Vegan for the planet
The animal industry destroys the environment
In livestock farming, whether organic or conventional, there are several factors that are significantly driving climate change and extinction.
The enormous consumption of water and fodder, the extent of the required area, the high carbon dioxide and methane emissions, extinction, destruction of marine life but also the contamination of water and soil represent various climate-damaging factors.
Waste of resources:
Animal farming is very inefficient. On one hand, the animals themselves need space, but above all, a huge area is required purely for fodder production. In addition, fodder cultivation requires water and the animals drink vast amounts of water. With all the energy that we put into the animals, very little ends up going directly to the consumer.
It takes up to 16kg of grains to gain 1kg of meat as well as 15000-20000 liters of water.
The animal industry occupies almost 80% of the global agricultural land but produces less than 20% of the world's calorie supply and less than 40% of the protein supply.
In other words, the area used for crops provides more calories and protein for the world's population than animal products that require almost four times the area. It is a lot more efficient to grow plants for direct consumption.
Animal products consume not only more water and food sources, it also takes more electricity, and produces more carbon dioxide compared to plant foods.
The transport and storage of animal based foods is a lot more complex than plant based foods. For example, millions of tons of fodder, animals, the end products as well as the inevitable plastic wrapper have to be produced and transported before the products finally reach the consumer. The barns and farms as well as the refrigeration at stores and homes all have to be supplied with energy.
Contrary to foods such as fruits, nuts and many different vegetables, that can be directly supplied and consumed, animal products on top of that usually require to be further refrigerated and cooked at the consumer’s home.
Vegan foods generally require less refrigeration, processing, plastic wrapping, transportation, cooking, water, food sources and space (crop fields, barns and slaughter houses).
Even the energy and recourse usage for processed plant foods leaves a smaller footprint in most cases. Therefore switching to eating plant based will drop your consumption of recourses immensely.
Immense greenhouse gas emissions:
The animal industry is responsible for up to 51% of man-made greenhouse gases.
Every time a cow burps or passes gas, a little puff of methane wafts into the atmosphere. Each of those puffs coming out of a cow’s plumbing, added together, can have a big effect on climate because methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is about 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth, on a 100-year timescale, and more than 80 times more powerful over 20 years. The effects aren’t just hypothetical: Since the Industrial Revolution, methane concentrations in the atmosphere have more than doubled, and about 20% of the warming the planet has experienced can be attributed to the methane gas.
According to the Federal Environment Agency, the production of one kilogram of beef causes up to 28kg of greenhouse gases, while fruit and vegetables cause less than 1kg.
Due to the large area used for fodder cultivation and the mostly non-existent circular economy, a lot of fertilization is required. Fertilizers (e.g. animal excrement) contain nitrogen, which becomes nitrous oxide (N2O) in the soil and is up to 300 times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide. In addition to nitrous oxide, animal dung also releases methane.
Pollution of soil and groundwater:
The use of chemical fertilizers as well as the use of chemical pesticides are strong factors to which our soils are slowly corrupted.
Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest:
90% of the soybeans exported, from what used to be the Amazon rainforest, is shipped overseas to fatten up livestock. Roughly 8000-11000km² of the Amazon rainforest is cleared every year. Almost 70% of land cleared from the Amazon rainforest has been turned over to grazing areas. This decreases our planet’s ability to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen massively. And the methane produced by the countless cows completely reverse the Amazons support against global warming.
Extinction and ecosystem:
Pesticides, pollution of soil and groundwater, climate change and the vast usage of land cause the extinction of species which is the biggest threat to the balance of the ecosystem. Species to go extinct at a rate 1000 times faster than they would if humans weren’t in the picture. Especially insects are inflicted which is the main food source of birds. Rainforests and nature in general keeps on turning into crop fields, roads, homes and farms which leaves less and less space for various spiecies. Most species are on the verge of extinction due to our selfish and destructive ways. An ecosystem that is not balanced and dense in species can not prosper. Despite all our advanced technology, we still depend on the ecosystem!
Fishing not only kills more individuals than all land animals combined, it also causes the destruction of the ecosystem of the seas and the extinction of marine life. Corals produce up to 80% of the world’s oxygen which makes them the most valuable and necessary source of the air we breathe. Due to climate change however, we can watch how corals and marine life slowly vanish.
40% of coral reefs and mangroves have disappeared in the last 40 years.
Climate change and local risks threaten to wipe corals out entirely. If we do not act quickly, according to some scientists, corals could disappear by 2050.
Fishing nets and other equipment is dumped into the oceans which slowly dissolves into micro plastic. Currently, there are about 50-75 trillion pieces of plastic and microplastics in the ocean. Roughly 40-70% of it stems from dumped fishing gear. Micro plastic can be found in the bodies of fish which corrupts the entire ecosystem.
Overfishing also leads to the extinction of fish and therefore to the collapse of the marine ecosystem which eventually erodes the corals on top of climate change. A study from an international team of ecologists and economists have predicted that by 2048 we could see completely fishless oceans.
Through all of these factors, the consumption of animal products emits more carbon dioxide and other harmful gases than all modes of transportation (planes, ships, cars, etc.) combined which makes the animal industry the leading cause of the climate crisis, uses vast amounts of water, destroys and contaminates our soil and groundwater, drives species to extinction (which outbalances the entire ecosystem), corrupts marine life and therefor erodes the biggest provider of oxygen, is the leading cause of deforestation and usage of land. The animal industry therefore is the biggest threat to the extinction of humanity. A global switch to mainly plant based or fully vegan will be inevitable!
Are we humans really that great or just arrogant? Now, do you want to be part of our very own destruction or a compliment to the potential of mankind?
Watch - Cowspiracy
An eye opening documentation about the link between environmental destruction and animal exploitation.
The documentation can be watched on Netflix in higher resolution.