I am going to start this section off with a big claim; going vegan is the single best thing you can do to reduce the impact YOU have on the environment. That’s right, it’s better than recycling, it’s better than your hybrid, it’s even better than unplugging your appliances when you leave the house. If you already do any or all of those BRAVO, you already have an environmentally conscious mind, you’re aware that your actions DO have an impact, so keep it up. But did you know that the impact animal agriculture has on the environment far outweighs other contributors to climate change, by a significant amount. Global animal agriculture actually accounts for an approximate 51% of greenhouse gas emissions. Think about that…51%!
Air pollution isn’t even close to the only thing animal agriculture does to hurt our planet. There are also copious amounts of water usage involved, the destruction of oceans, and gigantic land mass usage.
The main reason animal agriculture emits these large amounts greenhouse gas emissions is not all the machinery and transportation involved like you may think. The emissions mainly come from the animals themselves. In hunter-gatherer times this would have never been an issue. Yes there is some evidence of annual mass slaughter, particularly buffalo, in some tribes but that still doesn’t even compare to the systems we have in place today. The ridiculous amounts of animals our society consumes forces farms to become factories and push out as much “product” as possible, but to do this, millions of animals are needed at any given time. Millions of animals that all
produce gas and waste. You may think manure is a great thing, fertilizer and whatnot, but not in the quantities we produce it. This manure, or waste, is commonly stored in silos or just plain waste lagoons so big you can see them clearly on aerial views of factory farms. These silos however, allow the waste to leech into the ground and pollute groundwater as well as nearby rivers. In the US, it is common practice to spray the manure as a mist into the air to bypass water pollution laws. I highley recomend you click on the picture above to hear what it’s like from an ex-pig farmer. This mist will travel into human populations, bringing disease, infection and respiratory problems with them.
Okay, the amount of water it takes to produce ONE single hamburger is mind-boggling. If you ever thought your 40 minute showers were bad, then you should never want to eat a hamburger again knowing this. Lets say a hamburger is 1/3 pound of cow meat (ground beef), well that alone takes 660 gallons of water! That’s 10 560 cups, or 2498 liters, or 5789 pints! Plus those numbers are just going up. Now that temperatures have risen globally, and farmland areas are experiencing much higher temperatures, the animals are needing more water. In the past, it has been estimated that in hot weather a cow used for milk will drink up to 100 gallons in a day instead of a mere 50 gallons.
Oceanic Destruction & Pollution
Not only is there the manure run off and poop mist from the factory farms going into our oceans, but were taking all the good stuff out at the same time. With fishing methods like trawling, where they drag a huge net across the ocean floor or at specific levels to catch everything in their path. This includes animals like dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles too. These animals are labeled as “bycatch” in the fishing industry, many are killed and thrown back in the water. Or sharks will have their fins cut off and thrown back into the water to drown. Yes sharks can drown. Many places around the world have finally started imposing stricter commercial fishing laws but much of the damage is already done. A coral reef and it’s ecosystem can take hundreds oe thousands of years to develop, and we knock it all down like child bent on destroying the beaches sand castles.
Guess what deforested 90% of the Amazon forest, yeup, animal agriculture. The land here is used mainly for grazing animals and growing soy beans FOR the animals. It actually takes up to 4 times the amount of land to breed animals for food and food for those animals than it does to grow plants. Those lagoons i mentioned earlier, they can be the size of 4 football fields together! The plants that we grow for animals to eat actually contain the original protein and nutrients we need, yet so many decide to recycle them through the life of an innocent being. The inefficiencies in this system are all too clear, it’s time for a change.
Going vegan can be so much easier than you think, and I have never met a vegan who hasn’t said it was one of the best decisions they ever made. If you want help feel free to leave a comment with a question down below or send us a message! I also recommend these articles to help you get started!
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