The climate is turning on us. Scientists continually warn us that the pollution has taken its toll on the environment and now the consequences to our lives are becoming more severe by the day. The suggested changes may appear small, but if everyone participates, they will have a significant impact.
It’s true that every country should take measures to prevent further deterioration of our environment. Many changes depend directly on the governmental decisions, regulations and actions. However, every person can contribute with lifestyle modifications. Not only will we affect the environment this way, but also transform our lives for the better with healthy and responsible habits.
One of the ways to be an active participant is to turn to veganism. It may sound like extreme, but actually, it’s more than just choosing not to eat meat and its by-products. Since 22nd of April is Earth Day it could be the perfect time to start with your new eating regime. Moreover, to help you strengthen that decision, here are some facts how veganism and environmentalism go hand-in-hand.
1. Meat-eating overheats the planet
The consumption of meat has doubled in the last 30 years. Humans eat over 200 million tonnes of animals per year and that has a considerable impact on the environment. The most commonly bred animals are cows, sheep, pigs and chickens.
The report from 2006 by the UN stated that meat breeding and production industry amounted to 18% of overall emissions. Three years later, this was revised to more than 51% by two scientists Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang. Depending on what the studies include, the figure can be as low as 10% and higher than 50%. Whatever the case, there is a proven fact that livestock farming is one of the main causes of overheating of the planet.
The biggest concern with those who turn to veganism is how to replace the nutrients from meat. The proteins our bodies gain from meat are not only valuable but also necessary for proper development and functioning. However, protein shakes especially designed for vegans and certain vegetables can compensate that.
2. Deforestation of the land
Livestock industry depends on agriculture in order to feed the animals. Only 8% of agricultural products are used for human food and more than two thirds for feeding livestock. The land used for grazing and crop production is on the rise.
The bigger the meat consumption the greater the need for more space to grow food for the animals. This leads to the deforestation of the land which can have serious consequences on the environment and human life. Only the fact that Amazon forests were reduced by 40% in the last 50 years is alarming. Trees absorb harmful gasses like carbon monoxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere.
Namely, one tree can produce oxygen for up to four people. They are also homes of certain animals and cutting them down will destroy their habitats and therefore negatively affect the ecosystem. This can affect millions of species depending on the trees for habitat, protection and food.
3. Too much consumption of water
Based on author John Robbins, it takes more water to raise 1 kg of animal meat than it takes for the same amount of vegetable. It takes close to 1,000 litres of water to produce just one of milk. The consumption of water by livestock farms is starting to gain that of the cities. Some countries are relocating their livestock farms to more water-rich regions in order to level the pressure on consumption. This is not solving the problem but only depleting other water resources and creating space for future crisis.
4. Veganism could stop the world hunger
A large amount of potential human food goes to feeding the livestock. For example, the estimates say that 70% of the grain in the US goes to the livestock farms. Meat is nutritional and high in calories, but diverse diet can help people replace it. Four billion hectares globally is already in use for agricultural purposes, and two-thirds of it is reserved for animal farming.
The scary fact is that based on predictions, global population will reach more than 9.1 billion by 2050. This means that there won’t be enough land for livestock farming. Also, this can point that humans will starve in order to feed the animals they plan to eat. By 2050, there won’t be enough meat for the predicted number of meat eaters, so our diet needs to change. For our health and for the good of the planet, veganism is more than just the choice but rather the necessity.
Veganism is more than just food. It’s a philosophy which teaches us to respect living creatures and live sustainably. By abandoning meat-eating lifestyle and animal products, we will limit the breeding of animals for these purposes.
Of course that the whole world can’t stop eating meat – it’s an unrealistic expectation. But, many people can and that alone will decrease the impact this industry has on the environment. Needless to say, this alone won’t help the environment but it’s a start and taking one step at the time can help us reach our destination.