How does your diet impact the environment? Let’s take a brief overview of the vast resources it takes to produce meat and other animal products for our food, as well as the environmental cost of the industry’s byproducts.
NOTE: Please see this more recent post for a far more thorough and extensively cited exploration of this topic!
Let’s start with our first reason to go vegan: environmental impact. In order to make one pound of beef, we have to use two thousand five hundred (2,500) gallons of water, fifty-five (55) square feet of rain forest, sixteen (16) pounds of grain and and eighty (80) kilograms of CO2.
You can save more water by not eating one pound of beef than you can for not showering for an entire six months!
Then there is the land that we use: the equivalent of seven football fields is bulldozed every minute worldwide in order to make more room for farmed animals. Animal agriculture makes a 40% greater contribution to global warming than all the transportation in the world combined. It is actually the number one cause of climate change.
It takes more than eleven times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie from animal protein as it does to make one calorie from animal protein. And if all of that isn’t enough for you, every second in the united states, eighty-nine thousand (89,000) pounds of fecal matter is produced by our farmed animals. Oh yes, you heard that correctly—close to ninety thousand (90,000) pounds of poop every second with no waste management treatment.
What we just went over is only scratching the surface of the environmental impact of the meat and dairy industries on our planet.
For a more thorough look at the exact environmental cost of animal products, see this video!
A great text to read about this subject is Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet by Richard Oppenlander
For a look into how our wasting of resources on animal products affects the world’s hungry, go here
— Emily Moran Barwick