Comfortably Unaware Book Summary By Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander

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Comfortably Unaware (2012) is a thought-provoking book that has been hailed by environmental experts as a "must-read".

The book delves into the detrimental effects our food preferences have on the planet.

It highlights how livestock farming has led to water and air pollution, unsustainable resource use, and other ecological harm.

The author makes an effort to highlight the global consequences of our dietary choices through detailed investigations and heartfelt stories.

These tales allow readers to identify practical changes for their own lives that lead to improved earth stewardship and responsible animal practices.

Additionally, Comfortably Unaware provides a wealth of information about what can be done both personally and politically to reverse these trends.

All in all, it's an incredible guide - one that teaches readers how food choices can either sustain our planet or quickly destroy it.

Comfortably Unaware Book

Book Name: Comfortably Unaware (What We Choose to Eat is Killing Us and Our Planet)

Author(s): Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 13 Minutes

Categories: Health & Nutrition

Author Bio


Richard A.

Oppenlander is an expert in food choice responsibility and world hunger.

He is a respected consultant, writer, and keynote speaker on these important topics, and has even founded the non-profit organization Inspire Awareness Now.

He has also written the acclaimed book Comfortably Unaware, which offers an eye-opening exploration into how our dietary choices are impacting the environment and contributing to global hunger.

The book provides comprehensive information about the devastating consequences of animal agriculture and encourages readers to make conscious decisions about what they eat for the greater good of everyone around them.

With his extensive knowledge on food systems, Dr.

Oppenlander provides readers with a wealth of insight into this complicated topic.

Why Eating Less Meat Matters: An Exploration Of Global Food Culture And Its Impact On The Environment

Global Food

There are some surprisingly triggers of environmental crisis that many forget to consider.

Comfortably Unaware dives into these causes and provides critical insights into our habits and culture.

The book discusses how global warming, pollution, and sustainability issues stretch far beyond burning fossil fuels.

Our food choices are often overlooked as a major source of greenhouse gases, deforestation and ocean overuse.

For example, cattle ranching can have dire consequences for the environment: its greenhouse gas emissions are extremely potent; it contributes to deforestation through the clearing of forests for grazing; and it impacts water use and soil fertility.

Learning about these triggers in Comfortably Unaware is essential in understanding our current predicament, awareness is key on the path to creating a more sustainable future.

The Food We Eat Is A Major Contributor To Global Depletion And Climate Change

What you eat has a direct impact on global warming and environmental depletion.

Al Gore’s book An Inconvenient Truth already outlined what we need to do in order to combat climate change, but there is an even bigger issue that needs our attention: eating responsibly and sustainable.

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are the biggest contributors to global warming, with about 35 percent, 145 percent and 310 percent increase respectively between 1750 to 2006.

An even more distressing reality is that livestock accounts for 40 percent of human-induced methane – as well as 65 percent of nitrous oxide – making it one of the greatest causes of global warming as well as significant contribution to global depletion.

Global depletion, then, is when we strip away all our renewable and non-renewable resources at ever increasing rates so much so that nature no longer has the time or opportunity needed to restore itself back to it’s original state.

Trees, for example can take up hundreds of years before they reach maturity enough for us to benefit from them again.

Make The Connection: A Cheeseburger Could Have A Devastating Effect On The Planet’S Rainforests

It’s heartbreaking to think that millions of acres of valuable rainforests are destroyed each year, thanks to the meat industry.

According to a study conducted by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), we eat over 70 billion animals each year.

In order to raise those animals, vast amounts of resources like water, land, fossil fuels – and even more food – are needed.

Cattle ranching is one of the prime causes for global depletion, with over 70 percent of the Amazon rainforest being wiped out as a result.

This has caused a drastic reduction in the amount of rainforest land since the 1970s, dropping from 15 percent of our planet to less than 2 percent.

Not only is there a decrease in oxygen coming from these forests, but many plant species and animals are now endangered or extinct due to their loss.

Over 2,000 plants that possess cancer-fighting properties (like vincristine) can be found in the rainforests; according to Leslie Taylor’s book The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs ,70% of all medications used for treating cancer originate from them as well.

We cannot afford to keep destroying our planet’s valuable rainforest ecosystems for cattle ranching if we want our future generations to benefit from what these ecosystems have to offer us.

