Let’s let spring keep springin’!:
Do you believe in climate change?
By Heather Moore
A recent report by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans believes that the climate is changing, mostly because of human activities, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back.
If you’re one of them, or if you’re concerned about pollution, water scarcity, food shortages or deforestation, then you really should go vegan. And Earth Day, April 22, is a fitting time to do so.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, animal agriculture adds 7.1 gigatons (that’s a lot) of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. And animal agriculture is the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide, which are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively.
So, if you really want to scale back carbon emissions—and curb other, more potent, greenhouse gases—then scale back your consumption of cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, pulled pork and other animal-based foods. Research shows that meat-eaters are responsible for around 2.5 times more dietary greenhouse-gas emissions per day than vegans.
A recent Arizona State University study found that Buddhists in China offset roughly 40 million tons of greenhouse gases per year just by eating plant-based meals.
Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have calculated various ways to combat climate change and found that cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation and energy use alone isn’t enough. They concluded that curbing meat and dairy consumption is the key to bringing them down to safe levels.
Still proud of yourself for switching to LED light bulbs?
Well, you should be—but just don’t stop there. You can do more. Buying a hybrid car and installing solar panels might not be affordable for everyone, but anyone can prioritize vegan foods over meat, eggs and dairy products. Choosing bean burritos over beef is an easy—and effective—way to combat climate change.
Oh, you say that you’re one of the 12 percent who don’t believe in climate change?
Well, it’s a big world with plenty of other problems caused by animal agriculture that need to be addressed, too. Do you believe in pollution? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that nearly 70 percent of the nation’s lakes, ponds and reservoirs and more than half of its rivers and streams are too polluted for their intended use. The EPA places the blame largely on animal agriculture.
And speaking of water, it takes a whopping 850 gallons of water just to produce 8 ounces of beef but only 174 gallons to produce 8 ounces of soy burger.
And Food Tank reports that just 43 gallons of water can produce a whopping 16 ounces of dried beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils. Plus, the production of beans releases only 5 percent of the volume of greenhouse gases as beef production—if you’re worried about that kind of thing.
If you aren’t, well, did I mention that scientists at Florida International University say that the demand for meat is likely to cause more worldwide species extinctions than any other factor?
Or that researchers with the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna believe that the best way to meet the expected global food demand in the year 2050—without sacrificing any forests—is for everyone to go vegan?
Believing that our climate is changing isn’t the only reason to go vegan—there are billions of other living, breathing, feeling, mooing, oinking, clucking “reasons” as well.
But if you agree with the 70 percent of people who told Yale researchers that they do believe in climate change, then it’s only sensible for you to choose (and enjoy!) vegan meals on Earth Day and beyond.🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