If there’s one thing science has proven in recent years, it’s that animal agriculture is a plague on the planet. From Cowspiracy, the documentary, to a recent study by Oxford University, research has revealed that raising cows, pigs, chickens, and fish for food has led to deforestation, ocean dead zones, water pollution, climate change, and a whole host of other environmental woes. That’s all in addition to immense animal suffering.
With Earth Day approaching, now’s the time to stop and think about how best to protect our only home — and all of us who live here. In honor of the big blue marble we live on, let’s take a look at the far-reaching impacts of eating meat, dairy, and eggs:
- Animal agriculture causes 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions — more than the entire transportation sector, combined.
- Growing feed for livestock accounts for 56 percent of water use in the U.S.
- It takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.
- Livestock takes up 45 percent of the earth’s free land.
- Raising animals for food is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
- A farm with 2,500 dairy cows creates the same amount of waste as a city with over 400,000 people.
- As many as 2.7 trillion animals are taken from the ocean every year.
- Animal agriculture is the cause of up to 91 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction.
That’s the bad news. The good news? A widespread switch to a vegan diet by the year 2050 would save eight million (human) lives, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent, and cut $1 trillion in healthcare costs. So says the Oxford U. study, published in the National Academy of Sciences journal. Clearly, such a switch would make Mother Earth happy.
So if you dig this planet we live on, why not show it? Opt into a reduceatarian, vegetarian, or best of all — vegan — diet, and you’ll be the ultimate environmentalist. Long live Planet Earth!