Environmental Veganism

In 2010 the United Nations declared that to prevent further global warming, the planet should shift toward a plant-based diet. Animal production in the area of agriculture is environmentally unsustainable.1  Industrial agriculture is more damaging than sustainable farming practices like organic farming and other types.2 Getting grain to feed animals is way more inefficient than directly harvesting food for humans to consume. A person eating a diet of mostly animals or animal products requires ten times more land than someone eating plant-based diets.3

New York Times states that  “assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests.”3 And here’s a sad fact: in the world there are 800 million people suffering from hunger or malnutrition, but the majority of corn and soy production is going towards feeding cattle, pigs and chickens.3 New York Times also believes that “the argument that meat provides useful protein makes sense, if the quantities are small. But the claim ‘you gotta eat meat’ collapses at American levels. Even if the amount of meat we eat weren’t harmful, it’s way more than enough.”3

According to the EPA, 3/4 of all water quality issues are from our country’s agriculture, and in 2000 agricultural pollution was the leading source of water quality impacts on surveyed rivers and lakes, and was the second largest source of impairments to wetlands, and was a major contributor to contamination of surveyed estuaries and ground water.4

Solution? “The world must create five billion vegans in the next several decades, or triple its total farm output without using more land” according to Dennis Avery, Director of the Centre for Global Food Issues. I think the first of the two options sounds like a much better plan, but how can we truly convince so many people that what they are consuming is killing animals, themselves, and the planet? I ask myself that question daily, and it is one of the main reasons for my blog: to inform as many people as I can about these issues and hopefully get some converts who will in turn spread veganism in their own circles.

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1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_vegetarianism#cite_note-0

2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673609617530

3. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bittman.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Rethinking+the+Meat-Guzzler&st=nyt&oref=slogin

4. http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/agriculture.cfm, www.epa.gov/owow/NPS/Ag_Runoff_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Livestock’s Long Shadow: http://www.globalmethane.org/expo_china07/docs/postexpo/ag_gerber.pdf

Millenium Development Goals Report 2010: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Resources/Static/Products/Progress2010/MDG_Report_2010_En.pdf

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