Ask a Vegan: How Does Giving Up Meat Affect the Environment?'
'How does a Vegan diet help the environment? I don't understand how giving up meat relates to climate change?'
Answer: There are multiple ways in which livestock production contributes to climate change. The first is that livestock emit the greenhouse gas methane through belching which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. While some methane would naturally be emitted, the scale of the industry due to high demand from fast food restaurants and others makes emissions much larger. Meat and dairy products travel long distances and often globally resulting in lots of transportation pollution. Livestock agriculture is responsible for emissions from land use change since it occupies 30% of all land. Animal feed must also be produced and transported to the animals instead of going directly to human consumption since they are not always grass fed. And after all this, animal products must still be processed and packaged in factories through burning fossil fuels.
Not only is eating meat bad for the environment but it is responsible for animal cruelty, uses controversial genetic modifications, uses far too much grains for animal feed that could otherwise be used to feed the hungry, and is not even the healthiest protein alternative. All of these reasons should be enough for you to consider going vegan or at least as much as possible :) .
Kaley Hall is a recent graduate of McGill University and is now working as an intern for Four Green Steps. She has been vegan for over a year and is completely dedicated to environmental and animal rights. She is constantly looking for ways to live a healthier and more environmentally conscious lifestyle and she is always happy to offer tips and suggestions!
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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