Climate Change Improvements from Eating Less Meat
Not everyone needs to be a vegan to help combat climate change, but reducing meat consumption is both good for the planet and good for individual health, according to two national/international groups creating awareness of climate change impacts related to food consumption, as well as advocating for fair treatment of animals.
Animal Agriculture uses 80 % of global land resources while only producing 20% of world’s calories
While the intersection of climate impacts with eating meat at one time seemed tenuous, recent studies by climate scientists have made it abundantly clear that livestock production is a major contributor to world greenhouse gas emissions, emerging as a bigger threat than fossil fuel use for transportation. Also, the resources livestock farming take is not efficient to feed the world’s population: animal agriculture uses 80% of global land (non-sea) but only provides 20% of the world’s calories. The costs in food, water, land needed and land and climate degradation must be examined and understood, because scientists say it is not sustainable to continue deforesting our planet to produce limited food (meat) for rich nations, all the while creating huge greenhouse gas emissions, said Sustainable Earth Eating.
Cattle production Creates 57 % of world Greenhouse Gas Emissions
According to University of Illinois scientists, livestock production, which includes food grown to feed livestock, creates 57 percent of global Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGEs). Xiaoming Xu and Atul K. Jain are the two lead scientists who recently reported their findings in the academic Journal Nature Food (7/23/2021).
Some industry leaders count it even higher. Pat Brown, CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, a plant-based meat company, has said livestock farming, including food to feed livestock, and related emissions from related transportation are 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions in a recent interview.
Livestock production emits three gases toxic to our climate: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Methane is known to be 8 X as potent as carbon dioxide and stays in the atmosphere longer.
- Livestock production including agriculture to feed them emit 51% of CO2 (per year) or 32.000 million tons of carbon dioxide of all worldwide Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
- By comparison, Transportation exhaust is responsible for 13% of all greenhouse gases.
- Methane makes up 44% of livestock GGE, has a global warming potential 86 times that of CO2 on a 20-year timeframe.
- Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human related emissions of nitrous oxide—a greenhouse gas with 296 X the global warming potential of carbon dioxide
Water and Grain Consumption
- Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the U.S.
- Worldwide, at least 50% of grain is fed to Livestock (Food and Ag Organization (FAO) of the United Nations)
Research shows that 15 X more protein can be produced on any given area of land with plants, rather than cows. (FAO UN)
- The average American consumes 209 pounds of meat per year
- Dairy consumption may lead to female breast diseases, according to studies.
Acres to produce: Land issues
- 1.5 acres can produce 37,999 pounds of plant-based food
- 1.5 acres can produce 375 pounds of beef.
- One third of planet has become desert, livestock is leading driver.
- 91% of Amazon destruction due to animal agriculture.
Cruelty to Animals Including Factory Farming Alarms Consumers
Most of members of FARM supporters stopped eating meat due to maltreatment and cruelty to animals, including factory farming, said Eric Lindstrom, Executive Director of Farm Animal Rights Movement. He said they have 1 million supporters worldwide. Some vegans stopped eating meat for health reasons, as the China Study, written by a doctor/son of a cattle rancher, found meat to be the cause of many heart problems that were abated or cured when meat and dairy were eliminated from patients’ diet, according to Jane DeMarines, SEE executive director.
Vegan Jane Goodall: window closing on climate change. Famed naturalist: “We’ve got the solutions to all these problems. There are amazing ways to restore fertility to overused farmland, also …banning the factory farming of animals. We know how to improve biodiversity and health of soil. We’ve got a window of time to do these…, but it’s not a big window, and it is closing, “( Wash.Post. (10/26/21)
Beatles icon Paul McCartney in 2009 started “Meatless Mondays,” an effort that continues and also operates in the U.S. Ideas to chip away and reduce global meat eating is one of the fastest ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions environmentalists say. If everyone began to skip one day per week of eating meat, it would create a massive global effect.
With better agriculture and replacing meat with plant-based proteins SEE and FARM believe we can back-up the measured hope that naturalists such as Jane Goodall express.