We’re in an age where our peers seem to care about environmental action – you may have a friend who is a big environmental supporter, or have an environmental protection group in your school or community. But what these people often neglect is the staggering effect of meat, dairy, and eggs on our environment. These forms of agricultural development are, without a doubt, the most harmful factors at play in the destruction of our home.
The next time you see your friend wearing a “I <3 Earth" tee shirt or espousing a clean environmental belief, ask them if they are vegan, and if they're aware of what being vegan can do for our planet!
Five years ago, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization published a report called “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” which maintained that 18 percent of greenhouse gases were attributable to the raising of animals for food. The number was startling.
A couple of years later, however, it was suggested that the number was too small. Two environmental specialists for the World Bank, Robert Goodland (the bank’s former lead environmental adviser) and Jeff Anhang, claimed, in an article in World Watch, that the number was more like 51 percent. It’s been suggested that that number is extreme, but the men stand by it, as Mr. Goodland wrote to me this week: “All that greenhouse gas isn’t emitted directly by animals. ”But according to the most widely-used rules of counting greenhouse gases, indirect emissions should be counted when they are large and when something can be done to mitigate or reduce them.”
The exact number doesn’t matter. What does is that few people take the role of livestock in producing greenhouse gases seriously enough. Even most climate change experts focus on new forms of energy — which cannot possibly be effective quickly enough or produced on a broad enough scale to avert what may be the coming catastrophe — and often ignore the much easier fix of adjusting our eating habits.
It’s good that we’re eating somewhat less meat, but it still amounts to something just shy of a staggering 200 pounds per person per year. And no matter how that number changes domestically, on the world scale there’s troubling movement in the wrong direction. Meat consumption in China is now twice what it is in the United States (in 1978 it was only one-third). We still eat twice as much per capita as the Chinese, but when they catch up they’ll consume more than four times as much as we do.
But the Chinese don’t need to eat like us; we need to eat like them. Or, rather, like they did until recently.
If you believe that earth’s natural resources are limitless, which maybe was excusable 100 years ago but is the height of ignorance now, or that “technology will fix it” or that we can simply go mine them in outer space with Newt Gingrich, I guess none of this worries you. But if you believe in reality, and you’d like that to be a place that your kids get to enjoy, this is a big deal.
A primer: The earth may very well be running out of clean water, and by some estimates it takes 100 times more water (up to 2,500 gallons) to produce a pound of grain-fed beef than it does to produce a pound of wheat. We’re also running out of land: somewhere around 45 percent of the world’s land is either directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, and as forests are cleared to create new land for grazing animals or growing feed crops, the earth’s capacity to sequester greenhouse gases (trees are especially good at this) diminishes.
I could go on and on about the dangers of producing and consuming too much meat: heavy reliance on fossil fuels and phosphorous (both in short supply); consumption of staggering amounts of antibiotics, a threat to public health; and the link (though not as strong as sugar’s) to many of the lifestyle diseases that are wreaking havoc on our health.
Here’s the thing: It’s seldom that such enormous problems have such simple solutions, but this is one that does. We can tackle climate change without inventing new cars or spending billions on mass transit or trillions on new forms of energy, though all of that is not only desirable but essential.
Veganish, with no beef or other similar animals is basically just as good for the environment. So you can be an environmentalist if you do that. But if you eat the SAD, then you’re a very bad environmentalist. >..< How did you do on the test? It probably was the easiest AP test I took, but I had lots of background before even studying.
YES YES!! SO TRUE!! in my AP environmental science basically everyone in the class was a bit environmentally aware so i told them at the begining of class how being vegan n not buying animals products helps save the env. but they thought i was crazy. then we had lessons on it n i was like i told u sooo!
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
All animal emergencies (injured, stray, neglected, abused, etc) should be reported to our Emergency Response Team, not posted on the Boards.