Did you know that it takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce a single gallon of milk? Or that there are approximately 270 million dairy cows worldwide? The USDA has forecasted an increase in dairy production for 2019 – creating additional stress on our natural resources and environment. By reducing the amount of dairy we consume, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially – as well as improve our personal health.
Milk gives you strong bones; fact or fiction?
As the dairy industry boosts milk production – the dairy cow is not the only life suffering. In regards to human health, dairy is the number one source of saturated fats in the standard American diet. Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease. Studies have also linked dairy to an increased risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancers – as well as research stating that dairy products have little or no benefit for bone health. Numerous health professionals have reported that there are no negative side effects to removing dairy from your diet. Let’s look at the implications dairy production is having on our environment.
Dairy and the Environment:
- Commercial dairies with 10,000 milk cows release an average of 3,575 pounds of ammonia, 33,092 pounds of methane and 409 pounds of nitrous oxide into the environment every day.
- 2.5 liters of wastewater is created for every 1 liter of milk produced. Runoffs from corrals can wash manure into streams and rivers, causing water pollution.
- It is estimated that 4,781 gallons of water are used for each cow, every day, for their food needs alone.
- 80 million metric tons of methane is released from cow burps annually.
- Dairy facilities that use an automatic “flushing” system for manure clean up, use 150 gallons of water per cow, per day.
- 80% of all soy and 60-65% of all corn is grown solely to feed livestock.
How can I make an impact?
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Reduce your milk consumption by switching to plant based alternatives.
- You can easily substitute non-dairy versions of cream and butter when preparing meals.
- Read labels and inform yourself on the alternative names for dairy. Milk, cream, casein, and whey – are just a few of the names for dairy.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1.
- Research the effects consuming dairy products can have on your health.
- Purchasing foods that are labeled vegan, will ensure there is no dairy.
- Substitute nutritional yeast for cheese, or purchase plant based cheese alternatives.
- Make the switch to almond, oat or coconut creamer for your morning coffee.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Actions 1 & 2.
- Start making your own nut and seed milks. It is cost effective, extremely easy to make, and saves that pesky packaging.
- Lobby your local Congress to improve the environmental standards of dairy production, as well as the well-being of dairy cows.
- Watch “Cowspiracy.” By seeing what is going on in these facilities – we can make a more informed decision on which products we choose to support.
- Choose to be an Ambassador for Change, and always Spread Love and Spread Light.