I never considered myself as an environmentalist until now. Becoming vegan has opened my eyes to many things I was shielded to before. The abundance of knowledge I have obtained about the effects veganism has on health, animals, and now the environment has been more enlightening than ever. Recently, Nick and I watched a powerful, well-informed documentary, Cowspiracy, that Rich Roll helped produce. If you consider yourself an environmentalist, think twice about if you really are, and watch this documentary to see if you really are helping the environment and planet. The current pressing issue of global warming is urgent and true, whether you believe it or not. If you pay attention, the changes are already apparent right in front of your eyes. Some may think that just by recycling, turning off the lights, using less water, biking rather than driving makes a difference. But the unfortunate truth is that these behavioral practices are insignificant when you look at the big picture. These small changes doesn’t even make a dent to better global warming issues. We have so much methane gas polluting Earth that the health and future of our world is desperately in need of change. Not later. Not soon. But right now. Did you know that methane is 25-100 times more destructive than carbon dioxide (CO2)? That methane has a global warming power 86 times than CO2? And do you know what the number one producer of methane and CO2 is? It’s animal agriculture. Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day. Livestock is responsible for 65% of all emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of CO2 per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. What I listed is just a small fraction of the problem caused by the cattle industry.
In addition, animal agriculture use ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons of water annually and is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption. While there are some of us trying to reduce water use at home because of droughts, it doesn’t make much of a difference when the cattle industry is sucking up most of the water supply. Did you also know that growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US?
And did you also know that…
- One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers.
- 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
- 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1 pound of eggs; 900 gallons of water are needed for cheese.
- 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.
- 5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes, while 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture.
- The meat and dairy industries combined use nearly 1/3 (29%) of all the fresh water in the world today.
- Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.
- Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
- Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US. This doesn’t include the animals raised outside of USDA jurisdiction or in backyards, or the billions of fish raised in aquaculture settings in the US.
- A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.
- 136 million rainforest acres cleared for animal agriculture.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction.
- 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second.
What I’ve listed above are true and alarming facts extracted from Cowspiracy and other sources, which you can research for yourself and draw your own conclusions; although, I highly recommend watching Cowspiracy to learn more about this issue. Some people may think that these issues aren’t pressing because they’re not directly affected by them at the moment. But the truth is, everyone is affected whether they know it or not. In the near future, our planet will go through more changes, and the consequences of famine and natural disasters caused from climate changes will become more apparent than ever if we don’t stand up and make a change now. Sadly, some people don’t care enough because some think they’ll be dead before those changes come; however, these changes are worsening at an accelerated rate, becoming drastic sooner than later. The consequences of global warming will affect every single person here on out.
By becoming vegan, I know it’s the best thing I could have done for my longevity and health. I learned afterwards that I am also saving animal lives, which I’m happy about because saying I was an “animal lover” before I became vegan did not make sense when I was eating meat and supporting the leather industry. And now, I also know that I am helping out the environment as well, even though it will take more than just a minority of others and myself to prevent our planet from falling apart like the dinosaur ages. But, change has to start from somewhere…
How a vegan plays a role with this current issue:
- Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
Vegan: 1/6th acre
Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan
Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan
- 1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food.
1.5 acres can produce 375 pounds of meat.
- A person who follows a vegan diet produces 50% less carbon dioxide, 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-eater for their food.
By presenting this information to you, I am sharing the knowledge and spreading the word. It’s totally up to you what decisions you make and what you take from it.
Thanks for your time, and thanks for reading!