We all care about our planet right? BUT, it’s important to not just be depressed when Trump says he is going to pull out of the Paris Agreement. It’s absolutely necessary to recognize there is a lot of power in our personal choices. Where we put our money is powerful. What industries you support are powerful; especially in the fight for our planet.
If you care about our earth, sustainability, and making a positive impact, you have got to see Cowspiracy. Watch it now on Netflix.
Check out this article, ‘If Everyone Ate Beans instead of Beef‘.
Check out Truth or Drought’s Facebook page to see the work they’ve put into gathering facts and research to keep us informed! On their website, you can click links to be taken to full articles.
Bruce Friedrich on Ezra Klein’s podcast: one of the best podcast episodes I’ve listened to that touches on environmental impact.
If you feel like reading a book, check out Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work by Dr. Richard Oppenlander.
Some more information:
What would 2050 look like on different dietary trends? It’s a question that keeps all of us awake at night. Well, the sleepless nights are finally over! There is a study that tried to calculate the ecological impact of different dietary patterns for Western Europe in 2050! Of course, one has always to be careful with predictions, especially in the young field of environmental science, but we believe that at the very least, it is quite an interesting indication. Here are the results: Even if we would use all technically possible mitigation methods, continuing the dietary trend we see today would result in 170 Mha of agricultural land used in Western Europe in 2050, which exceeds the amount of arable land that is available. If everyone were to go mainly plant-based with the consumption of fish, the amounts of land used would only be 40 Mha. The same thing goes for GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emission. A mitigated form of the current trend would result in a GHG emission of 425 Mton CO2eq/year, which is insufficient to meet the 2050 goals. If we were to go plant-and-fish-based, on the other hand, we would only produce 25 Mton CO2eq/year and take away 650 Mton CO2eq/year via carbon sequestration if he land that became available was afforested. A full vegan diet would even have less impact, even though the authors didn’t calculate it, especially where GHG emission is concerned (influence of transport and processing). This shows that Western Europe would be able to sustainably feed its share of the 9-10 billion people expected in 2050 and reverse deforestation for food purposes on a vegan diet.
Röös, Elin et al., ‘Protein futures for Western Europe: potential land use and climate impacts in 2050’ (2015).
Clash of the century: WWI vs FAO According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global livestock GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions represent 14,5% of the total anthropogenic GHG emissions. 65% of the livestock GHG emissions is caused by cattle. The subdivision of this 14,5% is feed production (45%), processing (39%), manure storage and processing (10%), transportation and processing of animal products (6%). 44% of livestock GHG emissions is CH4 (44% of anthropogenic CH4 emissions), 29% is N2O (53% of anthropogenic N2O emissions — the worst GHG, 300x as noxious as CO2) and 27% is CO2 (5% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions). Worldwatch, though, critizes the overall number of 14,5% and says 51% of all GHG emissions comes from the animal industry, because according to them, FAO neglected a lot of damaging aspects caused by livestock. The criticism in turn has sparked a lot of skepticism, against which WorldWatch has defended itself in another report. Whoever is right, or if the truth is somewhere in the middle, the number will only increase, because FAO predicts the amount of livestock (and thus the emission) will double by 2050.
FAO, ‘Key facts and findings / By the numbers: GHG emissions by livestock’ (2013). FAO, ‘Livestock’s long shadow / environmental issues and options’ (2006). Worldwatch Institute, ‘Lifestock and climate change / what if the key actors in climate change are … / cows, pigs and chickens?’ (2009). Worldwatch Institute, ‘”Livestock and climate change”: critical comments and responses’ (2010).
Also, one of the many counterarguments vegans often hear is that one person doesn’t make a difference and that demand won’t change whether or not I buy that one steak in a supermarket full of people. This would mean veganism is just a symbolic gesture without any actual effect at all. After all, I am just “one drop in the ocean”. Well, apart from the fact that an ocean is nothing but a collection of drops, we have other reasons to believe this claim is simply not true. Economists have found out via probability calculations and impact prediction that we as individuals have far more direct impact than you could imagine! If one consumer does not buy x, than the total production falls by y: 1 egg – 0,91 eggs 1 gallon of milk – 0,56 gallons of milk 1 pound of beef – 0,68 pounds of beef 1 pound of pork – 0,74 pounds of pork 1 pound of chicken – 0,76 pounds of chicken So if you don’t buy one pound of beef at the supermarket, 0,68 pounds won’t be produced.
Bailey Norwood and Jayson L. Lusk, ‘Compassion, by the Pound. The Economics of Farm Animal Welfare’ (2011).