin 32a.
10. Baba Kamma 91b.
11. Berachot 52b.
12. Shabbat 67b.
13. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb, Dayan Dr. I. Grunfeld, trans., London: Soncino Press, 1962, Vol. 2, 282 (Section 56, No. 401).
14. Ibid., 280 (Section 56, No. 399).
15. Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah 1:18.
16. Cited by David Miller, The Secret of Happiness, New York: Rabbi David Miller Foundation, 1937, 9.
17. Michael Brower and Warren Leon, The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice From the Union of Concerned Scientists, New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999, 59.
18. Lappé, Diet, 76, based on presentation of agronomist Georg Borgstrom to the Annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1981.
19. “Facts of Vegetarianism,” Booklet of the North American Vegetarian Society (PO Box 72, Dolgeville, NY 13329), 3.
20. Joanne Stepaniak, The Vegan Sourcebook, Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1998, 63.
21. Ibid.
22. Tom Aldridge and Herb Schlubach, “Water Requirements for Food Production,” Soil and Water, No. 38 (Fall, 1978), University of California Cooperative Extension, 13–17; Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Population, Resources, Environment, San Francisco: Freeman, 1972, 75–76.
23. “The Browning of America,” Newsweek, Feb. 22,1981, 26ff, cited in Lappé, Diet, 76.
24. John S. and Carol E. Steinhardt, “Energy Use in the U. S. Food System,” Science (April 19, 1974).
25. Lappé, Diet, 10.
26. Ibid., pp. 74, 75, based on work of Drs. Marcia and David Pimentel at Cornell University.
27. Ibid, 74.
28. Alan B. Durning, “Cost of Beef for Health and Habitat,” Los Angeles Times, September 21, 1986, 3.
29. Raw Material in the United States Economy 1900–1977,” Technical Paper 47, U. S. Department of Commerce, U. S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines, p. 3, cited by Lappé, Diet, 66.
30. Ibid, Table 2, 86.
31. Joanne Stepaniak, The Vegan Sourcebook, Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1998, 64.
32. Ibid, 65. This same source indicates that one agricultural textbook, Modern Livestock and Poultry Production, estimates that at least two billion tons of manure are produced annually on U. S. farms.
33. Georg Borgstrom, The Food and People Dilemma, Duxbury Press, 1973, p. 103, cited by Lappé, Diet, 84.
34. Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef, New York: Dutton, 1992, 203.
35. Stepaniak, The Vegan Sourcebook, 61.
36. Lappé, Diet, 80.
37. Ibid., 81.
38. Keith Akers, A Vegetarian Sourcebook, New York: G. Putnam, 1983, 87; 120–124.
39. Albert Gore Jr., introduction to new edition of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1994, xix.
40. Stepaniak, The Vegan Sourcebook, 62.
41. Pamphlet of RainForest Action Network, 300 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133.
42. Newsweek, Sept. 14, 1987, p.74; Julie Enslow and Christine Padoch, People of the Tropical Rainforest, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988, 169.
43. Extensive coverage of this issue can be found by contacting the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) (www.ucsusa.org). There are increasingly frequent news reports about rising temperatures and climate change-related events, including droughts, severe storms, and melting of glaciers and ice caps.
44. Michael Brower and Warren Leon, The Consumers Guide…, 50.
45. Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef, New York: Dutton, 1992, 1, 2.
46. Union of Concerned Scientists pamphlet (www.ucsusa.org).

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