Tuesday, April 21

Something to Vegetate About

According to Care2.Com blogger Heather Moore, there are some very good reasons for people who care about the environment to be consider becoming vegetarians:

Farmed animals generate more greenhouse gasses than SUVs, tractor trailers, trains, and jumbo jets put together. According to U.N. scientists, the livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is about 300 times more potent as a global warming gas than carbon dioxide. The meat, egg, and dairy industries account for a staggering 65 percent of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions.

• Nearly half of the water used in the U.S. is squandered on animal agriculture. More than 4,000 gallons of water per day are required to produce a meat-based diet; only 300 gallons of water a day are needed to produce a totally vegetarian diet.

• The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that factory farms pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. A Scripps Howard synopsis of a Senate Agricultural Committee report on farm pollution issued this warning about animal waste: "[I]t's untreated and unsanitary, bubbling with chemicals and diseased. … It goes onto the soil and into the water that many people will, ultimately, bathe in and wash their clothes with and drink. It is poisoning rivers and killing fish and making people sick. … Catastrophic cases of pollution, sickness, and death are occurring in areas where livestock operations are concentrated. … Every place where the animal factories have located, neighbors have complained of falling sick."

• It takes 3 1/4 acres of land to produce food for a meat-eater, compared to only 1/6 of an acre of land to produce food for a vegan. A new study, produced jointly by environmental groups and the soy industry, showed that cattle ranchers are largely responsible for the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The U.N.'s report Livestock's Long Shadow says that the "[e]xpansion of livestock production is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Latin America, where the greatest amount of deforestation is occurring—70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feedcrops cover a large part of the remainder."

I've recently eliminated pork from my diet, this Earth Day, I'm taking beef out. I buy locally-raised chicken, so I'm not quite ready to flip the bird. Let our state legislators know that you support agriculture, but only the sustainable kind.

More facts here.

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