One of the biggest changes that a person can make to reduce her environmental impact is to eat less meat. Here are some of the environmental impacts of raising animals for meat:
- Factory farm run-off pollutes streams and rivers.
- Raising animals consumes huge amounts of water. One estimate shows that growing 1lb of wheat takes 14 gallons of water whereas 1lb of beef uses 441 gallons.
- Natural habitats are destroyed to make room for cattle to graze.
- We feed large amounts of grain to animals in order to produce a small amount of meat. In 1 year, a cow will eat 16,425 lbs of food.
- Raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. That is crazy! How could this be? Manure emits green house gases such as methane. Cows also burp methane. Plus the meat industry uses fossil fuels to heat the buildings that house the animals, to produce of all the crops to feed to the animals, and to transport, process, and refrigerate all of the meat.
- The production of corn and soybeans, the major grains fed to livestock, causes massive soil erosion because those crops are grown in rows. The bare patches between the rows expose the topsoil to both wind and rain erosion.
Therefore, starting this week, I will eat less meat. I will no longer cook meat for myself or order it in restaurants. The reason for not going full out vegetarian is because I don’t want other people to worry about cooking special things for me. With my rules, I’ll still be able to cut out a significant portion of my meat intake. Here are my sources for the info in this blog.