After eating meat your whole life and then deciding to go completely vegetarian can be an intimidating mountain in front of you, but what if it wasn’t as hard as what your bacon-hungry brain is making you think it is? No one is forcing you to put the burger down, but just one veggie-based meal one day a week can do some good. According to extensive studies, if everyone went meatless even for one day, the U.S. alone would save 100 billion gallons of water and reduce greenhouse emission gases by 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide. If everyone in the world went meatless for one day a week, imagine how much the planet could heal in a short amount of time. As a global community, we all need to come together and figure out how we can all do our part to help our planet thrive.
Many people worry about not being as full when they are done with their meals, which is an easy fix. Incorporating a hearty, meatless meal with edamame, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, brown rice, and topped with a nice peanut sauce is a great place to start and will help you gauge where you are after your first veggie-based meal. However, you don’t need to go completely meatless as soon as you made your decision. Making simple changes like eating ground turkey instead of ground beef or eating salmon instead of steak, can later have a lasting impact. The exposure humans have constantly to pollution can make us potentially more prone to diseases like E Coli, salmonella, or cryptosporidium. Due to things such as animal waste, pathogens can get passed down to humans easier from water runoff.
Whenever humans consume chicken or beef, think about the fact that you have already ingested the amount of water that the animal consumed during its life. A pound of potatoes requires approximately 7 gallons of water to grow, a pound of beef may need as much as 2,378 gallons of water and a chicken can consume 396 gallons of water. A pig farm of 80,000 pigs will consume more than 75 million gallons of water per year. Simply put, livestock farming accounts for 70% of water consumption.
Small Steps for a Big Change
Humans intake approximately 230 million tons of animal protein a year and the animals we farm can be expensive to feed, transport, and keep healthy. Also, farmable livestock consumes approximately 30% of the available ice-free surface area of the planet and the number is estimated to increase as the population grows. Deforestation, water, and air pollution are just three of the multiple causes of climate change that are linked to livestock farming. If these farms turned to more sustainable farming, using more eco-friendly pest killers, or even turning to fruit, vegetable, or grain farming, it could quickly reverse a significant amount of damage done. Healing our planet properly is about everyone doing their small part to work towards a greater purpose.
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