After the first few installments of this series you probably realize by now (I would hope) how your diet is slowly killing you—but how is it killing all of us?
Many people don't realize this, but their every day food choices actually impact us all. How, you may ask? Because we only have one planet. Because at our current rate, we will need 4.1 Earths to support us. Because if we really wanted to make a difference, the biggest difference to save the earth we have, it's not using LED light bulbs, it's not unplugging appliances when they're not in use, it's not remembering to shut off the lights when you leave the room, or recycling, or choosing to walk or bike rather than drive—the biggest impact we can make is to STOP supporting animal agriculture.
Have you ever heard the saying that a vegan driving a Hummer has a smaller carbon footprint than an omnivore driving a Prius? I heard that saying many years ago and it never really sunk in until recently.
Late September marked the dreaded tipping point for atmospheric carbon levels. It reached 400 parts per million. This should be concerning because it is considered permanent. Although the forests and oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, at this rate we need an extra half a planet just for that.
And here’s why you should be ALARMED by this if you’re not already:
Extinction—The Nature Conservancy suggests that one fourth of Earth’s species could be extinct by 2050.
Rising sea levels—Coastlines will become flooded and communities will be displaced. In May of 2016, the residents of Isle de Jean Charles were given $48 million to move (the first U.S.-based climate refugees)
Ocean acidification and coral bleaching—delicate marine ecosystems such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are bleaching and dying from climate change. This is considered irreversible.
The leading cause of climate change is animal agriculture. Take a look at the chart below from this study based on the effects of diet and our carbon footprints.
This is our responsibility and we have to take action now.
Here is a nicely condensed video on the topic by Dr. Oppenlander. He has done extensive research on how our choices impact the environment. It is only 14 minutes long and you can speed up the video by using the little cog in the bottom right-hand corner (my preferred way to watch YouTube).
Another big resource of information is the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix. The facts it presents are just astounding. You can also access them at their fact page here.
I know it's a lot to take in so here are some key facts I've gathered from these videos and around the web:
- Animal agriculture is the leading contributor to the amount of methane gas being released into our atmosphere. Methane gas traps up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide within a 5 year period, and 72 times more within a 20 year period. However, it leaves the atmosphere within a decade. Therefore, reducing methane emissions would create tangible benefits almost immediately according to a U.N. press release in 2014.
- Growing feed for livestock consumes 56% of the water in the U.S.
- Livestock and livestock feed occupies one third of the earth's ice-free land
- Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of the Amazon destruction
- It is predicted that we will have fish-less oceans by 2048
- We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 Billion people but more than 50% of this grain is fed to livestock
I know some may not find this information interesting—I’m a nerd like that—but I felt it was necessary to present all of this first to get the cogs turning so that you will hopefully do more research and make that connection with this lifestyle. I truly want us all to be happy, healthy, and to have a planet we can share for generations to come, and the only way we can make that happen is to educate ourselves on these issues. Vote with your dollar by not supporting these industries anymore and let’s make a difference!
So now that the nitty-gritty is out of the way, stay tuned for some upcoming posts involving my favorite recipes (including bonus holiday ones!) and what my journey has been like so far with this lifestyle.
Thanks for all of the support!