Why veganism can help save the environment

Columnist Kitana Gachero


Columnist Kitana Gachero

There’s no doubt America is a large consumer of animal products. But how much animal products do Americans actually consume?
As reported by National Public Radio, in 2007 the average American consumed 270 pounds of meat.
That same year the Environmental Protection Agency reported that agriculture in the United States alone contributed to 18 percent of the nation’s pollution. Shocking? It gets worse.
Agriculture is a wasteful method to produce food and is detrimental to the environment. The amount of energy it takes to support agriculture versus the effects on the environment are outstanding.
Following a vegan lifestyle can promote a sustainable environment.
Veganism is a lifestyle in which a person doesn’t eat or use animal products. This means not eating beef, dairy, eggs, fish, chicken or using animal products with authentic leather or animal fur.
Following a vegan lifestyle can lead to minimizing harmful agricultural practices.  
Resources that are already limited are consumed at aggregate amounts when it comes to the cultivation and slaughtering of animals.
To produce just one pound of beef it takes 6.7 pounds of grains and feed, 52.8 gallons of drinking water, 74.5 square feet of land for grazing and a massive 1,036 BTUs for feed production and transport. BTU’s are a unit of measurement, British thermal unit, that measures the amount of energy used to raise the temperature of one pound of water.
A study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found if a large part of the population were to adopt a vegan diet, by the year 2050, the global mortality rate could be reduced six to 10 percent as well as reduce food related greenhouse gas emissions 29 to 70 percent.
Another detrimental problem agriculture presents is deforestation. The Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research reports that agriculture is responsible for 75 percent of global deforestation.
Specifically, if trends continue, ten million square kilometers will be cleared by 2050 to compensate for food demand.
Quite frankly, these staggering statistics about how wasteful the agriculture industry is should be triggering enough to prompt people to strive for a vegan lifestyle.
If people were able to come together as a collective force the benefits would be outstanding.  
People may wonder as individuals what they can do to promote a sustainable environment. An imperative solution is to aim to follow a vegan lifestyle. Not only is it beneficial to an individual, but it is beneficial for the greater good of the environment.
Given this, a plant-based diet can drastically decrease the pollution and energy waste currently caused by agriculture.
The long term effects of these practices are not worth the temporary enjoyment of consuming animal products.