Our topic for today is veganism and its impact on the environment.
When you stop eating meat, you save tons of water, reduce carbon emissions, and reduce soil erosion. The business of raising animals and making them ready for consumption uses a tremendous amount of energy and creates even more waste. Here are a couple of statistics about your diet and the environment.
National Geographic interactive tool: helps identify and compare how your diet impacts water consumption. You can scan through different products and find out how much water is needed to produce each.
Just one for you to consider:
1 pound of beef (or about ½ a kilogram) requires 1,799 gallons (6,810 liters) of water while 1 pound of soybeans (or about ½ a kilogram) requires 216 gallons (818 liters) of water
Melanie Joy, PhD, has also written about the negative effects of a diet based on animals on the Earth’s water. She writes “Animal agriculture is likely the world’s largest source of water pollution. The main sources of the pollution are from antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, animal wastes, sediments from eroded pastures, and fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops.”
The business of raising animals for food has been found to produce more carbon emissions that all the world’s forms of transportation added together (according to a 2006 report by the United Nations). Also, another report from the University of Chicago has startling information to share. Because it takes 7 kilograms of feed to raise 1 kilogram of beef, and the methane released by the animals through their bodily gases, the meat-eater, on average, is responsible for the release of 1.5 more tonnes of carbon a year than a vegan. Put another way, many sources place the methane produced by cattle and their physical waste can have a polluting effect equal to that of 33 million cars!!!
Erosion is the process by which the fertile soil, and the nutrients therein, are worn away. Erosion is especially damaging to the Earth. According to several studies, the process of growing animals for food is responsible for 55 percent of all the erosion now occurring in the United States. If we would stop growing animals for food, we could greatly reduce the amount of erosion of fertile topsoil.
Choosing more plant-based options in your diet will help you make less of an impact on the Earth.
But the reasons to include more plant-based foods in your diet don’t end here. Keep an eye out for more posts about reasons to try a more plant-based diet.
Joy, M. (2010). Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows. San Francisco: Conari Press.