Producing livestock for human consumption is the largest contributor of greenhouse gases, water pollution and soil degradation on the planet. Did you know that more than 90% of all Amazon rainforests cleared since 1970 are used as grazing lands to hold livestock for human consumption? By reducing the amount of animal protein consumed, we can drastically slow the progression of climate change.
What is Animal Agriculture?
Animal agriculture involves the production of livestock and animal by-products for human consumption. Animal agriculture has grown substantially over the last two decades. As nations urbanize and incomes rise, their citizens diversify their diets and consume more calories; including more animal-based foods such as beef, dairy, pork, chicken, eggs and fish. The detriment this is having on our planet is the single greatest cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Taking efforts to reduce our animal protein consumption is necessary for the future of our planet. Consuming less meat and more plants is also a great benefit for our health.
Facts about animal agriculture:
- Animal agriculture is the number one use of land by mankind. It accounts for 75% of all agricultural land.
- Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land.
- Livestock and their by-products account for at least 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
- Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all freshwater consumption in the world today.
- Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
- Animal ag’s increase has led to mass productions of GMO corn and grains for feeding cows. Since this isn’t a cow’s typical diet of grass, cows are not only releasing toxic gases, they are also repeatedly ill – therefore they are pumped with antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals.
- Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.
- 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
- Emissions for animal agriculture are projected to increase 80% by 2050.
- 80 million metric tons of methane is released from cow burps every year.
- Reducing meat consumption by 30% would cut food-related emissions by 29%. Adopting vegetarian diets would cut them by 63%, and vegan diets by 70%.
- People who consume a plant-based lifestyle live an average of 9 years longer than meat eaters – and have dramatically lower rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
How can I make an impact?
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Start by cutting out animal protein one to two days a week.
- Source meat from local, organic, free range companies.
- Support restaurants that purchase sustainably sourced organic meat and plant-based options.
- Reduce packaged foods that contain meat products and by-products.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1.
- Reduce meat and dairy consumption to 2-3 times weekly.
- Buy fish that is locally sourced or responsibly wild caught.
- If you have a yard space or land, raise chickens to produce eggs and meat.
- Incorporate more meat alternatives, or substitute meat for beans and vegetables.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Actions 1 & 2.
- Implement a 100% plant based diet
- Look for organic, sustainably sourced foods from your local community.
- Start community initiatives that spread awareness of the effects of animal agriculture on the planet and individual health.
- Encourage your friends and family to reduce their animal protein consumption.
- Donate to non-profit corporations that are working to reduce animal agriculture and protect the environment.
- Choose to be an Ambassador for Change, and always Spread Love and Spread Light.