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Veg Mondays Good for the Future
Promote Global Sustainability
Our food choices are fundamental to
sustainability. The easiest way to understand this connection
is to ask a simple question: Does it take more resources to support
60 billion livestock animals (the number killed for meat worldwide every
year) or to support the needs of 6 billion people?
To raise animals for food, the following
resources are used:
of available water
of farmable land
of grain and cereals grown (in the US)
The livestock industry is also responsible
of greenhouse gases
miles of polluted rivers (from hog, chicken, and cattle excrement)
dead zones in the oceans (from agricultural runoff)
of deforestation in the Amazon
Taken together, these simple facts
are astonishing. The majority of resources are being used to support a meat-based diet. The biggest source of water pollution,
greenhouse gases, and deforestation is also the meat industry. A 2006 United Nations report
summarized the devastation caused by the meat industry by calling it
"one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the
most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."
In addition to causing environmental
devastation, raising animals for food is grossly inefficient.
Animals eat large quantities of grain but they only produce small amounts
of meat, dairy products, or eggs in return. For example, it takes
approximately 15 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat.
Yet that same amount of grain could feed 35 people. (www.goveg.com)
While over 900 million people are malnourished
and thousands of children die every day of starvation, we are feeding
most of our food to animals.
The vegetarian diet dramatically reduces
the impact on our environment. For example, a vegan diet requires 1/6
of an acre of land while a meat-eater’s diet requires 3 ¼ acres.
Vegans need only about 300 hundred gallons of water a day to produce
their food while meat eaters require over 4000 gallons. Fewer
animals raised for meat obviously translates into less manure, less
water pollution, reductions in greenhouse gases and climate change,
and many other benefits for our Earth. It would also open up land
and water to be used for human beings who are now experiencing food
and water shortages.