Cutting out meat products seems insignificant, but it could have a significantly positive impact on our environment. Could going vegan solve the world’s major problems?
Raising cattle takes up at least 83% of farmland while 70% of grains and crops are used to feed those animals. According to David Pimentel, a professor of Ecology at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,, “More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans.”
In addition, approximately 700 million tons of food that could be consumed by humans goes to livestock.
Mr. Pimentel also states, “If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.”
Animal agriculture also consumes and pollutes a significant amount of our already limited supply of freshwater. Pimental’s research shows that beef production takes up 1000 liters of water per 1 kilograms (approximately 2 pounds). Raising chickens takes up 3,500 liters of water just to make one kilogram of meat, again. In comparison, the water consumption of grains, legumes, and potatoes is around 500-2,000 liters of water per kilogram of produce. Pimental adds, “Water shortages already are severe in the Western and Southern United States and the situation is quickly becoming worse because of a rapidly growing U.S. population that requires more water for all of its needs, especially agriculture,”
Conserving water is a major concern for the United States and livestock takes a significant amount of water, and without it the amount of water saved would be significant.
Weak and eroded soil is also caused by animals. Where livestock is raised, soil erodes at an average rate of 13 tons per hectare per year compared to pasture lands, which erode at an average of 6 tons per hectare per year. This is mostly because the raising of livestock causes deforestation. Deforestation cuts down trees and forests to make room for things like raising cattle or urban use., resulting in poor soil and climate changeWhen trees are cut down, burned, or rotted for urban use, the trees release an excess of Carbon Dioxide into our atmosphere. Furthermore, studies show that over 54 percent of the United States’ livestock and pasture lands are overgrazed and because of this soil erosion could go over 100 tons which will significantly impact our environment, forests, and even air quality.
Cutting out meat from your diet would undoubtedly benefit the world. The production of meat significantly affects the environment and the world’s major issues such as not enough food and water conservation. It could even help save energy, soil, and air quality.