The majority of vegans choose this lifestyle for ethical reasons. Their eyes are opened to the evils and suffering caused by the modern meat industry and they decide that they no longer want to be a part of the bloody cycle.
While a vegan lifestyle is certainly more ethical than a non-vegan lifestyle, many people don’t know that going vegan is also better for the environment! It may not be the main reason why people go vegan, but the health and future of our environment is just as important as our ethics.
Going vegan reduces your carbon footprint, increases global water supply, is better for the soil, and could be the key to saving our oceans from decimation. Below, I’m going to show you the top benefits of being vegan for the environment, so you can take pride in the everyday difference you’re making.
Being Vegan Is Better For The Environment: Here’s Why
Due to rapid population growth, industrial manufacturing, fossil fuels, and commercial agriculture, our planet is starting to suffer. Pollution is also a huge problem, and one that’s linked to all four items mentioned above. Recent studies indicate that the very air we breathe could become semi-toxic within the next ten to twenty years, if changes are not made.
Here are some of the top reasons why going vegan is better for the environment.
The Meat Industry Produces Tons Of Greenhouse Gasses
According to recent studies, meat production accounts for 60% of all food-related greenhouse gasses. Greenhouse gasses are atmospheric gasses that are released into the atmosphere, primarily by humans and our operations. They include:
- Carbon dioxide
- Nitrous Oxide
Greenhouse gasses don’t just “disappear” into space. Instead, they’re trapped by earth’s atmosphere, where they can take years (or even decades) to break down. As we’re only continuing to produce more greenhouse gasses, we’ve never given our atmosphere a chance to recover.
If we don’t find a solution soon, these trapped gasses will eventually disrupt the delicate balance of gasses that all life on earth breathes and needs for life. It also contributes to global warming, rising tides, and potentially catastrophic weather events.
1) Methane & Nitrous Oxide Emissions
Methane and nitrous oxide are the two primary greenhouse gasses propagated by the meat industry. These are primarily released by processing livestock waste and by livestock themselves.
For example, a single cow releases an average of 220 pounds of methane gas into the atmosphere every single year, just from its natural digestive process. There are just over 1.5 billion cows on our planet, which account for hundreds of billions of methane waste.
The only reason why there are this many cows in the first place is for human meat and dairy consumption. While cows and beef are responsible for the majority of meat-based atmospheric pollution, other forms of meat like poultry and pork are also contributors.
In contrast, eating plant-based meat and vegan meat alternatives produce 90% fewer greenhouse gasses, making them far more sustainable for the planet.
2) Energy Consumption
Turning cows into meat requires a lot of transportation. In fact, some American farms even ship their slaughter to China for packaging before it’s returned to the U.S. to be sold on store shelves. In addition to the fossil fuel emissions for shipping, a single pound of beef requires just over 31.5 kilowatts of energy from start to finish.
3) Water Footprint
Plant-based food requires far less water to produce than meat. Water is easy to take for granted in America, where we all have access to affordable bottled water and low-cost public water. Sadly, it’s not the same for the rest of the world.
At our current rate of population growth and global water consumption, experts estimate that around 700 million individuals will experience water shortages in the next decade.
It requires an average of 1,879 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef from start to finish. By contrast, a pound of vegetables only requires 39 gallons of water. To learn more, check out this informative visual by Denver Water:
Plant-Based Eating Can Reduce Animal Extinction Rates
Livestock farming and meat production often go hand-in-hand with deforestation. For example, in South America, millions of acres of rainforest are chopped down every year to make room for farms. Deforestation can lead to extinction, increased animal-human conflict, and can even threaten indigenous tribes.
Going Vegan Is Better For The Ocean & Waterways
Lastly, going vegan could be the key to saving our ocean. Mass fishing has driven many fish species to the verge of extinction. Plastic pollution is another major problem that’s contaminating the ocean as well as freshwater rivers and lakes.
Going vegan reduces global demand for fish, and if enough people participate, it may put a stop to overfishing practices. You can also help the ocean by switching to vegan-friendly face wash, soap, and other everyday items to reduce toxic pollution in our waterways.
In Conclusion – Every Step Matters
Going 100% vegan may be a bit of a challenge at first. However, every small step you take towards a pure vegan lifestyle is a step towards helping the planet heal. Simply replacing meat with plant-based protein sources is a great place to start, though, and will drastically reduce your carbon footprint.
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.