Stop Raising Animals For Food – It’S Destroying Our Planet

Destroying Our Planet

It’s no secret that food shortages can have devastating effects on communities worldwide.

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case.

By redirecting the grains used to feed livestock towards humans instead, we could reverse global food shortages and help to alleviate world hunger.

In the United States alone, 70 percent of grain is devoted to feeding livestock.

This means that 6 million children who died from starvation in 2009 could have been saved if this grain had been going towards human consumption instead.

Ethiopia is another example of a country where livestock has taken precedence over humans when it comes to grain production.

In 1986, there was a large-scale food shortage in Ethiopia — yet at the same time they were exporting large amounts of grains like rapeseed and linseed!

To foreign nations even!

All for the sake of producing meat and dairy animals.

Apart from this willy-nilly dispersal of resources, there’s also the fact that raising animals causes severe land degradation due to overgrazing or desertification caused by lack of land management.

A shocking 80 percent of available land in the US is dedicated to agriculture which supports animal farming — when it could be alternatively used as recreational putposes, or replanted with edible crops like fruits or vegetables.

This problem is acutely felt in Africa: over 500 million people are affected by this serious environmental issues directly related to meat production.

A Plea To Reduce Meat Consumption To Save Our Precious Water Resources

It’s alarming to think that so much of our fresh water supply is being poorly managed when we use most of it to raise 70 billion livestock annually.

A single pig requires 21 gallons of water while a human only needs 6-8 ounces, and that’s not including the 5,000 gallons of water needed just to produce one pound of meat.

But it’s not just the animals that are drinking all the water – the grains used to feed them also require huge amounts.

Iowa Beef Processors is an example, since they need 600 million gallons of water per year to grow grain alone!

With growing population numbers comes more demand for food, yet we only have access to 2.5 percent of Earth’s freshwater and this small amount is rapidly draining due to agricultural practices and other uses.

We’re headed for disaster if we don’t change our ways as experts expect us to be out of freshwater by 2020 in that current rate!

That does not bode well for future generations who will have no access to clean drinking water when our current resources are gone forever.

The Devastating Impact Of Overfishing: A Need For Regulation To Protect Marine Life

Marine Life

Our oceans are being emptied of their resources due to excessive fishing activities.

Deep-sea fishing vessels have been targeting continental slopes and seamounts, decimating marine life as much as 2000 times more than what was caught in reported numbers.

As one example, the practice of heavy bottom trawling scours the seabed, causing destruction and disruption to ecosystems that can take centuries to repair.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warns that 70 percent of all fish species are either completely depleted or overfished, while 1,000+ species are in danger of extinction.

Even worse is that with every pound of shrimp captured by these vessels, at least 20 pounds of other sea creatures – such as birds, dolphins and other fish – are needlessly killed and binned.

If we want to become environmental responsible and work towards a sustainable planet for future generations, then we must drastically reduce our seafood consumption activities now before it’s too late.

The Unseen Damage Of Livestock Production: The Dire Consequences Of Pollution And Contamination

Raising, feeding and killing animals in order to produce food for humans pollutes our planet greatly.

In the US alone, factory farms generate over 5 million pounds of excrement per minute.

This pollution travels through sewage and ends up in the global water system.

And what’s more, 33 percent of the poisonous nitrogen and phosphorus found in freshwater is coming from these sources.

On top of this, 20 percent of all greenhouse gases can be attributed to raising livestock, such as cows and sheep; that’s a staggering number when you consider that only 13 percent comes from global transportation.

Not to mention the methane and nitrous oxide released into the air due to their flatulence, urine and manure.

The same goes for aquafarming – fish are raised in overcrowded enclosures where their waste is then released into the oceans.

This contamination is also caused by using fishmeal and fish oil which leads to higher levels of cancer-causing dioxins being passed on within the food chain.

In 2001, it was revealed that just one year’s worth of salmon farming produced enough nitrogen to equal the untreated sewage of 682,000 people!

Wrap Up

At the end of Comfortably Unaware, readers will be left with a clear message: what we choose to eat greatly affects our planet.

Each of our dietary choices contribute in some way to environmental issues such as world hunger, water scarcity, poor land management, pollution, and climate change.

Our current lifestyle and industrial approaches are unsustainable, but with conscientious consideration of what we put into our bodies and where it comes from, we can make a difference.

The key is awareness and actively making more environmentally friendly food choices.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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