Going vegan helps save the environment

Yvonne O'Halloran

It is no secret that the environment is hurting and the future state of our planet is in question. Many feel helpless in this fight, not seeing how one person can make a difference. Luckily, there is something you can do – reduce your intake of meat! 

Of course, going completely vegetarian or vegan overnight is a challenge for many. There is no need to go cold turkey (no pun intended!), but simply switching out a few meat-based meals a week for plant-based ones will significantly help. 

According to the Columbia Climate School, animal agriculture in the U.S uses up half of the land mass the country has and produces a staggering 70% of nitrogen runoff. This runoff ends up in rivers and streams, suffocating the marine and plant life living in these waters. Agriculture itself produces 20% of the U.S’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In order to keep up with the amount of meat consumed in the U.S, 40% of the fresh water found underground is consistently extracted for agricultural use. All meat has a poor environmental impact, but beef is shown to be the most detrimental. In order to raise the cattle, massive stretches of land need to be cleared out to be used as grazing grounds. 

Beef production requires the most water through irrigation, and causes the most greenhouse gases compared to any other source of meat. 460 grams of beef is the typical amount an American consumes in a week. If those people were to cut that consumption to 200 grams a week, the beef industry in the U.S would become much more sustainable. 

So swap out those beef kebabs for tofu kebabs, swap that beef burger for a veggie burger, or make a colourful salad with falafel instead of that meatloaf. 

Not everyone has to become 100% vegan or vegetarian, but if every person did their part and just reduced meat/beef consumption a little at a time, the world would see significant improvement. 

Article Written by Kristin Mattia- United States

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