This page contains quotes from reports in news media and science journals on how we are “eating our future” via the omnivore diet with meat and dairy products. These studies reveal how our consumer support of animal agriculture businesses increase:
- Our carbon footprint through the production of climate-changing greenhouse gases.
- The pollution and wastes that damage ecosystems.
- Deforestation, the destruction of wilderness and threats to biodiversity.
- The inefficient wasting of resources such as grains, fresh water, fossil fuels and lands suitable for food production.
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From CNN: “Climate Change: Why Beef is the new SUV”
“The world is faced with the herculean task of trying to limit warming to 2 degrees C … the point at which climate change is expected to get especially dangerous, leading to mega-droughts, mass extinctions & a sea-level rise that could wipe low-lying countries off the map…
“Globally, 14.5% of all greenhouse gas pollution can be attributed to livestock, according to the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization… a huge chunk of the livestock industry’s role – 65% – comes from raising beef & dairy cattle… About 70% of this planet’s agricultural land is used for livestock production… In the Amazon, cattle production accounts for an estimated 50% to 80% of all deforestation…
Beef is … a hopelessly selfish, American indulgence; a middle finger to the planet…
Would you stop eating beef to save the planet?…”
Source: CNN, Sep 29, 2015 – http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/29/opinions/sutter-beef-suv-cliamte-two-degrees/
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“Agriculture consumes about 70% of fresh water worldwide; for example, approximately 1000 liters (L) of water are required to produce 1 kilogram (kg) of cereal grain, and 43,000 L to produce 1 kg of beef…”
Reference: “Water Resources: Agricultural and Environmental Issues”, BioScience, Volume 54, Issue 10, 1 October 2004, Pages 909–918; at https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/54/10/909/230205/Water-Resources-Agricultural-and-Environmental
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November 2017 – “The Industrial Livestock Industry is Creating a Climate Crisis – The top five mega-corporations responsible for factory-farmed meat and dairy are responsible for emitting more combined greenhouse gases (GHGs) than Exxon, or Shell, or BP. That is according to findings just released in a joint study undertaken by IATP and GRAIN… ” from article by IATP – The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy – at
“Three meat companies – JBS, Cargill and Tyson – emitted more greenhouse gases last year than all of France… the top 20 meat and dairy companies emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016 than all of Germany, Europe’s biggest climate polluter by far. If these companies were a country, they would be the world’s 7th largest greenhouse gas emitter. It’s now clear that that the world cannot avoid climate catastrophe without addressing the staggering emissions from the largest meat and dairy conglomerates…” from article at https://www.grain.org/article/entries/5825-big-meat-and-dairy-s-supersized-climate-footprint with related infographics.
Related report in The Guardian newspaper: “Big meat and big dairy’s climate emissions put Exxon Mobil to shame – It is time to stop the dairy and meat giants from destroying the climate… livestock production now contributes nearly 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, even more than the transportation sector. If production continues to grow as projected by the FAO, emissions will escalate to the point where industrial meat and dairy production alone will undercut our ability to keep temperatures from rising to an apocalyptic scenario…”
Article at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/07/big-meat-big-dairy-carbon-emmissions-exxon-mobil
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A 2017 CBC article titled “Bad news: Eating local, organic won’t shrink your carbon footprint…”
Excerpt: “scientists have done the math on dietary changes that can make a difference… Clark compared the environmental impacts of different food production practices by compiling the energy and land use, as well as other environmental impacts calculated in 164 different scientific papers on 742 food production systems. He published the results in June in the open access journal Environmental Research Letters.
The study found that organic and conventional agriculture “did not differ significantly in their greenhouse gas emissions.”…
Some of Clark’s other findings were:
– Grass-fed beef generates 19 per cent more emissions per kilogram than grain-fed beef, largely because grass is less nutritionally dense. Cattle need to eat more grass to get the same nutrition as they would from a smaller amount of grain, they grow more slowly, and must be raised for a longer time before slaughter, generating more emissions.
– Trawled fish, especially flat fish, such as sole and halibut, generate an average of 2.8 times more emissions than schooling fish caught with mid-water trawling, seine nets and lines such mackerel and cod…
Seth Wynes, a PhD student in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, did a similar analysis to Clark in July, but focused on different recommended “green” lifestyle choices rather than food production. His paper was also published in Environmental Research Letters.
Wynes found that while buying local can have other benefits, such as supporting local communities and knowing where your food comes from, “in terms of your emissions, it’s just not a big deal.”
