Animal Agriculture Is The Leading Cause of Climate Change

Animal Agriculture Is The Leading Cause of Climate Change

Animal agriculture takes up 55% of the daily water usage of the United States, while us in our households are only 5%.

I never knew the implications of being a vegan, and what that ultimately does for our planet. I never knew the other reasons that some individuals had, rather than just to protect the cruelty and killing of otherwise innocent animals. I never knew just how much being a vegan could change the entire planet.

I’ll start with this question: What do you believe the leading cause of global warming is? Greenhouse gases, in fact, must be the biggest contribution to this issue; emissions coming from factories and vehicles. On top of that, the water we use on a daily basis is theorized to be the biggest waste; strictly focusing on our shower lengths and the fixed amount of time that each of us spends at our sinks. Overall, this always seemed very clear to me how the planet could easily change.

But let me tell you, the planet is not easily going to change. And these everyday emissions and water wasting that us humans inflict on our environment? They’re not the leading cause of climate change.

Animal Agriculture is.

Watching the documentary "Cowspiracy" gave me a whole new perspective on the environmental efficiencies of our planet and how we as people can change the world, one step at a time. Yes, turning off the lights when you leave a room and taking a shorter shower can definitely help to save energy and resources, but ultimately, even if everyone began to really devote their daily experiences to these conditions, it wouldn’t be enough to change the world.

Being that not everyone has time to sit down and watch an hour and a half documentary on this issue, I’d like to shed some light on a couple facts that are presented in the documentary. Over 190 billion gallons of water daily are used for animal agriculture, and cultivating meat products. Yes, this is happening daily. In fact, animal agriculture takes up 55% of the daily water usage of the United States, while us in our households are only 5%. So while these environmental agencies and advocacy groups are urging everyone to use less water and to save their energy, they are only working towards eliminating this 5%, instead of the 55% of water usage that is happening daily.

It is important to mention that any small amount will help our planet, but realistically and in the long haul, it’s time to start doing more. Otherwise, our planet is going to go into a true shock that it has never known before.

Did you know that the average Californian uses 1,500 gallons of water a day? The amount seems insane for just one person, but the evidence proves the fact to be undeniable. However, this is the real shocking part. 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce just one pound of beef. That being said, one burger equals almost two full days of water usage from the average Californian. Other products such as cheese and milk have even more alarming demands for water usage, that shook my heart as I watched the documentary.

As well as water usage, it is crucial to address the other effects that animal agriculture are putting on our planet. As overgrazing for cows on meat farms become more and more of a problem, more and more land is being destroyed in order to make more room for more pastures for cows to feed, for us to slaughter them. In this process, millions of animals are being wiped out, such as wild horses, wolves, owls, and so on. A couple species have even been documented as becoming extinct officially because of these constant expansions of grasslands. Oh, and remember the ongoing crisis of our rainforests, and how every year they are getting closer and closer to disappearing from the globe completely? The leading cause of this is animal agriculture, and the need for more land.

As far as our oceans go, more waste actually comes from animal agriculture (cow manure) than any other element there is out there. That’s right, all those car parts, plastic bottles, and plastic bags are nothing compares to the toxic chemicals that are seeping into our oceans because of overproducing these animals. The scariest part about this was even the world’s most popular ocean conservancy organization knew nothing about this fact, and insisted that the best thing to do is to focus on direct and tangible pollution that comes from daily human life.

In fact, almost none of the environmentally active organizations knew anything about animal agriculture and its effect on the environment. On the other hand, half of the organizations that Kip Anderson (the creator of "Cowspiracy") asked to interview, actually refused to give comments on the issue altogether.

Ultimately, the production of meat and the consumption of any meat product, in general, is contributing highly to this ongoing issue in the country. That being said, when some people choose to go vegan, it might not just be because of an ad that PETA put out on twitter. It is believed that with absolutely no meat consumption from everyone in the world suddenly, methane gas would decrease extremely, waste would decrease by 55%, and our planet would have a chance to come back from the horrors it has experienced over the past century. That’s all there is to it honestly; changing our eating habits.

The question is this: Is that change actually possible?

Cover Image Credit: via Flickr

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.

The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.

2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.

3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.

4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).

5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.

6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.

7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.

8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.

9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.

10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.

11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.

12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.

13. Goblin Shark

This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.

14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.

15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.

16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.

17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.

18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.

19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.

And finally....

20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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You May Want To Rethink Your Aesthetic Succulents

Why these plants may not be right for you.


Succulents are in right now. All over Instagram, you can see pictures of the colorful and varied plants in all sorts of containers. They are incredibly popular for dorm rooms especially and marketed as such. Whether you want your dorm room to be #goals or you're chasing an aesthetic you like, it can seem rather tempting to just buy a few cacti or succulents and stick them in a mason jar. They are so cute and cheap after all. However, what most people do not know is these plants can be rather tricky to take care of. We all have a friend who kills every plant unlucky enough to fall into their care, even the cactus which is considered to be virtually indestructible. It isn't because they are incapable or have the opposite of a green thumb, rather, they lack an understanding of plant care.

Succulents are plants with fleshy leaves. They are made to retain water in arid conditions. Many people believe this to mean they need next to no water. Which, in a sense, is true, but it also makes them incredibly sensitive to too much or too little water. Additionally, they're commonly sold in closed containers like jars, meaning they do not have a drainage hole. This is important because if the water cannot drain out, it sits in the container with the plant and rots the roots. The plant is then unable to sustain itself and will die. It is very hard to revive a plant once the rot has set in.

A succulent in a teacup looks amazing but is just not practical. Often, the pictures that blow up on Instagram show plants that will not survive very long. Another thing people fail to take into consideration is sunlight. Too little sun and these fickle little plants lose their leaves, too much and they get sunburn. If you happen to live in a dorm, it is best to consider which way your windows face before investing in these plants. As well as consider how much effort you are willing and able to put into it. Knowing which species of succulent is helpful because a quick google search can tell you how much water and sun they require.

Succulents are not for everyone, but I don't mean to make it sound like these plants are impossible to take care of. With a little research and upkeep, it is possible to select a plant that will fit your room. Watching a plant thrive and grow in the right conditions can be rewarding. Watching a plant wither away is disappointing at best and upsetting at worst. Healthy plants make for better pictures. There are many other indoor plants available that do not require such careful care. Many department and home improvement stores will actually have the care requirements on the plant. You just have to check the tag before you buy. At the end of the day, if you want a decoration I would recommend fake succulents. They are much more low maintenance.

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