Not many people give much thought as to how their diet impacts the environment, the animals, and our future. And some people don't care at all. But it is a real problem as our diets are linked to the environment through the companies you fund and your personal emissions. By giving your money to the meat industry (not necessarily local farms, but factory farms), you're funding the depletion of our water sources and destruction of the environment with clearing of land and costs of production/transportation (supply and demand) and are therefore increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Decreasing or eliminating your funding to the company directly affects the damage done to the environment by cutting emissions (both industrial and personal) and deforestation.
Why change your diet?
Everyone has the ability to adjust their diet for the sake of our future and the future of the environment. We all live on this planet and we should all want to keep it sustainable. Limiting your meat intake can cut down GHG emissions significantly; imagine the positive effects if everyone were to do the same, in addition to those that would eliminate meats from their diet completely. From the chart shown here, you can see the carbon footprints based on one's diet; simply cutting down on meat consumption (typically red and processed meats) or cutting it out completely decreases your footprint by half!
Emissions from meat production are extremely high.
Meat products are the top food contributors to carbon emissions in comparison to plant foods. Currently, the animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of GHG emissions while livestock and their byproducts are responsible for 51 percent of GHG emissions. These emissions are expected to grow to a scary 80 percent by the year 2050, which would mean devastation for our planet and way of life. For more information, follow this link (which also contains information about the next two sections as well).
Less meat equals more water.
Meat production uses astonishing amounts of water annually that could be put to better use or could be conserved all together. Animal agriculture consumes between 34-76 trillion gallons of water annually. In the U.S., 80-90 percent of water consumed is by animal agriculture. The range for the production of beef is between 442-8000 gallons of water per one pound. The average daily water footprint based on diet goes as follows: Omnivorous diet-4000 gallons, Vegetarian diet-1200 gallons, Vegan diet-300 gallons.
Limiting or eliminating meat from your diet won't just benefit the environment, it will help you as well! Other benefits (personal and general) include: decreased risk or type II diabetes, cancer, and coronary heart disease, conservation of rain forests, animal life, and water, less water pollution, and a lower amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere.
I understand that this article will challenge your way of life, but that's the purpose of it. But remember, you weren't forced to read anything. All I'm asking is for you to understand that our future rests in our hands, and you have the ability to make a change every time you go to the grocery store and every time you sit down to eat.