Monday, April 22, 2013

Help the Environment – Go Veg

It’s earth day today. Now, we all know that there are so many things that we can do to help the Earth and make it a healthy, great place to live for everyone. But, there is one thing that has the biggest impact on helping the environment: going vegetarian or vegan. Now, you *might* be saying I’m crazy right about now. Because maybe you’re thinking that recycling or composting or organic gardening are great ways. But let me tell you some of the things that eating meat can do, and list many of the great things that being veg can do for the environment. I’m not going to include anything graphic in this post, but I have included links to websites at the end that I feel you should check out. Be warned, some of the sites may have graphic content or links to graphic content, so if you don’t want to click on some of the links, please don’t. This post contains strictly some basic information about why I feel you should go veg!

Why eating meat can be bad for the environment:

•Raising cattle for food causes a lot of methane to be released into the environment and contributes to the thinning of the ozone layer:
The higher the demand for meat, the more methane that gets released into the air. That means that since so many US folks love to eat meat, there are a lot of slaughterhouses raising cows who’s farts (there’s no other way to say that) release methane into the environment. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization did a study that estimates that roughly 17-18 % of all greenhouse emissions come from raising cattle. Just to compare, that’s more than gets released in greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. So, the less demand for meat, the less greenhouse emissions there will be.

•Lots of trees are being cut down to make room for more pasture land for animals
I think that this should be an obvious one, but in case it isn’t, let me remind you: trees create oxygen. Oxygen is an essential part of life for us humans. Plus, there are a lot of animals that make their natural habitat in the trees that are being cut down. So, when we continue to cut down tons of trees, we risk those species of animals becoming endangered or going extinct. That means that other animals who rely on the extinct animals for food could go extinct and so on and so forth. That leads to a lot of extinction, all for the sake of human appetite.

•Livestock production damages the soil and nearby water sources.
Livestock production makes use of millions of gallons of pesticides and insecticides each year. These seep into the soil and contaminate nearby waterways and water sources. The conversion of forest lands into pasture lands is also the top cause of soil erosion in the globe. Since cattle and other livestock depend on shallow-rooted grass for their food, the top soil of pasture lands are often extremely eroded. The degree of pollution and soil erosion caused by livestock production not only threatens the environment, but also constitutes a threat to the lives of nearby communities. (quoted from http://www.greatgreenidea.com/Why-Eating-Meat-is-Bad-for-the-Environment.html).

•The transportation and processing of meat products leaves a high carbon footprint.
Since livestock farms are located away from cities and urban centers, their transportation to these cities cover long distances which translate into high fuel consumption as well as high carbon emissions. Once in the cities, the meat undergoes a series of processes involving strong chemicals which are meant to lengthen the meat's shelf life. Some would say that most other food products such as vegetables and fruits bear the same transportation and processing costs. Unlike vegetables and fruits, however, you can't grow meat in your own backyard. (quoted from http://www.greatgreenidea.com/Why-Eating-Meat-is-Bad-for-the-Environment.html).

Amount of U.S. grain fed to farm animals: 70%

Pounds of corn and soy required to produce just one pound of pork: nearly 7

Water needed to produce a pound of wheat: 14 gallons

Water needed to produce a pound of meat: 441 gallons

Of all water used for all purposes in the United States, more than half goes to: livestock production
(taken from the chooseveg website)

Why being veg is good for the environment:

Consider This

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:


100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;

1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;

70 million gallons of gas -- enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;

3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;

33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;

1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;

70 million gallons of gas -- enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;

3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;

33 tons of antibiotics.
(found at the following website: http://www.alternet.org/story/134650/the_startling_effects_of_going_vegetarian_for_just_one_day)

Those are the positive things that would happen if everyone went vegetarian just for one day (that doesn’t even include all the good things that would happen if you went vegan.) Now, the question is: is eating meat really worth it if it destroys the environment?

Some websites you have to check out:
http://www.greatgreenidea.com/Why-Eating-Meat-is-Bad-for-the-Environment.html
http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-and-environment.aspx
http://www.chooseveg.com/conservation.asp
http://www.happycow.net

Books You Have to read:
Being Vegetarian, by Suzanne Havala
Becoming Vegan, by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina
Mad Cowboy, Howard F. Lyman
The China Study,
Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosserman
365 Good Reasons to Be a Vegetarian,by Victor Parachin
The New Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen
Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moscowits

No comments: