|1. Why Vegan?||2. Nutrition||3. Environment||4. Ethics||5. Resources|
How can a vegan diet fight climate change, deforestation and extinction? Isn’t that a tall claim?
Guess what’s the biggest contributor to climate change. Cars? Aircraft? Oil refineries? Most people do not know that the biggest contributor to climate change is actually livestock farming. But how? Firstly, because the world’s 23 billion livestock emit 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. Livestock also release methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), which are far more potent as greenhouse gases than CO2. CH4 is 86 times more potent than CO2, and also stays in the earth’s atmosphere for significantly longer, causing a cascading greenhouse effect. But N2O is the worst of all: it’s 296 times worse than CO2, and stays in the atmosphere for 150 years – and livestock produce 65% of all N2O! A World Bank study shows that livestock farming contributes 51% to climate change in the long term. If people were to eat vegan food, we will win half of the battle against climate change! And by switching to sustainable technologies, we can actually reverse global warming!
Here’s another shocking statistic: over 1/3rd of the world’s ice-free land is now being used for livestock farming. The need for fertile land for growing corn, soy and grain as feed for livestock is so acute that today, meat production accounts for 91% of all deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. But – raising plants to feed people directly uses only 1/15th of the land required for producing meat. If humanity were to switch to a vegan diet, 94% of the land being farmed today can potentially be returned to the wild. With veganism, we can protect our world’s biodiversity.
Its impact on the oceans will be even greater. The global demand for fish is so high that over 85% of the world’s fish populations have already been killed. More than half of all fish stocks have been depleted so severely that they will take decades or centuries to recover. 9 out of 10 predatory fish are threatened with extinction. Ships with massive trawler nets catch fish from deep oceans and destroy coral reefs that have taken millennia to grow. And most shocking of all – 40% of the world’s fish catch is added to livestock feed, or used to make fertilizers (which are used to grow livestock feed). Only veganism can save our oceans.
But human population is so high that we need a variety of food sources.
Population is a huge problem. But it isn’t purely a “numbers” problem; it’s a crisis caused by how much we consume, not merely how many people there are. Today, hundreds of millions of people suffer from malnutrition. And yet, 70% of the world’s food is fed to livestock, not people. The grain fed to cattle in the United States alone could feed 800 million people. Today’s food production can provide 3200 calories of nutritious plant-based food per day to over 11 billion people. The world’s population is 7.3 billion, and will likely never cross 9.5 billion. In other words, we have more than enough land and water to feed all of the world’s people for all time to come. In a vegan world, nobody would starve.