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Meat-Based Diet Can Adversely Impact Earth's Environment


Recently there have been many claims that consumption of meat can cause severe environmental impacts. A lot of studies have taken place and there is substantial data now to conclude safely that consumption of meat is indeed a major threat to the environment.

Cows and Grasslands sequester Carbon

Livestock and grasslands can help to sequester Carbon much more than the other ecosystems of earth. Livestock play a huge part in this as they help to combine carbon in the soil and the plants. In fact, when they are raised on pastures where there has been no supplemental feed, they are much more able to sequester carbon (Source). It is also presented in a study that grazing livestock can considerably reduce the emission of Nitrous Oxide. Nitrous oxide is believed my environmentalists to be much more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Depletion of Water Resources

Diets in the Western countries are mostly characterized by a high percentage of meat intake along with eggs and dairy products. This high intake of red meat and saturated fat often exceed the recommendations put forward by dieticians. To meet this high demand of meat, large areas of livestock production is required which consumes a vast amount of water. The number of livestock currently stands around 17 billion which is about thrice the number of humans. The water is mostly used to irrigate hay and grains which are then fed to animals. The Water Education Foundation has announced that to produce one single pound of beef, it takes as much as 2,464 gallons of water. In simple terms, this is approximately the equivalent amount of water that one person required to take a shower of seven minutes stretching across six months! When it is compared to the amount of water required for wheat production, the statistics are much more alarming. It only takes 25 gallons of water for the production of a single pound of wheat which is clearly not a big amount. In the present scenario consumption of water by humans alone is draining the aquifers all around the globe. There has been a drastic fall of water tables and wells have gone try at several locations. As per the United States Geological Survey, it was revealed that as much 40% of water is used to irrigate crops required to feed the livestock. Comparatively, only 13% is used for several domestic purposes like watering of lawns, flushing of toilets, car washing and everyday showers. If you want to save water then you have to consider switching over to a diet rich in plants. This is why several companies like Hampton Creek have come up which specialize in creating food products by utilizing plants. You can find out more about Hampton Creek if you want to switch to a vegan diet and start saving water by contributing in your own way. 

Depletion of Other Natural Resources

Top soil and fossil fuels are also among the other natural resources which are getting depleted due to increase demand of livestock. Topsoil is a very vital resource and it is getting depleted faster than it can be replaced by Nature. The main reason behind this is the production of Soybeans and corns which are one of the major items that are fed to livestock. These crops need to be grown in rows which result in soil erosion and ultimately causes the depletion of the top soil. The cost of fuel energy required to raise livestock is also very high.

Time To Conserve Our Environment

If you are concerned about the environment or are just a pet lover then you might consider switching to a plant-based diet. This is a very small thing that anyone can practice to keep the environment safe and secured for our future generations.