When I first transitioned to veganism, I was completely unaware of the environmental issues related to ‘consuming animal products’. As I became more interested in the movement, I learned that we need to become vegan a bit quicker than I thought. One issue I researched was climate change. What I discovered was shocking. Livestock farming ranks as one of the three greatest sources of climate changing and we need to make a quick shift in our dietary habits if we want to see significant environmental improvements.
With rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting icecaps and glaciers, shifting ocean currents and weather patterns, climate change is the most serious challenge facing the human race. The livestock sector is a major player. Livestock are responsible for almost two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems. It’s also estimated that over 50% of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.
In 2006, the UN calculated that the combined climate change emissions of animals bred for their meat were more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. The United Nations called for a global shift to a vegan diet wherever possible as the most effective way to combat climate change. ”Lesser consumption of animal products is necessary to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change. Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use.” – 2010 UN report. Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist who co-chaired the panel, said: “Rising affluence is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and dairy products – livestock now consumes much of the world’s crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides.”
Environmental research organization Worldwatch Institute observes: “It has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future—deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.”
To learn more about how you can help save the planet with your diet, I’d recommend visiting some of the following sites:
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-The Vegan Lily