change your car, change your diet April 03, 2009 2:22 AM
The University of California, San Diego student organization: VEG (Vegetarian Environmentalist Group) is happy to present an online petition which aims to reduce the livestock industry via means of removal of governmental subsidies for livestock farmers as well as implementation of tax for livestock products for their detrimental external social burden on the environment. If you are still unfamiliar with the relationship between livestock production and the environment, I have listed the key facts below. Here is our petition link:
Please support us and help us spread the word! This is definitely an attempt at a baby toward in the right direction!
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: SUMMARY OF LIVESTOCK'S IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
(SOURCE: 2006 UNITED NATIONS FAO REPORT, LIVESTOCK'S LONG SHADOW)
Our current livestock industry is responsible for emitting 37% of all human-induced Methane, 65% of all human-induced Nitrous Oxide, 9% of all human-induced Carbon Dioxide, and 64% of human-induced Ammonia. The Carbon Dioxide equivalent of livestock industry emissions is 18%, which is greater than all transportation combined (transportation CO2 equivalent is 12%). So, we need to decrease the livestock industry along with turning to alternative transportation systems (like biking!!). We cannot just pin global warming on one single source and go from there, all aspects need to adapt to the current climate crisis.
In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions, livestock current needs 36% of the world grain and 74% of the world soy to sustain its industry. If you think about it, this is not sustainable at all in the long run. It is definitely not an efficient usage of world crop supplies.
Now lets talk water. Water is essential for survival. Did you know that California currently imports 100% of its clean water supply? Yes... and we are not increasing our world water supply. Yes, there are technologies being researched to desaltize the ocean waters, but think about the cost of that. Its not a quick and easy solution. The best solution would be for everyone to be frugal. While major medias are telling us to conserve water during showers and toothbrushing, they are leaving out a major part of water usage.
According to the Stockholm International Water Institute, 20% of all world water supply goes to industries, 10% of all water goes to households, and 70% of all water goes to producing food. These statistics awaken a lot of people because if you think about how much water we use in industries and households (its A LOT), many folds more is going to agriculture. Now get this: within the agricultural business (which uses 70% of all our clean water), 1 POUND OF LETTUCE takes 23 gallons of water to produce, 1 POUND OF WHEAT takes 25 gallons of water, 1 POUND OF APPLES take 49 gallons of water, 1 POUND OF CHICKEN takes 815 gallons of water, 1 POUND OF PORK takes 1,630 gallons of water, and 1 POUND OF BEEF takes 5,214 gallons of water. (You can do some research online to see how to have defined these water usage values according to pounds) So now the question is, one plate of dinner will fill most of us up (some go for seconds, thirds, but anyways..). If you fill that one plate with meat, thats 6000 gallons of water or more. If you fill that one plate up with rice and veggies (this can be tasty faux meat too!), it takes less than 100 gallons of water. Please, be frugal and responsible. Imagine a planet with no more water.
Here are just some additional costs of livestock production. Did you know that livestock farming land takes up 70% of all agricultural land, and 30% of world's ice-free terrestrial surface? Yup. And for the forest lovers (we should all love forests, they are the lungs of our planet), 70% of the Amazon rainforest is currently being occupied by pastures; feedcrops occupy a large sector of the remaining 30%.
Everyone talks about saving energy now with new bulbs, solar power, etc. Well why not talk about food, too. The livestock sector requires 16 times more fossil fuel energy than other sectors of agriculture. Moreover, livestock is increasingly being fed with grains and cereals that could have been consumed by humans, converting only up to 33% of its nutrients for our consumption.
Lastly (for my purposes), the U.S. livestock sector alone produces 900 million tons of manure annually. Immense lagoons used to store waste are known to heavily degrade the surrounding air and water, creating dead zones within our clean bodies of water. Besides harming our precious marine life, its nice to know that we are surrounded by 80% of water of this planet. So if our ocean dies, we probably dont have much of a chance for survival either.
All in all, its good that we are more aware of global warming and finally (most people) recognize it as partially (if not mostly) human caused. Now, besides being frugal, using a reusable bag, riding a bike or taking the bus, changing lightbulbs, and saving shower time, please also change your diet. It really makes a huge impact, even though it seems like youre just intaking a piece of meat, that piece of meat came from loads of environmental damage (as well as suffering!). Inaction is inexcusable. If youre a non-vegetarian, go vegetarian. If youre already a vegetarian, go vegan. If youre already a vegan... go organic :) Of course, if you can go straight to organic vegan that is the best for the environment in terms of personal contribution. Be Veg, Be Green, Save the Planet. (doubtful? do research!)
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