Embrace the Vegan In You!
When speaking about the numerous ways humans can create a better earth by recycling; utilizing companies that create products, services and systems that save the environment; getting everyone from celebrities to entire countries to jump on the bandwagon and promote new gardens, wastewater management, etc., there is also a far more personal way to save the planet AND become healthier all at the same time.
As we all know, the issue of a healthy America is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, including politicians. Even corporations are now making employees get fit in order to receive discounts on their health insurance. Well, becoming a vegetarian has been around for a good, long time and it is still one of the most effective actions any person can take in order to relieve the pressure that has been placed on our planet’s resources.
Easing pollution, getting better control on global warming, saving creatures from extinction – all of this can be accomplished by changing our diets.
The way animals are bred for food is a true threat to the planet and it does cause a great deal of pollution, because to accomplish the breeding, extremely large quantities of water, petroleum, pesticides even drugs are used.
Even with the constant innovations in technology, if we really want to fix our issues, the simplest answer is still the right one: The best way to reduce the human impact on our environment is to eat less meat.
There are farming systems that literally end up devastating everything from forests to oceans, and even air, depending on the use of oil – and these systems are actually a facet that is responsible for climate change.
Groups of scientists all the way to the United Nations have done studies and research that state “human and ecological problems go hand in hand.” And we still have the issue of not having enough healthy meals to provide to over one billion mouths around the globe.
Let’s take a look at very specific issues when it comes to eating meat:
By eating approximately 230 thousand tons of animals a year, overheating the planet has become a huge issue. When breeding mostly chickens, cows, sheep and pigs, we end up emitting methane and other greenhouse gases. As with any issue, this is hotly debated by each side. It was back in 2006 that the UN calculated the combined climate change emissions of animals bred for their meat, were about 18% of the global total which was more than cars, planes, and trains combined. Oil is burned when taking animal carcasses to markets, electricity is used when keeping meat cool, gases and energy are used to harvest the crops that the animals eat – and the list goes on.
Now we come to the actual ruining of land. Our human population is expected to expand from one to three billion people; developing countries are expected to eat more meat, and global consumption of meat is on track to double in the next forty years. Available land is, quite simply, not going to be available anymore. Approximately 30% of the available area right now is used by livestock, or for growing food for those animals. Whereas a farm system for cattle and other livestock takes a great deal of land, a garden or ‘vegetarian’ world would take less than half that. There would be no gasses or emissions from the plantlife and a ‘green’ diet would enhance the soil and bring back natural habitats that have disappeared over the last decade.
Another tragic thought? If the grain fed to animals in western countries was consumed directly by people instead of using it to raise animal meat, the globe could feed at least twice as many people as it does right now, which means saving the lives of millions of hungry souls. Land has been overstocked, soil has eroded and flooding has commenced because of overgrazing.
Now…are there benefits? Yes, actually there are. Whether the other side wishes to cede this fact or not, animal manure actually revitalizes soil and there are millions of animals that are raised on what scientists refer to as marginal land; land that is completely unsuitable for vegetation or crops in the first place.
Deforestation is a problem that we are just starting to find solutions for. For thirty years agribusiness across the globe actually destroyed tropical rainforests. But it wasn’t for the trees, like you would first believe; it was actually for the land so that cattle could graze. Millions of hectares of trees have also been taken down to provide hamburgers for the United States, believe it or not, and even more devastation was happening on a regular basis three decades ago. Forests and land masses were wiped out that can never be replaced.
When you speak about polluting the air, ask anyone who has ever lived near a factory farm and they will tell you about the extreme scents that they receive. Greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, as well as other gases that the cows and pigs produce, create air that is simply not breathable. Manmade ammonia is a major contributor to acid rain and is also generated by livestock. In addition, concentrated factory farming of animals is a huge contributor to ozone pollution.
All of these issues bring humans illnesses that are getting worse and worse all the time. In a globe that is striving to be healthy and to get fit, obesity, cancers, heart diseases – all of these illnesses can come from a meat diet.
Therefore, before thinking about ordering that piece of steak, take a look at the salad bar. You will not believe the excellent food that’s just waiting there for you!