It’s Earth Day, and if you’re already vegan, you’re probably pretty aware of all the environmental issues that accompany eating meat and dairy. Not only do these industries perpetuate cruelty to animals and harm human health, they’re killing the planet.
Makes that double cheeseburger look a little less appealing, now doesn’t it?
While you may be in the know about these issues, millions of Americans have no idea about the ecological havoc their favorite foods are wreaking on the planet. So in honor of Earth Day, here are 10 reasons why veganism is the best way to protect the earth:
- 72% of the cereal grains grown in the U.S. feed livestock (not people). The world’s livestock eats 80% of the world soybean crop and more than half of the world’s corn crop.
- One dairy farm with 2,500 cows produces as much waste as a city with around 411,000 residents. One large pig farm annually creates 600,000 tons more urine and feces than the city of Philadelphia. In the U.S., farmed animals produce about 130 times more excrement than humans.
- A 2009 study suggests that livestock accounts for at least 51% of greenhouse gas emissions. All cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and airplanes combined account for approximately 13%.
- Agriculture is responsible for 80 to 90% of all U.S. water consumption.
- Free-range and organic meat use even more resources than factory farmed meat.
- The world’s supply of seafood is predicted to run out by 2048, according to a 2006 study.
- It takes 4,000 to 18,000 gallons of water to create one 1/3 lb hamburger.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that “over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted.”
- Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total, ice-free land.
- Animal agriculture is the primary cause of species extinction, dead zones in the ocean, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
- 14,400 acres of rainforest is cut down for cattle farming every day.
Experts suggest that if we don’t significant reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, there may be no way to reverse the trend, and that’s pretty terrifying.
In honor of Earth Day, share these facts with your meat-eating friends and family. There are SO many reasons to opt into veganism—all it takes is one!