A few facts everyone should know about meat

animal ag impact CHRISTINE MCINTOSH/THE REVIEW
Agriculture, including the raising of livestock, uses about 80-90% of the United States’ water supply.

BY
Staff Reporter


That burger you ate last night for dinner may be the leading cause of global climate change.

This is probably not what you wanted to hear about the meat that the majority of people enjoy on a daily basis. Research seems to suggest that it is causing more greenhouse gases than all the modes of transportation combined, is the leading cause of ocean dead zones, takes up large amounts of land and requires an astronomical amount of water to end up on your dinner plate.

First: the emissions.

As of 2006, 18 percent of all greenhouse emissions come directly from animal agriculture. That doesn’t include all the indirect emissions, which account for 30 percent of the total greenhouse gas amount. These figures will continuously increase as countries develop: by 2050, the projected amount of greenhouse gases that can be attributed to animal agriculture will increase by 80 percent. The desire and demand for meat becomes more prevalent as societies increase their standard of living.

Second: the fragility of the world’s oceans and overall land use.

45 percent of the Earth’s land is dedicated to animal agriculture, meaning one-third of the land not covered in ice is being used solely to provide us with animal products. All these animals are bound to create a waste problem. The runoff from farms has led to multiple ocean dead zones, the most infamous being the Gulf of Mexico. Ocean acidification leads to the loss of marine species and puts stress on the integrity and health of these grand bodies of water.

Last: the water consumption.

Agriculture uses 80 to 90 percent of the United States’ water supply. In a time where drought remains a pressing issue in places like California, it seems counterintuitive to suggest showering for a shorter amount of time when producing one pound of beef will equal 1,799 gallons of water. All this water being used for animals could easily be used for more sustainable plant-based options which would feed so many more people and help tend to the water crisis.

This article is meant to stimulate thought and create awareness, not to make readers upset and offended about their food choices. I realize that meat is delicious and that there is an argument for its health benefits, but the amounts that Americans tend to eat don’t need to be as high as they are. I encourage everyone to do their own research and think about how our own everyday choices may be impacting the world around us.

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