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Do your own research to find out the facts. For a starting point, click here: Global Warming and Meat Eating Vegan Diets Healthier for People and Planet - University of Chicago or Meat and the Environment For a comprehensive list on reports and articles click: List
The following article was written by Evan Driscoll, a staff writer at VegOnline.org VegOnline is a comprehensive website that covers a variety of topics regarding the vegan and vegetarian diet. Articles cover everything from vegetarian recipe to lifestyle, to tips on health.
Vegan Tips for Greener Eating
The world is in serious trouble, and it’s only getting worse. Someone dies of starvation every 2 seconds. Three species go extinct every hour. 1 acre of trees in the US is cut down every 8 seconds. Topsoil is eroding more quickly than ever. The Earth is warming at an alarming rate.
All this can seem paralyzing, but there are ways in which you can combat environmental degradation in your everyday life. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to follow the vegan diet. By abstaining from all meat products, you’ll be working a more sustainable diet into your lifestyle. Once you’ve properly assimilated veganism into your lifestyle, it becomes an almost effortless way to make a positive impact on the environment three times a day.
Meat production is responsible for all sorts of environmental degradation, polluting waterways from concentrated animal production, destroying topsoil, releasing huge amounts of methane gases and CO2, and inefficiently converting nutrient dense grains into meat. It takes roughly 10 calories of grain to produce 1 calorie of meat, with the other 9 calories being converted uselessly to heat. By not eating meat, you won’t be supporting this environmentally destructive industry built on the backs of living, breathing animals.
Beyond going vegan, you can take further steps to ensure that the food you’re eating is as environmentally friendly as possible. Here are some easy to take steps to lighten your footprint in your daily life.
.............................................Join Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Community Supported Agriculture is a system in which consumers pay farmers up front (usually $250 - $600) for a share of their food production over the growing season. The consumer receives a weekly box of fruit and vegetables usually picked up directly from the farm or from the Farmers’ Market.
By joining a CSA, not only will you be ensuring the most fresh and nutritionally packed produce for your body, but you’ll be supporting local agriculture. Most farms that offer CSA’s are small scale, organic operations that take environmental stewardship very seriously. Their livelihood is dependent on healthy soil, vibrant with life. By farming a smaller piece of land, they can afford to put more human hours into raising their crops, rather than relying on machines to up production to inhuman levels. Less carbon is emitted this way, and the soil is allowed to develop properly, without losing topsoil. Much of the land, in fact, becomes healthier as a result of most CSA farming techniques. The food you’ll be receiving will also be in season. Rather than eating tomatoes and avocados in December, shipped in from other parts of the world with warmer climates, you’ll be enjoying fresh produce from your region, limiting your carbon foot print and supporting your own local economy.
Most conventional, industrial farms are built on a foundation of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, which are detrimental to biodiversity and the environment. These synthetics pollute waterways, seeping into rivers and reservoirs, not to mention the toxins that they put into the bodies of those that eat their products. These are also made through extremely oil-intensive methods.
The organic label is a regulated by USDA standards and definitions. Organic regulations emphasize non-toxic, non-spray techniques for crop cultivation, relying more on organic fertilizers and compost to grow crops. Weeds are handled through cultivation, either by hand or machine, rather than use of synthetic fertilizers. By relying on these methods of cultivation, the resulting foods are healthier, cleaner, and better for the environment as a whole. Buy organic food and be a conscious consumer.
....................................................................Grow Your Own
What could be more local than your own backyard? If you have the space, try converting a small patch of lawn into a bountiful garden, and enjoy all the fresh produce that results. Even a relatively small 20’x20’ garden can provide more than enough produce for you and your family, with some excess to give to the neighbors. There is a small learning curb, of course, but after your first year you’ll be able to grow a considerable chunk of calories from your own yard.
By doing so you will be growing food that is oil-free; food that does not need to be transported thousands of miles or require huge energy (oil) inputs in order to grow them successfully. You’ll be increasing your autonomy by being able to grow your own food. Most of all, you’ll have an excuse to be outside under the sun, enjoying the natural environment that you want so desperately to preserve for future generations.
Eliminating animal food altogether saves half a hectare of forest (per person, per year) and reduces water consumption by 93% (in comparison to the amount of water required for a mixed, meat- based diet)
"In gross terms if you stop eating meat, you will reduce the amount of water you consume by more than two thirds,” he said. “That’s because the main use of irrigated water in Australia is for pasture for dairy and some beef production." Prof Rutherfurd, Charles Sturt University’s Institute for Land, Water and Society. More here:
Save water by becoming vegetarian.
A day's food for a meat eater requires over 15,000L of water
A day's food for a vegetarian requires 5,000L of water
A day's food for a vegan requires 1,500L of water
Above information from the Vegan Society
.......................................Livestock's Long Shadow - United Nations Report 2006
In late 2006, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations released a report on livestock impact on the environment and Global Warming.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Report, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.
With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.
Based on this report, senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization official Dr. Henning Steinfeld stated that the meat industry is “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems" and that "urgent action is required to remedy the situation."
The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution, euthropication and the degeneration of coral reefs. The major polluting agents are animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops. Widespread overgrazing disturbs water cycles, reducing replenishment of above and below ground water resources. Significant amounts of water are withdrawn for the production of feed.
Read the full United Nations report - Livestock's Long Shadow
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