How Eating Less Meat Can Save the World
Healthier LivingBy eating an unbalanced diet that is full of processed foods and meats, we are creating a global health epidemic. If more Americans chose to eat more fruits and vegetables, and cut down on meats, global healthcare costs could be reduced by up to one billion dollars a year. Studies have shown that by going vegan, you can significantly cut down your risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes—just to name a few.
Greenhouse Gas EmissionsIf most of the world adopted a vegetarian diet, greenhouse emissions could be but by up to 63%. Cows and lambs release methane into the air naturally as a result of their digestive process. Although carbon dioxide is typically a more well known greenhouse gas, methane is 21 times more powerful, creating a huge burden on the environment when released in large doses. As well as the release of methane, huge amounts of trees are being cleared out in order to make room for grazing livestock. This deforestation is not only bad for those humans and animals directly dependent on the trees for their livelihood, but we are also losing trees that soak up harmful carbon.
Growing More FoodFor every acre of land, 250 pounds of beef can be produced. As of today more than 260 million acres of forests in the United States have been cleared out in order to make room for livestock and 80% of the deforestation in the Amazon rain forest is directly related to the beef industry. For every acre of land, only 250 pounds of beef can be produced. To put that into perspective, If instead of raising cattle on that acre of land, crops were grown, we could grow 50,000 lbs of tomatoes or 53,000 lbs of potatoes.
Clean WaterThe average american meat eater consumes 54 pounds of beef, 46 pounds of pork, and 83 pounds of chicken each year. If we break down how much water is needed to raise that meat, we find that one pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water, one pound of pork takes 576 gallons, and one pound of chicken requires 468 gallons. That means that 2,843 gallons of water are needed to produce 3 pounds of meat (1lb beef + 1lb pork + 1lb chicken). If just ONE average American meat eater decided to cut meat out of their diet, 162,486 gallons of water could be saved annually. The average human needs one gallon of drinking water a day, meaning that if just that ONE average American meat eater cut meat out of their diet, 445 additional people could have clean drinking water every year.
World HungerLong story short, there are a lot of extremely undernourished people around the world. As of right now, just under half of wheat, rye, oat and corn produced around the world is fed the animals that so many love to eat. The meat that the average american consumer eats every year requires 495 pounds of grain (per person). If every person in America decided to give up on poultry, 315 million people could be fed with the grain that would have been used to feed the chicken. If Americans stopped consuming meat altogether, the grain that would have been used to feed those animals could be used to feed 1.4 billion people. Basically, if everyone chose to eat a plant based diet, there would be enough food to go around for all of us.