Food meatmeat

Published on April 6th, 2009 | by ziggy

16

Why Going Vegetarian For One Day Will Help Stop Global Warming

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April 6th, 2009 by

Americans eat lots of meat. So much so that livestock is now one of the leading contributors to global warming, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions as measured in a carbon dioxide equivalent.

A recent United Nations report concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems — that means all of the globe’s cars, trucks, planes and ships combined.

Kathy Preston poses an important question for meat-eating Americans concerned about the effects of global warming: what are the effects of going vegetarian for just one day? Here are her astounding statistics about how going vegetarian for a single day can help prevent global warming:

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

  • 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
  • 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
  • 70 million gallons of gas — enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
  • 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
  • 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
  • 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
  • 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
  • Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

It is undoubtedly clear that human activity causes increased global warming, and America’s dangerous over-consumption of meat is a major contributor to climate change. Adopting a vegetarian diet is an important step towards preventing global warming. And as these alarming statistics suggest, simply decreasing the amount of meat in your diet can have a major impact.

For more information about how going vegetarian can help prevent global warming, check out the original article. (See also: Humans’ beef with livestock: a warmer planet)

Related Stories:
1. Going Green Tip #3: Go Vegetarian or Vegan!
2. Environmental Impact of Eating Meat

Image Credit: taminator via flickr (CC license)

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About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at: http://www.small-scale.net/yearofmud



  • Anon

    Agreed with Mark. Not referenced, no reason to read it.

    But even then, there are so many assumptions with the “statistics” that they’re not going to be right,

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Hate-People-Who-Abuse-the-Environment/187243978050891 I Hate People Who Abuse the Environment

    Rather than leave your pens and biros scattered all around the house why not put them all together in a used can or you could use an old can to practice your putting. Take it to the office and put it on the floor any time you want to practice your putting.

  • http://Web Applewine

    This Green religion is really something. It is the only religion where the adherants don’t even know they are following a religion. Very strange. Environmentalism is a religion and global warming is a religious belief. Many of the other stuff, like recycling and “green” energy is also religious beliefs or rituals. Religion should never be merged with government. The religious fundimental left is much more a threat than the religious fundimental right at this stage. Things are getting out of hand. The religious left is so radical (of the root) of their beliefs that they can’t even recognize the difference between religion and non-religion.

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/zshahan/ Zachary Shahan

      That could make sense if it weren’t all based on science. Sorry, big strike there.

  • http://digg.com/story/r/supra_shoes_why_lie_to_her_supra_shoes_blog_news supra

    scary but truthful talk from Sen. Coburn. I am going back to the death panel discussion. Safer there.

  • http://www.SupremeMasterTV.com Renee

    You can also find out related data and interviews with scientists at the Supreme Master Television, http://www.SupremeMasterTV.com. It has been promoting the awareness of Climate Change and its solution since 2006,its operation.

    Its slogan: “Be Veg, Go Green, 2 Save the Planet!” already pointed out that the main solution to curb climate change is through a diet change – “Be Vegan”. A plant based diet can cool this planet fast enough to buy us more time to develop green technologies. The solution is easy – everyone can drop meat, low cost, and to have immediate effect.

    Due to such a severe damage of our Earth, we are so close to the tipping point that we need to be meat free everyday in order to park the temperature. Government has to stop subsidizing meat industry and to ban meat immediately. Please appeal to your governer to take urgent action.

  • Happy Hippy

    If we could all be vegetarian.

  • Kim

    There is such a thing as climate change. We do have an impact on our environment and to deny it is incredibly irresponsible.
    I think it all comes down to supply and demand…if the demand for meat/ meat products decreases then the impact on the environment can only benefit.
    We eat meat – but as a family we have drastically cut down on our meat & dairy consumption. I think if more people did that they would find themselves in a happier and healthier place!

  • ThereIsNoGlobalWarming

    I’ve read quite a few of your blog entries and finally have to say it… you are crazy! Lucky for mankind, you are a different kind than Hannibal Lecter. Your “sources” are non-existent, your “proof” is always hype and nothing you have said is based on actual Science. If you knew anything about the planet, the magnetic poles and how they deflect solar radiation and how plants become more efficient CO2 eliminators with increased CO2 levels, you’ld be on the right path to realizing that Earth undergoes Ice Ages and Interglacial periods (warming) and we are in a warming period now. During the last ice age, did you know that if it were only 2 degrees colder, we would have had a mass plant and animal extinction and you wouldn’t be here? The “runaway greenhouse effect” earth is supposed to have in 1 billion years overlooks the ice ages – the next one we face in 5 million years. Our planets temperatures are governed by the sun and the “traveling” molten earth’s core.

    Forget everything you think you know and look at the big picture and you’ll realize that the reason Venus (inspiration for earth’s runaway greenhouse theory) experienced a runaway greenhouse effect is because the planet has an atmosphere made up of almost all CO2 (96.5% actually) and because the planet is so close to the sun, it’s surface temperature never drops below water boiling temperature. On earth, CO2 is a TRACE component of our atmosphere and it’s increasing at a slower rather than others that counteract the effects CO2 has on the planet.

    Here’s what I’ll say about your above mentioned one day veganism… it’s nonsense! If everyone on the planet stopped eating meat for a week, we would still have to water and feed the animals for that week. The difference is that we wouldn’t be killing them so they would continue to eat and expel causing more pollution to the atmosphere. We are now on a routine of killing them at a set rate and stopping that for 1 week would make it worse! That is, unless you are proposing cruelty to animals by denying them food and water for a week. Is that is?

    Enough said. Trying to convince someone that lives at Dancing Rabbit Ecovilliage is like trying to reverse the planet’s rotation.

  • Whale lover

    Whales do not cause global warming or climate change, they are completley natural in their environment. Cattle and other livestock cause climate change because of the extreme quantities of methane gas they emit while alive, the energy we use to process, package, transport far distances, and store meat as a result of the modern Food Industry. We don’t eat whales this way.

  • CrossoverManiac

    So three dogs cause a bigger carbon footprint than an SUV huh? In that case, I say kill every whale in existence. I mean, damn, if three animals smaller than a man can cause some global calamities, then image what those 50 tons beasts are doing.

  • Ruud

    To fswoboda: if we are banning animals, lets think about banning ourselves, “users” of SUVs, pets, and most other things that pollute. But lets stick to the post.

    Is there any overview of which meats are more polluting (assuming the bigger the animal….)?

    Can not get to wannaveg.com

  • David B

    Grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices will never hurt any one. We all need to do more of them.

  • fswoboda

    The biggest contributors to the carbon footprint or should I say paw print is the dog. Three average size dogs are equivalent to one SUV. As the number of pets are increasing so does the carbon footprint. We must limit the number of pets, if not ban them out right to save the planet. The disadvantage of dogs over SUV’s is that you can not ride your dog to work. This does not deal at all with the amout of waste going to the landfill because of the dogs. Just think of all the poop and scoop bags going to landfill.

  • http://wannaveg.com eric

    You can check out many of these stats at wannaveg.com. We have all the references and math calculations for most of these items.

  • http://www.soulveggie.com Mark

    Great information from Kathy, unfortunately, NONE of it is referenced or source materials provided.

    What a wasted opportunity! To not have given accessible or linked references puts her credibility down a few notches and makes it easier for some to ignore the message.

    I’ve e-mailed her about this and, after three days, still have no response.

    FYI, Mark

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