Climate Change and Veganism

Introduction

Climate change, despite still being denied by many, is a well established theory with overwhelming evidence to support it. Climate scientists have been warning governments around the world for decades to take necessary steps to reduce global carbon emissions to avoid climate catastrophe, but so far not enough has been done to combat this major problem.


Effects of climate change

The destabilisation of the climate negatively impacts just about every area of life. Below are three areas of life that are being impacted due to climate change:

1) Ecosystems

  • Erosion of the coral reef – “experts project that 90% of the world’s reefs will be gone by 2050. Coral reefs are among the earth’s most precious natural resources. They harbor a million species and provide food for 500 million people around the world. But warming waters, pollution and overfishing have badly damaged these precious ecosystems; roughly 50 percent of the world’s corals have been lost in just the last 30 years. http://www.activist360.co/tag/dr-ruth-gates/
  • Species extinction – “Human-caused climate change appears to have driven the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal species into the history books, with the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that lives on a tiny island in the eastern Torres Strait, being completely wiped-out from its only known location. It is also the first recorded extinction of a mammal anywhere in the world thought to be primarily due to human-caused climate change.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/14/first-case-emerges-of-mammal-species-wiped-out-by-human-induced-climate-change
  • Toxic red tide – “Florida is having a 10-month streak of toxic red tide. This so-called red tide has killed hordes of marine animals and is entering its 10th month of existence—making it one of the longest-lasting cases documented to date…According to Glibert, there are two key factors contributing to this worldwide shift: increasing nutrient run-off from farms, lawns, and other land-based sources, and changes in precipitation and storm patterns occurring as a result of climate change. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/florida-is-having-a-10-month-streak-of-toxic-red-tide-64632

2) Social

3) Energy


How can veganism help

There are many things an individual can do to reduce their carbon footprint, including: have fewer or no children, recycle more, walk, cycle and use public transport more, use automobiles and planes less, use less electricity, and educate others.
One of the best ways, that is often not talked about, is to go vegan and switch to a plant-based diet.

“Which diet is best for the environment? According to the most comprehensive analysis of farming’s impact on the planet, plant-based food is most effective at combatting climate change. Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore, who led the study, said adopting a vegan diet is “the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth…” https://livekindly.co/eating-vegan-is-the-most-effective-way-to-combat-climate-change-says-largest-ever-food-production-analysis/

1) Less water use

https://mercyforanimals.org/animal-agriculture-wastes-one-third-of-drinkable

  • About one-third of the world’s water consumption is for producing animal products.
  • According to data from the Pacific Institute and National Geographic, a single egg takes 53 gallons of water to produce, a pound of chicken 468 gallons, a gallon of cow’s milk 880 gallons, and a pound of beef 1,800 gallons.
  • Growing crops to feed animals killed for food consumes 56 percent of water in the U.S.
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 20 to 33 percent of all fresh water consumption in the world.
  • Because animals are so densely packed on today’s industrial farms, they produce more manure than can be absorbed by the land as fertilizer. The runoff from these facilities grossly contaminates rivers and ground water.
  • Tyson, America’s largest meat producer, is responsible for dumping more toxic pollutants into our waterways than companies like ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical.
  • Animal excrement and agricultural runoff have polluted nearly one-third of rivers in the U.S.
  • One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce—the equivalent of two months’ worth of showers.
  • A pound of chicken requires 71 percent more water to produce than a pound of soy.

2) Less pollution

  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. www.cowspiracy.com/facts
  • Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. www.cowspiracy.com/facts
  • Livestock operations on land have created more than 500 nitrogen flooded deadzones around the world in our oceans. www.cowspiracy.com/facts
  • Animal agriculture is the leading cause of ocean dead zones…water pollution. www.cowspiracy.com/facts

3) Less environmental destruction

4) Less species extinction

5) Less energy waste

  • “In general, each trophic level relates to the one below it by absorbing some of the energy it consumes, and in this way can be regarded as resting on, or supported by, the next lower trophic level. Food chains can be diagrammed to illustrate the amount of energy that moves from one feeding level to the next in a food chain. This is called an energy pyramid. The energy transferred between levels can also be thought of as approximating to a transfer in biomass, so energy pyramids can also be viewed as biomass pyramids, picturing the amount of biomass that results at higher levels from biomass consumed at lower levels. However, when primary producers grow rapidly and are consumed rapidly, the biomass at any one moment may be low; for example, phytoplankton (producer) biomass can be low compared to the zooplankton (consumer) biomass in the same area of ocean” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophic_level#Biomass_transfer_efficiency
  • “The ten percent law of transfer of energy from one trophic level to the next can be attributed to Raymond Lindeman (1942), although Lindeman did not call it a “law” and cited ecological efficiencies ranging from 0.1% to 37.5%. According to this law, during the transfer of organic food energy from one trophic level to the next higher level, only about ten percent of the transferred energy is stored as flesh. The remaining is lost during transfer, broken down in respiration, or lost to incomplete digestion by higher trophic level.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_efficiency#Ten_percent_law

Summary

Climate change is real, human activity has been proven to be a major cause, and there are several things you can do to reduce its impact:

  1. Have fewer or no children
  2. Recycle more
  3. Walk, cycle and use public transport more, and use automobiles and planes less
  4. Switch to a plant-based diet
  5. Use less electricity
  6. Educate others

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