What Impact Does Animal Agriculture Have on the Environment?

One question I am consistently asked is why I follow a vegan lifestyle. While there are a myriad of reasons, which unfailingly generate controversy and subjectivities, I’d like to discuss one aspect of it that is based on objective facts.

One element that sparked my interest in veganism is the effect of large-scale animal agriculture on the environment.

The documentary Cowspiracy, appropriately labeled “the film that environmental organizations don’t want you to see,” discusses the links between animal agriculture and climate change.

For brevity’s sake, I’ll highlight 10 key facts that jumped out at me, although, I do encourage anyone who cares about the environment to watch the whole documentary.

Fact 1: Animal agriculture accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which exceeds that combined exhaust from all transportation. Transportation exhaust accounts for 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Fact 2: Livestock and their byproducts are responsible 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

Fact 3: Livestock accounts for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas with nearly 300x the global warming potential of CO2) and stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.

Fact 4: At our current rate, emission for agriculture are expected to increase 80% by the year 2050.

Fact 5: Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of U.S water consumption (similar statistics for Canada).

Fact 6: One pound of beef can use up to 2500 gallons of water to produce, 1,000 gallons of water are needed to produce one gallon of milk and almost 500 gallons of water is needed to produce one pound of eggs.

Fact 7: Animal agriculture accounts for 20-33% of all freshwater consumption in the world today.

Fact 8: Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.

Fact 9: Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

Fact 10: A person who follows a vegan diet produces the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11 oil, 1/13 water, and 1/18 land compared to a meat-love for their food.

These facts can be found in greater detail accompanied by sources on http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/.

In a time where humans are using the earth’s resources far more rapidly than they can be replenished, it’s important to take notice of the greatest contributors to their detriment.Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 9.39.50 PM


One thought on “What Impact Does Animal Agriculture Have on the Environment?

  1. great great article! i loved Cowspiracy – that poster is super handy too, i hadn’t seen that before, but would be great to show the doubters! i’d love, if you have some time, to check out some of my posts, all feedback welcome!

    Liked by 1 person

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