Is Your Diet Destroying The Environment?

Written by Randy Fritz, co-creator with Diana at Real Food for Life.

5 Reasons Why the Food on Your Plate is More Important Than the Car You Drive:

Many people who “go green” consider buying something major like a hybrid car.  A larger contribution to the environment is not in your driveway though, but in your fridge right now.

The climate change cost of animal meat production is greater than the cost of cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.

This is not just vegetarians or health advocates saying this either. The World Health Organization, Scientific American, New Scientist and Readers Digest have all come out with clear information on this fact.

Effects of Meat Production on the Planet

1. Cow Farts:
Cattle farting (and burping) methane – as has been joked about in the media – is a factor in global warming.

2. Plant Displacement:
The biggest impact of meat production is that it displaces useful plants.  Trees, grasses and other year-round plants are what absorb CO2 and capture carbon on this planet but they are displaced for specific crops to house and feed cattle.

3. Water Pollution:
Rearing animals for meat contributes significantly to water pollution. Animal waste, antibiotics and hormones enter the water cycle alongside chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops.

4. Water Usage:
Raising cattle for food is incredibly inefficient in terms of water. Meat production is different in different parts of the world but even the more efficient systems use 1,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef.

5. Overgrazing:
Overgrazing by cattle and other meat producing animals is so hard on the land that it can’t maintain any productive vegetation.

By the Numbers: Did You Know…?

One Fifth:
The amount of all pastures and ranges turned to desert by overgrazing for meat.

One:
The number of meat-eating dogs it takes to match the carbon footprint of one gas guzzling SUV.

Three:
The number of hours of driving it takes to match the greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution of one kilogram of beef.

Twenty:
The number of vegetarians who could live on the same amount of land as one meat-eater.

Twelve Thousand:
The number of gallons of water needed to raise a single pound of beef (in the inefficient production methods often used in North America).

220 Billion:
The number of gallons of hormone-, antibiotic- and bacteria-laden animal waste dumped onto farmland and into waterways from meat factory farms.


My Own Opinion

There are certainly many ways to save the environment and consuming less meat is a great part.

But…

People are slow to change their eating habits and the connection to the environment is not apparent to most.

I have found though, that when a person becomes interested in taking responsibility for their own health – they almost always become more environmentally conscious. They then start taking a number of “green” steps quite naturally.

That is what I try to help people with and one reason why we started RealFoodForLife.com.

Recipes and Ideas to Help You Go Meatless:

Have YOU Helped Save the Environment In This Way or Others?

87 comments

Gerald L.
Gerald L2 years ago

Industrial PHARMING is destroying the Environment with RoundUp Ready crops, Herbicides, Nitrate fertilizers, Anti-Biotic Resistant meats, Glyphosate is also Anti-Biotic. So those who are consuming Non-Organic soy products are part of the problem.

The Verbicide Commandments; that using Honey Bee's = Animal Exploitation = shooting yourself in the foot.

List of crop plants pollinated by bees - Wikipedia, the free ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crop_plants_pollinated_by_bees‎
Honey bees will pollinate many plant species that are not native to their natural habitat but are often inefficient pollinators of such plants. Some plants, such as ...

Making statements like this is a discredit to the vegan cry; 4. Water Usage:
Raising cattle for food is incredibly inefficient in terms of water. Meat production is different in different parts of the world but even the more efficient systems use 1,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef.

Really 1.500 gallons per pound? Oop's now it's 12,000 gallons on page 2; Twelve Thousand:
The number of gallons of water needed to raise a single pound of beef (in the inefficient production methods often used in North America).

Author Diana Herrington also states; Better than cows milk and yummy too: Almond Milk

There are 3,500 Food Miles for a quart of Almond Milk to reach my local Grocer, when there is cow & goat milk produced 5 miles from home. And Bee's are trucked across the Continental US to pollina

Mary Cromley
.2 years ago

This article is just another ad for Diane Herrington's website.

Anastasia R.
Anastasia R.2 years ago

Soon FOR SUSPICIOUS REASONS they will forbid us to fart!

katarzyna phillips

i liked the information provided, the numbers part was quite revealing. there will always be meat eaters and one thing i'm kind of surprised you haven't mentioned is about how fishing can have an effect on the environment in a negative way too

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla4 years ago

Thank you for posting!
For so many reasons (environmental, animal cruelty, and health) people should stop eating meat or decrease its consumption!

Michael C.
Michael C5 years ago

Could we, for the sake of clarity cease to use the term Global Warming, it only confuses the sheeple.

Try Global Climate Change (GCC), Anthropogeniic Climate Change is more to the point but it too is difficult for the sheeple to understand.

Think of it this way, a solar panel is a hot water panel, not a solar electric module. Trust, there is a difference, just as there is in the above paragraph.

Tom R.
Tom R.5 years ago

I don't know, is it?

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/39na3.pdf

Cinzia B.
Cynthia B5 years ago

Vegan people are not extremist,they are COHERENT people!

Marie B.
Past Member 5 years ago

@Bonnie/Randi--it's not just a "personal choice" it is a choice that displays compassion, empathy and respect for all sentient beings. It is a choice that is gentler to the environment. It is a choice that is a more compassionate, caring, conscious one. No one is "pushing" anything. They are expressing their beliefs, experiences and concerns for animals, the environment and the future of humankind. No one has 'lost credibility' and vegans/vegetarians are NEVER going to stop stating our views and speaking out against the suffering of others or against the devastation of our environment. No one is forcing you to read these posts.

Also, personally, I don't mind being called an "extremist". I am also an "extremist" when fighting against child abuse, rape, spousal abuse, exploitation of humans or non humans, animal cruelty, racism, sexism, speciesism....etc...I am an extremist when ANY being is being exploited, harmed, or needlessly killed. I'm proud to be an "extremist". I don't believe in being half-assed about serious issues, therefore feel free to call me an 'extremist' because I will ALWAYS fight 100% to end the suffering of others.

Being vegan is better for human health, it is gentler to the environment, uses far less resources than animal agriculture, and it is the ultimate way to show genuine compassion, empathy and respect for animals.

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M5 years ago

Thanks, Randi for this:
..those who choose a VEGGIE or VEGAN LIFESTYLE that is a personal choice----please stop pushing your personal chosen lifestyle onto the public as it has gotten old and lost credibility.
.. some of those who advocate certain lifestyles are often judgmental and unbearable extremists.. and believe they are the only group who have it right.