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News outlets and social media lit up last week with reports that President Donald Trump intends to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

The 2015 agreement brought representatives from nearly 200 nations together in a voluntary pledge to take steps to reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change.

Much of the concern on social media has reflected a sense of helplessness in the face of what many consider to be the greatest threat facing the planet.

But Facebook friend Joseph Rupp, who organized this year's highly successful Indy VegFest along with his wife Katelin, offered a great way for those concerned about climate change to fight back — go vegan!

While most of the talk about combating climate change centers around reducing vehicle emissions, the real culprits are the meat, dairy and egg industries.

Animal agriculture contributes more global greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation sector, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The folks at Climate Vegan, citing World Bank experts, say animal agriculture is estimated to be responsible for 51 percent of greenhouse gas emissions ("the most significant driver of observed climate change," according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Going vegan "is the single most impactful thing an individual can do to combat climate change," according to Climate Vegan. "Far more effective than more commonly known methods such as driving fuel-efficient cars, recycling, using energy-saving light bulbs or taking shorter showers."

Each day, a person eating a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30-square-feet of forested land, 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent and one animal's life, the group says.

If enough people shifted to a vegan diet, it could have an even bigger impact by changing the direction of policy in this country to more quickly address climate change, according to Climate Vegan. The United States and 34 other major countries are currently directing more than $40 billion in direct subsidies to farmers for destructive meat and dairy production.

You would think that with the impact of animal agriculture on climate change so well documented, the major environmental groups would be advocating strongly for a vegan diet. But that is not the case, and the brilliant documentary "Cowspiracy" sheds light on this tragic truth and likelihood that the groups are quiet because they fear losing members and donors.

So it seems former Vice President Al Gore was right, climate change is "An Inconvenient Truth."

But there is nothing inconvenient these days about going vegan and making a real change to benefit the planet, the animals and your own health.


Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.