We all know that what we eat affects the environment, but sometimes an article points out things that we had not considered. How Your Eating Habits Affect the Environment
is a stunning story in the January 6, 2007 Raw Living Foods Newsletter
. They say that eliminating animal products from your diet will benefit the earth in the following ways:
- POLLUTION/GLOBAL WARMING: Animals raised for food produce 130 times more excrement than the entire human population --- 86,600 lbs per second --- which all too often leaches into streams and contaminates groundwater. Nearly 90% of all U.S. farms drain into a single body of water - the Mississippi River. Waste lagoons on livestock farms release a considerable amount of methane into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming.
- LAND USE/DEFORESTATION/HABITAT DESTRUCTION: Nearly 90% of all agricultural land in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food. 20 times more land is required to feed a meat-eater than to feed a pure vegetarian. For every quarter-pound burger made of rainforest beef, 55 square feet of land are consumed. Livestock grazing is the number one threat and cause of elimination of tropical rainforest species.
- WATER: Nearly 50% of all water consumed in the U.S. is used for livestock. The production of one pound of California beef requires a total of 2,464 gallons of water. You would save more water by not eating a pound of California beef than you would by not showering for 6 months.
- ENERGY: Raising animals for food requires more than 30% of all raw materials and fossil fuels used in the United States. Producing a single hamburger patty uses enough fossil fuels to drive a small car 20 miles, not to mention enough water for 17 showers.
Just these few facts are enough to make us consider giving up meat; we've not done that, but we did cut back our consumption. A story by the Huffington Post, Vegetarian is the New Prius
, gives even more details.