We've talked about the water saving benefits of going meatless, most recently demonstrated how to save fuel emissions, and have a few different posts on nutritional benefits of meat substitutions. However, there is another huge environmental problem that still needs to be discussed. Let's take a look at meat productions effects on deforestation.
A common lesson that many of us have been told since a young age is to stop wasting paper because it is killing the trees. Well, did you ever consider that the meat you are consuming could be responsible for killing trees at a much larger scale? Deforestation is when land that once was inhibited by trees and other wildlife is destroyed to create bare flat land, useful for agriculture. Space to allow cattle grazing for meat is not the only purpose of deforestation, but it is one of the main culprits. 30% of the Earth's land mass is used specifically to raise animals.
Lets take a deeper look on what exactly are the negative effects of deforestation. To get an idea of how much land is really effected by deforestation, 80% of land deforested in the Amazon is used as cattle pasture. Over two-thirds of all the fresh water on earth is found within the Amazon basin and over 20% of the earth’s oxygen is produced there.This is serious stuff people!
By now, as you may have gathered from other posts in this blog that beef production is a primary problem. As we have learned, beef production depends on the most water and fuel emissions for processing. In this instance too, beef makes up about 24% of the worlds meat consumption but requires roughly 7 billion acres of land to produce, whereas pork and poultry make up 34% of global meat consumption, and each takes about 1 million acres of land to produce, according to GreenPeace.org.
Now, we've been throwing around a lot of facts and figures, and this may seem like a problem way over your head. Let's take a moment to take this back to going meatless. If everyone in America went meatless on Mondays, we would save 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware!
Before we can make this change throughout America, it is time to make this change locally. Encouraging your friends to avoid eating meat on Monday will lower the amount of meat we need to purchase on a weekly basis and decreasing our demand will require less resources for meat processing companies. If we can spread this along to friends and family, they can encourage people they know to do the same. It might seem like a feat, but look how far we've come with cutting down on paper usage to save more trees, IC is finally encouraging students to use less paper by enacting a printing policy. Now, let's inspire everyone on campus to want to go Meatless on Mondays!
Save the trees!
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