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. Read more
The rainforests are dying and raising livestock is killing them. The problem is only getting worse. For instance, according to recent reports, deforestation in Brazil has already increased by 30 percent in just the last 12 months. 1,600 trees are chopped down every minute just to make room for cattle to graze and to grow livestock feed. If these rates of deforestation continue, it’s likely that there won’t be any rainforest left in 100 years. It is this all-time record destruction that has set off a loud alarm bell ringing among scientists, environmentalists and many others. Read more
There’s a silent crisis that threatens us all. It’s much more serious than most people realize and if we don’t do something about it we’re all in trouble. This crisis is soil erosion.
As with many other environmental problems, it’s caused by raising farm animals for meat. It turns out that 85% of all the soil erosion in the United States, and 55% around the world, is caused directly by the livestock, and by growing the fantastic amount of feed the 60 billion farm animals around the world consume. Unfortunately, most environmental organizations aren’t paying too much attention to it and the media almost completely ignores it. After all, it’s hard to get excited about dirt!
We need to take it more seriously. Soil is where food begins. Humanity depends upon the soil for its food, and if enough of the soil goes, humanity will go with it. Without soil, not only will the crops we plant not grow, but other vegetation will die as well. Read more
There is a quiet environmental crisis brewing and it’s very serious. It’s so widespread that it affects the entire world. It’s so dangerous that the great humanitarian, the Dalai Lama, considers it a greater threat than nuclear weapons. It’s sneaking up on us, it could easily hurt more people and cause more disruption than global warming, and for some parts of the world it’s already too late.
The problem is soil erosion. Unfortunately, most environmental organizations aren’t paying too much attention to it and the media almost completely ignores it. After all, it’s hard to get excited about dirt!
Soil is where food begins. Therefore humanity depends upon the soil for its food, and if enough of the soil goes, humanity will go with it. Without soil, not only will the crops we plant not grow, but other vegetation will die as well. Perhaps President Franklin Roosevelt put the threat best when he said, “The history of every nation is eventually written in the way it cares for its soil. The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.” Read more
The following is an excerpt from our book, Say No to Meat, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose. This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!
How does raising livestock cause soil erosion?
It’s hard to get excited about dirt but our lives depend on it. The crops can’t grow without soil and without the crops we all face starvation. Soil is formed through a natural process of wind and water on the earth, but this is a slow process. For example, in Iowa it takes 200 years to form one inch of topsoil. Plants and vegetation bind the soil together, but when those plants are removed, due to grazing or farming crops to feed animals, there is nothing to stop the soil from being washed or blown away. In Iowa, soil is being removed 30 times faster than it is being formed. 85 percent of all soil erosion in the United States is due to raising livestock. With 56 billion farm animals raised in the world each year, and one third of the habitable land being used directly or indirectly to raise them, scientists are sounding the alarm as massive soil erosion continues unabated. In parts of the US, China and sub-Saharan Africa, the result of soil erosion has been that what was once valuable farming land is now desert.