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Reasons to go vegan for the environment

The rise of plant-based, and meat-free products is giving households more options when it comes to having a larger impact on their bodies and the planet. Plant-based lifestyles have a major and obvious effect on the body. We all know the benefits of ditching meat, dairy, and animal-based products, but what effects does it have on the environment? Does a vegan diet do just as much good for the earth as it does for our bodies?

Carbon emissions and deforestation

Deforestation for animal farming

The meat industry has been destroying forests and wild lands for decades to grow food for livestock. Approximately 800,000 acres of wilderness are demolished every day. The lands are then converted into farmlands and are used to grow grains and corn to feed the animals that are then killed for human consumption.

Forests are needed as a crucial part of the earth’s balance. Trees help to cool the earth, house the animals, clean the water and absorb the carbon emissions. There is no end in sight to deforestation and the planet is paying the price. Global warming is increasing at an alarming rate. We need these forests to protect human, plant, and animal life.  

Animal agriculture is responsible for producing 14.5% to 18% of total greenhouse gas emissions.  This makes it responsible for more emissions than the combined exhausts of all transport globally. 

Globally 26% of the land’s ice free surface is given to grazing animals.  In Australia alone 54% of the land surface is used for livestock grazing.  If the world shifted to a vegan diet, global farmland could be reduced by more than 75%.  This land could be restored to natural vegetation which would remove the equivalent of 8.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

There are also the carbon emissions that come directly from the animals themselves.  42% of emissions are methane.  Most of this is produced by cows and other livestock from their digestive systems.  Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and 1 ton of methane released in to the atmosphere is equivalent to up to 100 tons of C02.

Everyone changing to a vegan diet could reduce agricultural emissions by up to 73%.

Water Conservation

Along with destroying the land to feed the animals, our earth's water supply is being deeply impacted by the meat, dairy and egg industries.

Only 2.5 percent of all the water in the world is freshwater.  Animal agriculture is responsible for 20 to 33 percent of all fresh water consumption in the world.

Vegans consume plants that require a lot less water to grow and produce.

According to Mercy For Animals, 20-33% of the world’s fresh water supply is used by the meat and dairy industry in the production of animal products.

A litre of milk takes approximately 1000 Litres of water to produce and one hamburger takes up to 2498.37 Litres. Some households don’t even use that much to shower for two months.

2.1 billion people across the world do not have clean drinking water. It's safe to say that this water could be used for far more sustainable options.

Conclusion

Going vegan is an excellent way to be active against the harm that is being done to places like The Amazon, Southeast Asia, other major forests and reduce global warming. 

Our dollars are not being used to buy animal products, lowering the demand to raise and feed them. By buying plant-based products consumers tell the market more people are wanting to protect their bodies, the animals, and the planet. Any reduction in the number of animals eaten will have a positive impact on the environment.

Giving up chicken, beef or fish sends a message to the industries that our planet is more important than what we put on our plates. It reduces our carbon footprint and starts slowly reverse the damage that has already been done to our earth.

References:

  1. https://veggievagabonds.com/environmental-benefits-of-veganism/
  2. https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/corn-and-other-feedgrains/feedgrains-sector-at-a-glance/#:~:text=The%20major%20feed%20grains%20are,grown%20in%20the%20Heartland%20region
  3. https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/forests/how-banks-deforestation-and-climate-crisis-are-linked/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwzLCVBhD3ARIsAPKYTcSukq3D-nzTAn9juVWA00wbWDAA8H3RP6dUsupgsrb53_fTjiWUdEUaAimTEALw_wcB
  4. https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/tropical-deforestation-and-global-warming
  5. https://www.futurekind.com/blogs/vegan/17-environmental-benefits-of-veganism
  6. https://www.truthordrought.com/water
  7. https://mercyforanimals.org/blog/animal-agriculture-wastes-one-third-of-drinkable/
  8. https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/australia-agriculture-climate-change-emissions-methane/
  9. https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/reports/fcrn_gnc_report.pdf
  10. https://www.fao.org/3/a0701e/a0701e07.pdf

 

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