Professor Chris Dickman, of the University of Sydney, estimates the number of animals killed in the bushfires in the New South Wales region of Australia to be more than 800 million animals, with more than one billion animals impacted nationally. Many of the affected animals are likely to have been killed directly by the fires, with others succumbing later due to the depletion of food, shelter and habitat. Fire is a painful way for an animal to die. These poor animals are victims of global warming, and a prime driver of global warming is eating animal derived foods.
So far Australia has lost 15 million acres (think twice the size of Belgium) of land to ravenous wildfires. Unprecedented is the scope of these current fires, touching almost every region of Australia and devouring more land mass than any previous bushfire in Australian history. Authorities and witnesses have likened the damage and evacuation measures to a war zone as fires burn through areas larger than some small European countries.
Weather conditions feeding the fires are historic. Australia suffered its hottest day on record with temperatures in Australia last month hitting 49.9 C (121.8 F), with the average annual temperature 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1960 to 1990 average. This extreme heat and drought create more tinder to fuel fires. The heightened intensity and frequency of wildfires falls in line with scientists’ predictions for a warming world.
If there was ever a time to take accountability for your individual impact on the environment, the time is now. As we’ve seen through various scientific studies eating a vegan diet could be the “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact on earth. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.
Oxford University scientist, Joseph Poore, says that “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.” A United Nations report says that raising livestock causes more global warming than all the cars, trucks, ships, boats, trains and planes in the world all put together.
Learn more about the impact of meat consumption on climate change.