Fighting Climate Change on World Vegetarian Day
Did you know October 1 is World Vegetarian Day? This holiday was first started by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 and endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union in 1978. But with wildfires and hurricanes in the forefront of U.S. news, and heightened awareness of climate change, it’s the perfect time to consider switching to a vegan lifestyle to help save the earth. Here are the four big reasons why the United Nations is advocating for a huge shift to eliminating meat and dairy from our eating and agricultural habits across the world.
Meat is extremely resource intensive
Simply stated, the production of animal-based foods is associated with higher greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based foods. This is because raising meat and dairy requires massive amounts of energy to be expended, since huge amounts of grain must first be grown and harvested to feed animals. This is wasteful when considering the huge amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizers that are used, as well as water. Approximately 4,200 gallons of water per day are needed to produce a meat-eater’s diet, compared to just 300 gallons of water per day in a vegan’s diet.
After growing the grain and transporting it to feed the animals, they are then butchered and processed, before finally being transported in climate controlled environments. Each of these processes contributes an enormous amount to the greenhouse gas emissions, which in part is responsible for climate change. According to one study, eating meat results in almost twice as much greenhouse gas emissions per day compared to vegetarians, and about 2.5 times as much compared to vegans.
2. Cattle and other livestock emit methane and other greenhouse gases
According to Ecowatch, livestock emissions make up anywhere between 14.5 and 18 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. According to NASA scientists, methane gas in the atmosphere has increased 150 percent since the pre-industrial period, compared to carbon dioxide, by contrast, has gone up by something like 30 percent. But even worse is the fact that methane has been estimated to be 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming the planet. Methane is, molecule for molecule, much more efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide, and also contributes to creating ground-level ozone, which can trigger a wide variety of serious health issues in addition to environmental concerns. Natural processes can remove methane from our atmosphere, but not at the rate methane is currently being emitted.
3. Forests are being cut down for cattle and other livestock
In addition, habitat conversion, also known as deforestation, is occurring in order to supply pastureland and also to grow feed for farmed animals. In the Amazon rainforest, cattle ranching is the single largest cause of deforestation, accounting for 80% of the region’s deforestation rates. In addition to displacing animals, trees help counteract greenhouse gases, making the environmental impact of deforestation even worse.
4. Eating meat directly affects world hunger
While world hunger is a complex problem, the issue is not so much how to produce enough food, but where the food that is being produced is actually going. According to Forks Over Knives, 77 percent of all coarse grains such as corn, oats, and barley, and over 90 percent of all soy grown in the world was fed to livestock. In fact, some of the world’s leading countries in agriculture are also the ones with the highest rates of hunger and poverty. By using our limited resources in an efficient way and growing more plant-based foods rather than raising meat, some estimate that we could feed an additional 1.4 billion people each year if every American gave up eating beef, pork, and poultry.
At Smart Pressed Juice, we are proud that all of our products are Vegan Action Certified! We are firm believers in the healing power of a plant-based diet, protecting animal welfare, and fighting climate change through veganism. Check out our 100% vegan juices, including delicious Vegan Vanilla Proteini and Pineapple Chia Cleanse, made with vegan probiotics! You can also find us on Instagram, Twitter or on Facebook.