The following post is a guest post by Tom Bailey, an 18-year-old literary and political blogger. He writes on a variety of topics from music to politics on his own blog, where he also publishes his poems. His Twitter handle is @TomBaileyBlog
Over to Tom…
There are hundreds of reasons for becoming a vegetarian: it’s cheaper, it’s healthier, and it’s undeniably a more humane way of life. But most importantly, it’s better for the world in which we live.
As Einstein explained, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” If Einstein said it, it must be true! But how can eating less meat save the planet? Well, let me explain.
The environmental impact of humanity’s insatiable carnivorousness is undeniable: according to a study by Goodland and Anhang, livestock and their byproducts produce an estimated 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year, equating to 51% of annual worldwide Greenhouse Gas emissions.
That means meat production produces more Greenhouse Gas than all other sources put together! Want to reduce your Carbon footprint? Cut down on your meat!
But it’s not just CO2 that this industry produces: cows release approximately 150 billion gallons of methane every day, a gas that is between 25 to 100 times more destructive to the environment than CO2.
The meat industry doesn’t just pollute the atmosphere, it also pollutes the world around us. It is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, habitat destruction and water pollution.
Livestock covers about 45% of the world’s total land, and an outrageous 136 million rainforest acres have been destroyed for animal agriculture. Indeed, approximately 1-2 acres are cleared every second to grow feed for beef cattle.
David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell, explains that “If all the grain currently fed to livestock were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.” So, by reducing meat consumption, we wouldn’t just be saving the environment and animals, we could also feed hungry children all over the world.
Right now, approximately 56 billion farmed animals are killed each year for food. That means about 3,000 animals die every second in slaughterhouses around the planet.
And meat consumption is only going up: as countries throughout the world develop, so will their appetites. By 2050, it is predicted that agricultural emissions will rise by an astonishing 80%. And that, my friends, is something that this planet can’t handle.
That is why we must do something: whether it’s reducing meat consumption (becoming what is known as a ‘meat reducer’), becoming a vegetarian or even becoming a vegan, we cannot let this continue.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that the transition to vegetarianism isn’t as bad as it sounds: I used to be a hardcore carnivore, but now, after about 3 months, I don’t miss meat at all.
Indeed, despite ironic warnings about a lack of protein from those who eat well over the recommended 500 grams of meat per week, I’ve barely noticed the change in my diet, except that I feel more fresh and energetic – I keep my iron levels up through multi-vitamins.
Of course, I frequently have to justify my decision, but that’s no bad thing: in fact, I hope that, in making this change I can encourage others to do the same.
And so, with hundreds of delicious meat-replacements, including Quorn, tofu, beans or avocado, why not make that change today? After all, Einstein did it!