5 Facts About Veganism and Environment


Cows looking at the viewer

Veganism is usually associated only with animal rights. While this is, indeed, a crucial part of the concept, there's another essential aim in it, namely environmental protection.

Here are 5 interesting facts on this topic.

1. Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emission than all transports combined

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than combined exhaust from all transportation. The latter is responsible for 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions. 

2. 9460 litres of water are needed to produce 450 grams of beef

Livestock production uses 70% of global freshwater. Only 22% of fresh water is used by industry and 8% for domestic purposes.  

3. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of Ocean dead zone as well as water pollution

The widespread use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers used in the production of feed crops often interferes with the reproductive systems of animals and poisons waterways. Additionally, for every kilgoram of fish caught up to 4,5 kg of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill.

4. Livestock covers 45% of the Earth's total land

3/4 of the world’s agricultural land is used to raise animals, which includes grazing and growing crops to feed them. 

5. Globally cows produce an average of 500 billion litres of methane per day

Methane is 25–100 times more destructive than CO2 in a 20 year time frame.

    Veganism & Environment

    Plant foods require much less than animal foods: potatoes, vegetables and cereals require around 290, 322 and 1644 litres of water per kilogram respectively. Cheese, pork and beef require 5060, 5990 and 15400 litres respectively. Studies have shown that going vegan could halve the greenhouse gas emission from food consumption. That's a 50% reduction just by cutting out animal foods.

    Veganism is magic

    Sources

    1. A Vegan Diet Is Best For The Planet: The Data Shows Why
    2. Cowspiracy: The Facts
    3. Hyner, Christopher. "A Leading Cause of Everything: One Industry That Is Destroying Our Planet and Our Ability to Thrive on It". Georgetown Environmental Law Review. October 23, 2015. 
    4. Shindell, Drew T, et al. "Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions". Science. 326, 716 (2009)
    5. Pimentel, David, et al. "Water Resources: Agricultural and Environmental Issues". BioScience. (2004) 54 (10): 909-918
    6. Mekonnen, Mesfin M. & Hoekstra, Arjen Y. "A Global Assessment of the Water Footprint of Farm Animal Products". Ecosystems (2012) 15: 401-415
    7. "What is a dead zone?" National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    8. "Impact of habitat loss on species". WWF Global
    9. Tilman, David, et al. "Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices". Nature 418, 671-677. August 2002
    10. Wilcove, David S, et al. "Quantifying Threats to Imperiled Species in the United States". BioScience. Vol. 48, No. 8 (Aug., 1998) pp. 607-615
    11. Walsh, Bryan. "The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production". Time. Dec. 16, 2013
    12. Thornton, Phillip, et al. "Livestock and climate change". Livestock xchange. International Livestock Research Institute. November 2011
    13. Vaidyanathan, Sayathri. "How Bad of a Greenhouse Gas is Methane? The global warming potential of the gaseous fossil fuel may be consistently underestimated". Scientific American. December 22, 2015.
    14. Ross, Phillip. "Cow Farts Have 'Larger Greenhouse Gas Impact' Than Previously Thought; Methane Pushes Climate Change". International Business Times. 26 November, 2013
    15. Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers

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