Choosing not to eat meat makes an enormously important ecological impact. In honor of Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, here are some mind-blowing facts about how living a veg lifestyle can benefit the earth:
*Water- Each pound of meat not produced could provide a typical household water for a whole month! Roughly 2,500 gallons of water is required to produce that pound of meat- I3 to 15 times as much water needed to produce the same amount of plant protein. (NAVS) In addition, livestock produces billions of tons of waste/manure every year, contaminating water supplies, killing fish, poisoning drinking water, and contributing to birth defects and disease (Nutting).
*Wasted Resources- It takes up to 16 pounds of soybeans and grains to produce 1 lb. of beef (GoVeg.com)! If Americans alone reduced their meat consumption by 10%, over one-billion people throughout the world could be saved from starvation (Vegi Buro).
*Topsoil erosion- Every year in the U.S. alone, several billion tons of topsoil are lost each year on cropland and grazing land- almost all of which can be attributed to livestock agriculture. This is about the equivalent of losing four inches of topsoil over four million acres of cropland! (Veg. Soc. of CO)
*Fossil Fuel- It takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein, but just 1 calorie of fossil fuel for 1 calorie of soybeans (NAVS). Forty pounds of soybeans are produced by the same amount of fossil fuel required to produce one pound of meat (Nutting)!
*Tropical rainforests – It takes 55 square feet of rainforest to make 1 hamburger from imported cattle! The demand for meat is a huge factor in the devastation of the world’s rainforests, which are being destroyed at an alarming 100 acres per second, in part to provide cheap beef for export. Every lost acre means less oxygen due to destroyed vegetation, extinct species, and more carbon dioxide to contribute to global warming. (NAVS)
*Climate- Livestock are the cause of 15-20 percent of global methane emissions- cows produce one pound of methane for every 2 pounds of meat they yield. That's about 40 percent more than vehicle emissions and more than all the homes and offices in the world put together! (NAVS) One molecule of methane contributes 25 times more to the Greenhouse effect than one molecule of carbon (Vegi-Buro).
*If you ate plant-based meals every other day for a year, you would save 487 pounds of CO2. Based on this figure, going veggie for one week would save about 19 pounds of CO2. (eartheasy.com) **~This translates into 106,792 pounds saved per year by EtsyVeg members alone!~**
* Fifteen total vegetarians can be fed on the same amount of land needed to feed one person on a meat-based diet (NAVS). **~So based on this statistic, the diets of the 109 EtsyVeggers can be fed on the same amount of land it takes to feed 7 meat-eaters!~**
In other words, every person who chooses to go veg could potentially save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, save valuable rainforest and land, protect wildlife, increase the food supply for the hungry, reduce energy use, and reduce global warming. And these are just some of the benefits.
If you have any ideas for Earth Day events or activities we could participate in as a team, please post below. Check out the Earth Day 2008 website for some ideas and info.