Environmental Benefits of a Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyle:
*Links to original sources below or in highlighted blue*
1. Reduce Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions and slow the pace of Climate Change
The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) in 2006 that 18 percent of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions are caused by livestock/livestock agriculture, according to “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” In 2013 the FAO changed the number to 14.5 percent. Since then, this number has been assessed to be vastly larger when environmental specialists employed by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation of UN specialized agencies have developed a widely-cited assessment that at least 51 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas is attributable to livestock. (1)
This is a huge deal because by 2020 greenhouse gas may increase to irreversibly catastrophic levels if nothing is done to change course, according to the International Energy Agency.
“Indeed, there is surely no more compelling motivation to act than the knowledge that replacing livestock products with better alternatives may be the only pragmatic way to stop catastrophic climate change from imperiling much of life on earth.”- Robert Goodland
2. Reduce the amount of global water being used
The livestock sector accounts for over 8 percent of global human water use, mostly for the irrigation of feedcrops. (2) It is contributing to eutrophication, “dead” zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reefs, human health problems, the emergence of antibiotic resistance and many others.
In the production of food, these are some statistics on how much water it takes to produce products in relation to animal agriculture
- 2,500 gallons/pound to produce beef,
- 477 gallons/pound to produce eggs,
- 900 gallons/1 pound to produce cheese and
- 1,00 gallons/gallon to produce milk (3)
But on the contrary for vegetable agriculture
- 141 gallons/pound to produce avocado,
- 257 gallons/pound to produce soybeans-
- 302 gallons/pound to produce tofu,
- 501 gallons/pound to produce chickpeas/garbanzo beans
- 222 gallons/pound to produce pasta
- 299 gallons/pound to produce rice (4)
3. Reduce pollution levels
Major sources of pollution are from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feedcrops, and sediments from eroded pastures. (3) Every purchase we make is supporting some amount of pollution whether it’s a by-product of animal agriculture like animal waste, or simply the pollution from transporting products because even vegetables create some pollution.
4. Reduce deforestation
The livestock sector is a major driver of deforestation, as well as one of the leading drivers of land degradation, and overfishing. In “Livestock’s Long Shadow” the FAO underestimated the amount of land used for livestock and feed production – estimating it at 30 percent of all land on earth, while ILRI has estimated it at 45 percent. Livestock production along with deforestation and forest-burning has caused a dramatic decline in the earth’s ability to use trees to naturally help us reduce excess atmospheric carbon.
*A step we can take today towards reducing deforestation and excess atmospheric carbon is to stop supporting the animal agriculture industry in favor of more sustainable agriculture of plant matter for human consumption. Also, plant a few trees and adopt a few house plants.
List of my favorite vegetarian and vegan blogs/websites:
Oh She Glows – Canadian food blog with real food recipes that taste amazing… my go to for new recipes I haven’t thought of
Minimalist Baker – Recipes that are 10 ingredients or less, in 30 mins or less food blog with vegetarian and vegan options for the whole family
No Meat Athlete – Vegetarian and vegan advice and recipes for fitness, staying active and enjoying what you eat
Vegan Information Starter Kit – Great info on being vegan and what it means.
Barnivore– Search engine for most alcohol to see if its vegan friendly.
Please feel free to leave a comment or question on anything… if you want it to be more personal shoot me an email at email@example.com
From my heart to yours, <3 Jessa
“[T]hose who claim to care about the well-being of human beings and the preservation of our environment should become vegetarians for that reason alone. They would thereby increase the amount of grain available to feed people elsewhere, reduce pollution, save water and energy, and cease contributing to the clearing of forests.…
“[W]hen nonvegetarians say that ‘human problems come first’ I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to continue to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals.”
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, 1990
“A single dairy cow produces about 120 pounds of wet manure per day, which is equivalent to the waste produced by 20–40 people. That means California’s 1.4 million dairy cows produce as much waste as 28–56 million people.”
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Notes from Underground, Fall 2001