The term ‘global warming’ is no longer a taboo and has certainly become a common addition to household conversation. The concerns of modern society are now very valid –  global warming is a worry for our global society. Believe it or not, according to our guest writer Mark Fergusson, adopting a vegetarian diet can be a great way to slow down the overall contributors of global warming. Let’s see what Mark has to say.

Let’s Adopt a Vegetarian Diet for our Green World!

By Mark Fergusson
Chief Vegetarian Officer, Chief Executive Officer
Down to Earth

Did you know that what we choose to eat has a significant impact on climatic change? It is one of the most influential ways that us as individuals can personally impact the environment. A recent study examining the effects of a person’s typical weekly eating habits showed that plant-based diets are better for the environment than those based on meat. A vegan organic diet has the smallest environmental impact while the most damaging
meat-based diets has the single most environmentally degrading food item…beef. All
non-vegetarian diets require significantly greater amounts of environmental resources such as land and water for live-stock.

It is noteworthy that the United Nations and many leading environmental organisations have recognised that raising animals for food and consumption damages the environment far more than just about every other environmentally un-friendly act that we do. Organisations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, the WorldWatch Institute; and in the United States the National Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, all have clearly expressed their opinions that a vegetarian-based diet will help the fight to stop or at least slow down global warming.

Our global meat addiction is poisoning and depleting our water, land, and air. For example, more than half of the water resource used in the United States today is for animal agriculture. Farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than the human population; the run-off from their waste is fouling and contaminating America’s waterways. Animal excrement emits gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia that poison the air atmosphere around farmland, along with methane and nitrous oxide, which are very well known major contributors to global warming.

In its 2006 report, the United Nations stated that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined! Most of these greenhouse gases come from methane gas generated by farming manure. Clearly the negative effects of the meat industry are farther reaching than we could have ever imagined.

Forests are being bulldozed to make more room for factory farms and crop fields to be used for animal fodder. These processes are causing major destruction in the form of soil erosion and are contributing to the grave species extinction and habitat loss. The statistics in the United States of food and raw material demands for farmed animals are unbelievably high! Farmed animals consume on average 70 per cent of the corn, wheat, and other grains grown in the US, and one third of all their raw materials and fossil fuels go to raising animals for human consumption. Considering the sheer size of the USA alone gives us a better idea of how these statistics must spread globally with all the industrial farming, traditional farming and agricultural methods combined. Can we really afford to let a meat-consuming diet have such an impact on our environment and thus in turn affect our future generations to come?

Whether it’s unchecked air or water pollution, soil erosion, or the overuse of resources, raising animals for food is wreaking havoc on the Earth. By adopting a vegetarian diet you will help to:

  • Avoid generating excessive carbon dioxide and reduce the production of harmful methane/nitrous oxide gases.
  • Save large amounts of precious water.
  • Avoid further pollution of our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.
  • Reduce destruction of topsoil & tropical rainforest through erosion.
  • Reduce destruction of wildlife habitats & endangered species.
  • Reduce the use of antibiotics, growth promoters and chemical contamination of the environment.

The environmental reasons for adopting a vegetarian diet are strong enough factors by themselves to merit Vegetarianism as a clear conscious choice of lifestyle. Healthy vegetarian diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases, including the three biggest killers: heart disease, cancer, and strokes. So as well as saving the environment you would also be taking a better care of your health!