Published on January 30, 2009
Screaming Chicken Productions Presents
An Environmental Argument for Vegetarianism
With the environmental movement gaining popularity in today’s society, people are making numerous changes in the way their actions affect the environment. Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” has made being green a national issue.
Being Eco-friendly has become a hot topic in everything from elections to tote bags. People are willing to buy different brands of cars, drive less, recycle more, and use clean electricity among many other things.
However, the biggest cause of global warming has often been overlooked in the “green revolution”. This cause is modern intensive animal agriculture.
Modern Animal Agriculture
A recent United Nations study found that animal agriculture accounts for over 18% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The study found that it is the top contributor to serious environmental problems for the following reasons.
Each year there are approximately 150 billion animals that are brought into existence only to be killed within that same year. Each of these animals creates enormous amounts of methane, which is like carbon dioxide but is 29 times more potent then C02.
This is a serious problem as animal production increases, so to will methane. This means that there will be increasingly more dangerous methane particles being emitted into the earth in the near future.
“ Dangerous methane particles being emitted into the earth”
Furthermore, cattle ranching has become a booming business, and accounts for much of the earth’s forest depletion and soil degradation. Grazing by animal’s accounts for over fifty percent of topsoil damage and the degradation of plants, resulting in everything from floods to the loss of biodiversity.
“ Flooding resulting from deforestation”
In general agriculture uses over 30% of the earth’s surface, and animal agriculture accounts for 78% of this use, making the impact of soil and forest degradation quite massive.
In North America, animal agriculture accounts – in some way- for over 80% of land use, contributing to almost all of North America’s soil degradation.
“ Soil degradation”
Animals, like all of us, have to eat and in turn there needs to be enough food for us to feed them. This creates an inefficient cycle in which food is “wasted”.
It is estimated that “the world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people.” This creates an inefficient use of the earth’s limited water resources.
“ The world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people.”
Animals used in agriculture also need to drink as well as eat food. These animals use so much water that nearly half of all the water used in the United States goes in some way towards animal agriculture. To produce one pound of beef requires over 2,400 litres of water
“ To produce one pound of beef requires over 2,400 litres of water”
Because of these combined factors, Animal Agriculture is the number one cause of global warming. Logically, the best way to stop Global Warming, as well as the above problems is to follow a plant based diet.
It should be noted however that one should take care in making the switch to a plant based diet. Please visit these sites for more info on plant based eating: Veganhealth.org Goveg.com Tryveg.com
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