What if Everyone was Vegan or Vegetarian For a Day?
Written by Ruth Barringham
Created Tuesday, 16 April 2013
If everyone was vegetarian or vegan - just for one day - the effects would be amazing. Can you imagine a world without slaughterhouses, with no unmanagable piles of animal excrement and with 60% less pollution? Just wait till you see how great it would be if everyone was vegetariain or vegan for just one day.
It’s been a well-known (yet largely ignored) fact for decades now, that eating a meat-based diet damages the planet more than just any other human activity on earth.
And whether you agree with this or not, wait till you see the startling effects, and how much can be saved, if meat production was ceased for just one day.
In Australia, Mark Doneddu has been trying to get this message across since 2003 when he began the first World Vegan Day in Melbourne
Why Being Vegan Is Better For All
People switch to a vegan diet for many reasons, one of which is the utter cruelty of the meat, dairy and egg industries.
These industries also have a huge negative impact on the environment.
According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011, more than 5 million pigs, 8 million cows, 33 million sheep and 460 million chickens were slaughtered.
These are HUGE numbers so it’s not surprising that pollution from the meat industry accounts for 91 mega tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, while the transport industry emits much less at 80.4 mega tonnes, according to a CSIRO report.
In the report, it was concluded that switching from eating meat to eating pasta and beans would have the biggest impact on a person’s carbon footprint.
They further stated that it takes 50,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef compared to 560 litres to produce a kilo of corn and only 500 litres for a kilo of potatoes.
Mark Doneddu said that “The amount of water you save on a plant based diet is enormous.”
Why We Have More Food Than We Need
Globally we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals while, at the same time, there are 1.4 billion people living in abject poverty around the world.
If this grain was fed to those 1.4 billion starving people, they would each have twice as much grain as they needed every day.
Peter Singer, a Princeton bioethicist says “The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we - the relatively affluent - have found a way to consume 4 or 5 times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly.
What This Means On A Daily Basis
According to statistics published on alternet.org, if there was no meat production and everyone was vegetarian or vegan for just one day, the saving would be unbelievable.
Just as a small example, if everyone in the US was vegetarian or vegan for one day the US would save:
- 1.5 billion pounds of crops fed to farm animals - enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year.
- 70 million gallons of fuel - which is enough to fuel all the cars in Mexico and Canada combined.
- 33 tons of antibiotics.
And in the US alone, this would prevent:
- 1.2 million tons of CO2, greenhouse gas emissions - which is as much as produced in the whole of France.
- 4.5 million tons of animal excrement.
- Nearly 7 tons of ammonia emissions.
- 3 million tons of soil erosion.
And…(this is the statistic I love the most):
If everyone in the US skipped just one chicken meal a week and ate vegetarian/vegan food instead, the savings of carbon dioxide pollution would be the same as taking half a million cars off the roads.
So if you’re a vegan, next time someone tells you that you need to do more to reduce your carbon footprint, ask them what they had for dinner last night and show them these numbers.
Ruth Barringham is a vegan, writer and web entrepreneur from Brisbane, Australia. She runs several websites on the internet and her main site for writers is Writeaholics.net. She also has a new vegan website, Australian Vegan.net.
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