Do you care about greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide emissions, recycling, and other issues that affect the planet? If so, chances are you already try to do your part to help protect Earth. But if you’re still eating meat, it’s time to stop. Here are six reasons why you can’t be an environmentalist and eat meat:

1. Meat consumption is a leading cause of climate change.

Animal agriculture is a leading source of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane emissions—the top three greenhouse gases.

Did you know that 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture? Burps and farts may be your fave type of humor, but they’re no joke when it comes to factory farming: Cow burps and farts make up 20 percent of U.S. methane-gas emissions.

According to a 2014 study, beef and veal have greenhouse-gas emissions per gram of protein that are about 250 times more than those emitted by legumes. If you care about carbon dioxide’s effects on the atmosphere, it’s time to ditch meat. One vegan person is responsible for the release of about 1.5 fewer tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year than a meat-eater.

2. Eating meat = loads more water waste.

Eating meat is a waste of natural resources and precious lives. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of cow flesh. That’s about 50 bathtubs full of water. In other words, you’d save more water not eating 1 pound of beef than you would not showering for six whole months!

In contrast, it takes only 219 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of tofu. Which sounds better—and cleaner? The second option sounds much friendlier to the environment. ? #JustSayin’

3. Animal agriculture causes water pollution.

U.S. Department of Agriculture | 20151110-RD-LSC-0560 | CC BY 2.0 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, animals on U.S. factory farms produce about 500 million tons of manure each year. That’s 10 times more poop than the amount that’s produced by the country’s entire human population!

In addition to polluting rivers, this manure also pollutes the air. And when used as fertilizer, it decomposes and ends up in food made from animals or with animal-derived ingredients.

4. By consuming animals, you’re supporting deforestation.

Raising animals for food also hurts the world’s rainforests and the ecosystems they harbor. Huge amounts of rainforest have been decimated to grow the crops that are used to feed farmed animals. Here are some mind-blowing stats that show how eating meat contributes to deforestation:

  • Fifty-five square feet of rainforest are torn down for every single meal that contains meat.
  • One acre of rainforest is cut down for cattle farming every six seconds—that’s 14,440 acres every day.
  • Seven football fields’ worth of land are bulldozed worldwide each minute to make more room for farmed animals.

If humans ate the soy and grains that are grown to feed farmed animals, we wouldn’t need to plant nearly as many crops—and we could leave the rainforest alone.

5. The United Nations states that a global shift toward a vegan diet is crucial to offset the worst effects of climate change.

In a 2010 report, the U.N. encouraged a wide-scale shift toward a vegan diet to “save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change.”

“Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. … [C]rops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fuel fossil fuels.”

—Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the U.N. report

Bonus: Vegan food is super-delish!

Eating with compassion doesn’t mean that you’ll have to eat boring, bland food, thanks to companies like Beyond Meat, Field Roast, Follow Your Heart, and others that are making delish meat and cheese alternatives. Today, it’s easier than ever to eat all kinds of yummy foods that don’t involve cruelty to animals.

Plus, by going vegan, you’ll save over 100 animals each year! As someone who cares about the planet, take pride in caring about animals’ well-being, too. Eating with compassion makes you the ultimate Earth-loving badass. ?❤

Feelin’ Hungry?

Check out peta2’s “Guide to Going Vegan” for scrumptious recipes, tips, and more! From breakfast dishes to late-night snacks, we’ve got you covered. ??❤