In January of 2010, Haiti was razed by a catastrophic earthquake, killing at least 316,000 people and leaving over 1 million homeless. Sympathy and support poured in from throughout the world, but the harsh reality is that we were attempting to clean up a massive mess that we had caused. The evidence indicates that this disaster was the direct result of an unholy combination of environmental factors, particularly climate change which is primarily driven by meat consumption.
Certainly a 7.0 magnitude earthquake would not have been as cataclysmic were it not for the decades of land degradation, poor social planning, and an anemic infrastructure crippled by centuries of political and economic exploitation. But it has become clear that anthropogenic climate change was the main catalyst, causing the over 3 million Haitians disaffected by the earthquake, untold misery and loss.
In approaching question about deforestation or endangered species or global climate change, we work on the premise that an ounce of pollution equals an ounce of damage. It turns out that assumption is entirely incorrect. Ecosystems may go on for years exposed to pollution or climate changes without showing any change at all and then suddenly they may flip into an entirely different condition, with little warning or none at all. Jonathan Foley, Climatologist, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Years of rising global temperatures have steadily melted the once great ice sheets that cover the Northern Hemisphere. In times of drastic climate change, the ice sheets that once pinned down the tectonic plates, from which earthquakes emerge, melt and Earth's crust bounces back in isostatic rebound. The normal plate to plate interaction suddenly changes, dormant faults are reactivated, and seismic activity drastically increases resulting in earthquakes along plate boundaries. The North American plate, where the majority of the melting has occurred runs directly against the Caribbean plate upon which Haiti sits. As a matter of fact, Haiti rests on the fault line that separates the two tectonic plates. The plate in question, Plantain-Enriquillo, is a transform or strike-slip fault which is considered the most dangerous (eg. San Andreas). Simply stated, the ice that was pressing the North American fault in place is melting at an increasingly alarming rate, changing the weight distribution and activated the fault line that felled 316,000 Haitian men, women, and children. When it is considered that 51% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming come from the production and consumption of meat, it becomes clear that we have a responsibility to our fellow man to make better food choices. X