So, to me, talking about going vegetarian or vegan seems like the PERFECT thing to talk about on Earth Day! I personally would say that giving up meat and dairy is the single most effective way to help the environment (but I know that there are many other ways to help our little earth). SO, let's get on with it shall we?
Here are some reasons that you should consider going veggie:
1. Livestock farming is responsible for almost 20% (yes 20%) of all greenhouse gas emissions. If you quit eating meat, you will be helping reduce those greenhouse gas emissions, thus putting less strain on our earth.
2. Nitrous oxide is found in the largest quantities from cow manure - 65%. Just so you know, nitrous oxide is almost 300 times as damaging to the environment as carbon dioxide. Now, if you stop eating meat, cows will not stop pooping. BUT, if you stop eating meat, you will reduce the need for SO MANY cows to be crammed into so many tight, awful areas!
3. Over 1 Billion people do not have access to clean water and more than half to not have access to proper sanitation. That's a big deal, because 70% of all freshwater drawn from aquifers, lakes and waterways is used for farming. If you quit eating meat, you could be allowing some of that water to be used for humans who desperately need it.
4. Livestock production accounts for over 8% of human water consumption.
5. 30% of the earths entire surface is used for raising farm animals. That's a big deal, because it means that human are giving up living space and it means that valuable forest land is being cut down to make more space for farming. Give up meat, and you could prevent more trees from being chopped down.
6. Cattle require 7 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of beef while pigs require 4 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of pork. That's a lot of grain when you think about how many cattle and pigs are raised each year for food. That grain will go a lot further in feeding hungry people than that meat will.
Ok, short little list. Those are some pretty good reasons though! Now, in case reading through this list isn't enough for you, or you just want to do more research, I'm going to list a couple websites that I think you all need to go check out!
As if that weren't enough (and we all know it wasn't ;), here are some GREAT books you need to go check out! Some are guides, some are cookbooks, some are both. Happy Reading!
The New Becoming Vegetarian: The Essential Guide To A Healthy Vegetarian Diet by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis
How it All Vegan by Isa Chandra Moscowitz
The Vegan Sourcebook by Joanne Stepaniak
Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moscowitz (I have a copy and I LOVE it!)
Now, what are you waiting for! Get out there and do some more reading about the awesome benefits of being vegetarian or vegan!