This past sunday I participated in the People’s Climate March with an estimated 400,000 other people on the streets of New York City. Massive doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was the largest march in history and I was so happy to be a part of it. There were people from all walks of life participating including a vast variety of environmental organizations, religious groups, unions, students, elders, anti- corporate campaigns, peace groups, community groups, scientists, celerbrities…the list goes on and on. It was a peaceful march and a beautiful celebration of people coming together to support a better world.
Just 3 days before, I watched one of the most powerful environmental documentaries that I have ever seen…Cowspiracy. Cowspiracy made the case that the leading cause of environmental destruction on the planet is animal agriculture. The movie is well researched and has a lot of statistics. The data is quite shocking. As a vegan, I have heard that the leading cause of global warming is the raising of animals for meat, but I honestly didn’t realize just how serious of an issue this was until I saw this movie and it was all put in perspective.
A just a few of the shocking facts presented include:
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental degradation on the planet. To put it into perspective, fracking uses 100 billion gallons of water per year, while animal agriculture uses 34 trillion gallons of water.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of all green house gases, as opposed to the 13% that the entire transportation industry combined gives off.
It takes 660 gallons of water to produce enough meat for just one hamburger. It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk
1 acre of rainforest (the equivalent of one football field) is cleared every second, with all of the species in it. Most of this is to clear room to graze cattle.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, over- grazing, over- fishing and habitat disruption.
75% of the ocean is now depleted due to over- fishing. It is predicted that we could see fish-less oceans by 2048 if we don’t change our eating habits
For every 1 pound of fish caught, an average of 5 pounds of unintended marine species including dolphins, whales, sea turtles and sharks are caught and discarded as by-kill.
The statistics show that consuming animal products in any form is unsustainable. Often times people think that it is better to eat grass-fed or “sustainable” meat products. Unfortunately there is no such thing. The movie points out that due to the amount of land that is needed for grass-fed beef, it is even more unsustainable than factory farming.
What was almost equally as disturbing as the statistics in the movie was that major environmental groups didn’t realize or refuse to even mention that animal agriculture is the number one problem destroying the environment. The movie explores this issue and some of the motives behind it, hence the “Cowspiracy”. The movie was brilliantly put together and I left feeling motivated to get the word out to every single person I know. We are running out of time and the entire earth depends on getting this info out there and taking action.
It seemed serendipitous that I watched this film just days before attending the march. It felt like this was our opportunity as vegans to spread the word since the biggest contributor to the problem is not known to many people. It was a massive platform filled with our target audience (people that wanted to heal the earth) and it was our chance to shed some light on the truth. It was important to help those who were already deeply interested in change as well as the passers-by. I was proud to stand with such a lovely group of like-minded people. We handed out flyers and got in to deep discussions. We were embraced by many. And whether or not people made the switch to vegan overnight, the seeds were planted either by reading a sign, having a discussion or receiving a pamphlet. It was an important day. It didn’t matter who funded the march, or the motives behind it. What mattered was that we got to stand together for something that we believe in and share it with the world on a massive scale.
I find that people come to veganism for 4 different reasons… Animal rights, Health, Spirituality or for the Environment. Since this post is about the environment, here are some more statistics:
Vegans Save Every Day:
- 1100 gallons of water
- 45 pounds of grain
- 30 sq. ft. of forest
- 20 pounds of CO2
- 1 animals life
I encourage everyone that is reading this post to see the movie Cowspiracy. Attend a screening and buy dvds. Share the info with friends and family. The time to act is now! www.cowspiracy.com