The Climate And What You Eat
How What You Eat Matters To Combat Climate Change
I'm often asked, what's the single most impactful thing a person can do to have a positive impact on the planet and my answer is always that same. Stop eating animals. Veganism isn't something I've been at for decades ( as I write this I'm just now celebrating three years as a vegan ) and it's still something I'm figuring out. I've become committed to leading a vegan life after reading and researching just how harmful a meat based diet is to our planet and to our overall health as humans.
This post could go on for days, seriously that's how much information there is out there on this topic but I'm not a scientist, a nutritionist or an expert even on climate change. The intention of this entry is to open you up to the negative impacts of animal agriculture on our lands, to shine a light on the harmfulness of animals to the human body and to hopefully encourage you to take the plunge and give Veganism a try.
Animals Agriculture Is Killing Our Planet
The global appetite of a meat heavy diet has resulted in the need to raise over 70 billion animals each year. That's a lot of animals that need a lot of land to grow. We are devoting 1/3 of the planets ice free land surface and 16% of our global fresh water to grow and cultivate livestock. Now to add on to that number, we have to think about the amount of land being used to grow feed for these 70 billion animals.
Would you believe me that 1/3 of the worlds grain production goes to creating animal feed? It's shocking to think just how much land is being used to grow, cultivate and raise food for animal agriculture. Surely if we took back this land and gave it to the people to grow food for human consumption we could really start to fight the fight against food scarcity and food insecurity.
It's Not Just Animals
The negative effects animal agriculture has on our planet doesn't just stop with the raising, housing and feeding of the livestock. These farms are some of the largest contributors to deforestation, water pollution and air pollution on our planet. In the South American rainforests alone, over 70% of the forest has been leveled to make room for raising animals and growing their feed. That's an astonishing number and it's not slowing down. The rainforests of South America have been called thew lungs of Earth. What do we really expect to happen when all of it's gone?
And because someone's gotta mention it, here we go.... animals are living breathing things and living breathing things use the bathroom. True Story. Unfortunately, the waste from animals isn't treated and runs into our water ways with a concoction of pesticides, antibiotics and heavy metals.
If we believe that everything is connected and that water is life, then why are we ok with allowing this sewage to seep into our waterways further polluting the lands it runs though and the oceans it empties into? And we haven't even talked about the loss of wild animals and biodiversity and ecosystems due to the large swaths of land being raised every year to make room for our ever growing want of meat.
Taking Care Of The Planet Takes Care Of You
Destroying lands and polluting waterways, even if those lands are far removed from your homeland, have an impact on you. When we allow our forests to be taken down, we loose the most important carbon collectors our planet has. When we allow our waters to run with sewage produced by way of animal agriculture and do nothing to stop hog lagoons from being a thing.... it's a thing, really, and it's sick..... our lands, oceans and its people suffer.
A Vegan Diet Is Planet Friendly
A few beneficial things start to take hold when you switch to a vegan diet. You cut your food related carbon emissions in half. You use up to 600 gallons less of water compared to a meat heavy diet. Your whole health improves and you could even lengthen your life expectancy.
It's a way of life that has for too long been looked at and judged with eyes of bewilderment. I too once shouted to the ends of the Earth that I would never go vegan. That I couldn't, I just couldn't give up my beloved cheese. Or that I worked out too much and wouldn't have enough protein in my diet to survive.
Well I can attest to you that three years on and a full ironman later that plants can truly give you all the nutrients you need and then some. As the saying goes, I could never go vegan, said every vegan!