4 Reasons People Who Care About the Planet Should Stop Eating Animals
The climate catastrophe is getting more urgent every day, and it can feel as though the planet’s health is out of our control. But there’s one thing we can control: what we eat. Choosing to be vegan has a way bigger impact on the environment than you might think.
Here are four reasons why you should stop eating animal-derived foods to calm your climate anxiety:
1. It reduces your carbon footprint.
Did you know that animal agriculture is responsible for over half of global greenhouse gas emissions? Cow burps alone make up 20% of U.S. methane gas emissions. This gas adds up—each year, a vegan is responsible for about 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions less than a meat-eater. 🤯
If we want to save the planet, misleading marketing schemes like “sustainable animal agriculture” won’t do. Studies show that even the most carbon-friendly beef production still emits more than twice the level of greenhouse gases than the least carbon-friendly soy, pea, or nut production. And these “sustainable” methods do nothing to reduce animal suffering. Animals shouldn’t be left out of the conversation—they’re being torn away from their families, miserably confined, and killed.
2. It saves water.
The meat industry wastes TRILLIONS of gallons of water every year. It takes up to 2,400 gallons of water, or about 50 full bathtubs, to produce just 1 pound of cow flesh. That means you’d save more water by not eating a pound of beef than you would by not showering for six months! 🛁
By comparison, it takes 244 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of tofu. While taking shorter showers is considerate to our fave queen, Mother Earth, taking meat off your plate will save a lot more water.
3. It helps keep our water clean.
We all want our water sources to be free of manure, right? Farming animals not only consumes massive amounts of water but also pollutes it with tons of animal waste. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, animals on U.S. factory farms produce about 500 million tons of poop every year—10 times more than our country’s entire human population produces. There are no animal sewage–processing plants, and it’s most often stored in waste “lagoons” (which can be seen in aerial views of factory farms) or sprayed over fields. This waste pollutes our rivers and air. 🤢
4. It helps protect the rainforests.
Animal agriculture requires a lot of land to grow feed for the animals. It ravages the world’s rainforests to grow more crops, which destroys animals’ homes and increases the amount of CO2 in the air. Here are some mind-blowing stats that show the meat industry’s catastrophic impact on deforestation:
- An acre of rainforest is torn down by the meat industry every six seconds—that’s 14,440 acres every day.
- Seven football fields’ worth of land are bulldozed every minute for raising animals and their feed.
We aren’t the only ones pushing climate advocates to go vegan. In a 2022 report, the United Nations urged a widespread shift toward a vegan diet to avoid the worst effects of climate change and deforestation. The report determined that switching our eating patterns to more plant-based consumption can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support biodiversity, and promote human health.
Not only does living vegan help the environment, it also saves lives. If you ever feel as though personal choices are too small to make a difference, remember that by going vegan, you’ll save nearly 200 animals’ lives per year. You’ll also save 20 pounds of C02, 1,100 gallons of water, and 30 square feet of forested land every 👏 single 👏 day 👏.
Bonus: Vegan food is delicious! ✨
Companies like Beyond Meat, Field Roast, Follow Your Heart, and many others make mouth-watering vegan meats, dairy-free cheeses, and much more. Plus, with so many vegan foods rich in protein—like soybeans, peas, and nuts—there are endless nourishing meals and snacks to enjoy.
Not sure where to start? Check out peta2’s “Guide to Going Vegan” for tasty recipes, shopping list favorites, tips for eating away from home, and more! 🌎🌱