Anyone paying attention to climate change knows that it is more than just carbon emissions from cars or factories. Recent, unsustainable agricultural practices have been called out for their immense impact on the environment. Waste output, water consumption, and land requirements needed for pasture animals is incredibly high and struggling for sustainability considering today’s growing populations.
The Case Against Meat
Few organizations have better insight in the agriculture and farming industry than the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. According to the ASCN, total food production in the United States accounts for 50% of total US land area, 80% of total freshwater, and 17% of the fossil energy. Considering the scarcity of water and other finite resources, it is becoming harder and harder to justify allocating them to wasteful practices.
And it’s not just what cattle consumes that is the issue, it’s also what they leave behind. If you have been next to livestock you can attest that cattle smell, well, interesting. Truth be told, cattle actually do burp and fart a lot—up to 30-50 gallons a day per cow—and scientists actually believe this is a huge reason for climate change.
The gas waste from pasture animals is high in methane (CH4), which is considered by many as a primary cause of global warming. As bad as carbon dioxide is, methane is worse—about 30x worse. This means that global meat production affects climate change from a few different angles. When combining emissions of cutting and plowing land with methane-rich flatulence from over a billion cows (not to mention having less trees to absorb said C02), you get the makings for one hot planet.
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