A plant-based diet and the environmental Impact
Maybe you’ve heard a lot lately that following a vegan or plant-based diet helps the planet. But you may be wondering what global warming and the extinction of animals have to do with what we put on our plate. The truth is that it is entirely related. To prove it, we will start with a fact: in the United States alone, the farm industry produces 300 million tons of waste per year!
With that said, let’s break it down:
Water: Plant-based diet helps to maintain levels
According to the Water Footprint agency, producing a single gallon of milk costs 1,000 gallons of water. This staggering statistic by itself should be enough to ward off any conscientious individual from animal products.
According to the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, 87 percent of all freshwater used in the US is used in agriculture. This is because it takes about 100 times more water to produce a pound of animal protein than a pound of plant protein.
Air: improve quality
Do you remember those more than 300 million tons of waste that we mentioned at the beginning? Well, they are also responsible for producing ammonia, the most potent form of nitrogen, which kills fish, causes algae blooms, and contributes to smog. On the other hand, it has been found that the air surrounding factory farms often contains levels of hydrogen sulfide, particulates, endotoxins, carbon dioxide, or methane which are higher than average
Carbon: reduce the footprint
The devastating contribution of animal agriculture to global warming is undeniable.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Let’s go back to those now famous 300 million tons of waste. In reality, they are nothing more than 300 million tons of manure, which is responsible for 37 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Manure produces large amounts of methane, a gas that heats the earth 20 times faster than carbon dioxide. If we add to this data the transport and fuel used to grow food for livestock, you can already imagine the carbon footprint’s size!
Animals and Plants: we can still save them
Did you know that almost a third of the world’s arable land is used for animal agriculture? Much of it just to feed pigs, cattle, and chickens.
It is for this reason that animal agriculture contributes so actively to deforestation and desertification. These two phenomena contribute to the extinction of entire species of animals such as orangutans, red pandas, or sloths.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that livestock grazing affects 14 percent of threatened or endangered animals and 33 percent of threatened or endangered plants.
If you have visited the Gulf of Mexico or the Mississippi Delta lately, you will understand what we are talking about. Pollution of the river with pellet waste from the Midwest has caused a dead zone of 8,500 square feet that has killed all marine life, creating a blanket of “algae” covering the precious turquoise waters of this corner of ??the planet.
This is because factory farm waste is stored in giant ponds and applied untreated to fertilize crops. These wastes cannot be absorbed by the soil and find their way into groundwater and then into rivers and oceans, where they destroy marine ecosystems.
Summing up about: Choose a plant-based diet
By choosing a diet free of animal products, we choose to support the ecosystem, animals, plants, and the planet in general. What’s going to be?
Eager to start? Discover everything you need here!