Four factors damaging the earth
Earth Day is coming up on April 22 so this is a good time to remind ourselves of how a plant-based diet can help heal the earth, since raising meat is such a big driver of the environmental crisis. The major concerns are as follows:
1. Climate Change
First and foremost, global warming! According to a UN report, raising meat causes more greenhouse emissions than all the cars, trains, trucks, boats and ships in the world put together. Livestock and their byproducts actually account for 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG [green house gas] emissions.” So by reducing demand for animal products, we can do a lot to reduce the rate of global warming.
2. Soil Erosion
Raising cattle is also the primary cause of soil erosion in the United States today. Livestock grazing accounts for 55 – 85% of topsoil loss in the United States. Agriculture depends on top soil for its crops. While top soil is being lost at an alarming rate, it could take hundreds of years for the earth to replace it.
The vast majority of the fires in the Amazon have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle, and unfortunately, the practice is on the rise. Deforestation rates in the Amazon hit a new high in the first two months of 2020 with 181 square miles lost.
4. Water Pollution
Livestock cause more water pollution than any other source. The runoff of animal waste products into rivers and lakes combine with soil runoff from raising extra crops needed for animal feed, and these combine to generate a huge amount of water pollution, not only from beef and pork, but poultry production too. It’s also the prime cause of coastal dead zones.
Choose a plant-based diet
While all this may seem daunting, there’s something you can do about it. By following a plant-based diet, you can join the millions who already do, and make the single largest contribution to environmental sustainability anyone can make.