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May 26, 2012

Dear President Clinton,

The Clinton Global Initiative is one of the most respected and productive organizations in the world; and your leadership has inspired a generation with the ability to tackle major issues.

The simple act of eating is amazingly complex. Every decision we make regarding the food that passes our lips has a ripple effect in either direction.

The first ripple is inward and has everything to do with how our bodies interacts with the food. The second ripple is outward; it is the effect our food decisions have on the environment.

The point of impact is our mouths.

Ultimately, the decisions made at the point of impact, have profound implications beyond our own personal health. Our decisions have a global reach.

“… we don’t have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil — which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills — our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste…”  (Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food: Bryan Walsh)

Mark Bittman recently commented in the New York Times: Five years ago, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization published a report called “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” which maintained that 18 percent of greenhouse gases were attributable to the raising of animals for food. The number was startling.

A couple of years later, however, it was suggested that the number was too small. Two environmental specialists for the World Bank, Robert Goodland (the bank’s former lead environmental adviser) and Jeff Anhang, claimed, in an article in World Watch, that the number was more like 51 percent. It’s been suggested that number is extreme, but the men stand by it, as Mr. Goodland wrote to me this week: “All that greenhouse gas isn’t emitted directly by animals.  ”But according to the most widely used rules of counting greenhouse gases, indirect emissions should be counted when they are large and when something can be done to mitigate or reduce them.”

I represent that a Plant Based diet not only can address 80% of preventable chronic disease but also can reduce the amount of livestock inhabiting the planet.

I understand that you adopted a Plant Based diet to reverse your heart disease.  The Clinton Global Initiative has the ability to raise awareness of the multiple benefits a Plant Based diet can offer not only an individual but a global population.

The single greatest activity for the environment is to rely on a Plant Based diet for nutrition. 


Ian Welch



For a full report on livestock’s affect on the Earth: http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf