- Eating Your Way to a Smaller 'Ecological Footprint'
What we choose to eat has an enormous impact on the environment. Following a diet loaded with animal flesh, eggs, and dairy products is like trampling the Earth in an SUV—it's bad for the environment and wastes vast amounts of resources. Switching to a vegetarian diet reduces your "ecological footprint", allowing you to tread lightly on the planet and be compassionate to its inhabitants.
Consider the following:
Eating animals causes global warming.
A major report by the University of Chicago in 2006 found that adopting a vegan diet has a greater impact in the fight against global warming than switching to a hybrid car does.
It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh. It's shockingly inefficient to feed plant foods to farmed animals and consume their flesh rather than eating the plant foods ourselves.
In the U.S. every second, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows in factory farms produce nearly 89,000 pounds of excrement, which is contaminated with the antibiotics and hormones that are pumped into these animals.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the runoff from factory farms pollutes our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. Industrial agriculture consumes and wastes a tremendous amount of resources:
In the U.S., 70 percent of all grains, 80 percent of all agricultural land, half of all water resources, and one-third of all fossil fuels are used to raise animals for food.
Eating animals destroys the rain forest. Most environmentalists are aware that the Amazon has been slashed and burned in order to create grazing space for cows. But perhaps an even greater threat is the destruction of rain forest in order to create land where feed is grown for factory-farmed animals in wealthy nations.
A recent report by Greenpeace blamed the chicken-flesh industry, particularly KFC, for leading the way in destroying the Amazon.
By choosing vegetarianism instead of a diet loaded with animal products, you can dramatically reduce the amount of land, water, and oil resources that you consume and the amount of pollution that you cause. Of course, reducing your ecological footprint should also mean causing less harm to the Earth's nonhuman inhabitants: By switching to a vegetarian diet, you can save more than 100 animals each year from the horrific cruelty of the flesh, egg, and dairy industries. Please make the compassionate, environmentally friendly choice to switch to a healthy vegetarian diet.