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Veganism And Environment:
How They're Intertwined

Why are veganism and environment so tightly intertwined?

Eating animal products is far more damaging to the environment than any other source of contaminants. It's great to buy a hybrid car and use an energy-efficient lightbulb, but if you are eating meat daily, you might as well have a dozen SUVs, take hour-long showers, and leave your lights on constantly.

Water pollution, topsoil clearing, toxic gas emissions, air pollution, and the rampant use of resources for livestock feed are all related to animal agriculture. Choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet is the most beneficial choice you can make to help curb global warming and future environmental destruction. Veganism and environmental concerns cannot be separated.

Greenhouse Gases That Lead to Global Warming:

  • In 2006, the UN found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all of the transportation industry combined (Livestock's Long Shadow)
  • If every American cut one chicken dinner out of their diets each week, it would be the same as taking 500,000 cars off the road (Environmental Defense)
  • Livestock production causes the most methane and nitrous oxide emmissions, which cause the most global warming
  • Methane is more than 20 times as dangerous as carbon dioxide in heating our atmosphere (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Nitrous Oxide is 300 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide in global warming (H. Steinfeld's Livestock's Long Shadow)

The Destruction of Cropland and Rainforest for Animal Agriculture:

  • The land used to grow livestock feed is 10 times what we need to grow food for humans
  • 4 million acres of cropland lost each year (in the United States alone) from erosion
  • 85% of topsoil loss is directly associated with livestock
  • Every 8 seconds an acre of U.S. trees is cleared to produce cropland for meat
  • Each person who goes vegetarian saves 1 acre of trees each year
  • American meat addiction drives the destruction of the rainforest; 125,000 square miles are cleared annually
    Runoff From Excrement and Antibiotics Destroys Land:
  • One dairy cow creates about 100 pounds of feces daily
  • Livestock produce about 130 times the feces of the entire U.S. population (U.S. Senate report), and it is never treated, rather it is poured onto the land in giant pools
  • 1 billion tons of livestock feces is produced annually in the U.S., none is recycled, so it runs off into the water stream
  • Antibiotics fed to farmed fish contaminate the oceans
  • Large fish have been reduced by 90% in the last 50 years because of commercial fishing
  • Farmed fish escape and breed with wild fish, which changes our ecosystem more than we know right now
    Resources Diverted to Livestock Could Feed Millions:
  • To produce 1 lb of meat, it takes 2,500 gallons of water
  • To produce 1 lb of wheat, it takes 25 gallons of water
  • It takes 300 gallons of water daily to feed a vegan
  • It takes 1200 gallons of water daily to feed a vegetarian
  • It takes 4,200 gallons of water daily to feed a meat eater
  • Just in the U.S., over half of our water is used for livestock production
  • If all humans ate a meat centered diet, the world's petroleum reserves would last 13 years; 260 years if we all ate vegetarian If you care about saving our planet for the generations to come, think about veganism and environment in the same sentence. 
  • Sources

    The United Nations has said for years that animal agriculture is an unsustainable enterprise. You can find many of these facts with them.

    An excellent documentary on the effects of animal agriculture on the environment is Cowspiracy.

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