The difference is so small that by taking a short drive to pick up local food, you could end up generating more emissions than if you walked to the nearest store to grab something imported.
On the other hand, both Wynes and Clark found that switching to a plant-based diet could make a huge difference. Wynes found going from omnivore to vegetarian could reduce your personal carbon emissions by about 0.8 tonnes per year — a bigger difference than replacing your gasoline-powered car with a hybrid. Going from omnivore to vegan would reduce your emissions by 0.9 tonnes per year.
Over the entire population, that can add up…
In an earlier study using the same data set as his more recent study, he found that global emissions from food production will increase by 80 per cent by 2050, from 2.27 billion to 4.1 billion tonnes of carbon per year, if current dietary and income trends continue. If everyone switched to a vegetarian diet, they would instead decrease by 55 per cent to 1.02 billion tonnes of carbon per year…
He recommends starting by reducing the amount of beef, goat and lamb in your diet, as those by far generate the most emissions…”
Article at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/local-organic-carbon-footprint-1.4389910
Link for the report by Michael Clark and David Tilman titled – “Comparative analysis of environmental impacts of agricultural production systems, agricultural input efficiency, and food choice”, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 12, Number 6; at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa6cd5/meta
Link for the report by Seth Wynes and Kimberly A Nicholas titled – “The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions”, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 12, Number 7; at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541/meta
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The Guardian, UK newspaper: “United Nations urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet … A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a United Nations report said today… Western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable… Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use…” Source: The Guardian newspaper, 2010; http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet
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New Scientist October 2017: “Grass-fed Beef is Bad for the Planet and Causes Climate Change.”
Excerpts: “New calculations suggest cattle pastures contribute to climate change… The truth is, we cannot eat as much meat as we like and save the planet…
A key problem is that microorganisms in the guts of cattle emit millions of tonnes of methane every year. A typical cow releases 100 kilograms of methane a year and the world has about a billion of them. Since methane is a greenhouse gas, this exacerbates global warming.
Meanwhile, feeding the beasts destroys forests by taking land for pasture or to grow feed – and this deforestation also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions…
Doing the Sums… Garnett and her colleagues [at the University of Oxford’s Food Climate Research Network] calculated the flow of greenhouse gases into and out of pastures…
Her findings are published in a report, Grazed and Confused?
The analysis is more comprehensive than past studies, says Tim Benton at the University of Leeds, UK. “It asks, if we are to eat meat, is there a better way to grow it? The answer is: not really.”…
Many cattle, especially in the tropics, graze on former forest land. In places such as the Brazilian Amazon, clearing trees for cattle causes massive greenhouse gas emissions…
Garnett’s conclusion is supported by a study published on 29 September, which found that methane emissions from cattle are 11 per cent larger than older methods would suggest, and thus a bigger contributor to global warming…
“We need to reduce emissions from livestock,” says Benton. “That needs to come from dietary change.”
From article at https://www.newscientist.com/article/2149220-grass-fed-beef-is-bad-for-the-planet-and-causes-climate-change/
A related 2017 article by Tara Garnett of Oxford University’s Food Climate Research Network “Why eating grass-fed beef isn’t going to help fight climate change” – some excerpts: “Most studies conclude that if you look at the amount of land used and greenhouse gas emissions produced per kilogram of meat, pasture-based cattle actually have a greater climate impact than animals fed grains and soy… grazing livestock – even in a best-case scenario – are net contributors to the climate problem, as are all livestock. Good grazing management cannot offset its own emissions, let alone those arising from other systems of animal production…
Grazing ruminants have historically driven deforestation and the carbon dioxide emissions associated with it. But today, demand for soy and grains to feed pigs, poultry, and intensively reared cattle poses a new threat. This drives the conversion of grassland to grow such grains and the release of carbon stored in it…
Forests are still cut down while grasslands are being intensified to support more livestock farming… whatever the system and animal type, rising animal production and consumption is driving damaging changes in land use and associated release of greenhouse gases...
The more that demand for meat increases, the harder it will be to tackle our climatic and other environmental challenges.”
Full article at https://theconversation.com/why-eating-grass-fed-beef-isnt-going-to-help-fight-climate-change-84237 and also at http://www.fcrn.org.uk/fcrn-blogs/tara-garnett/blog-post-tara-garnett-why-eating-grass-fed-beef-isn%E2%80%99t-going-help-fight
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A 2002 article in The Guardian is titled “Earth ‘will expire by 2050′” an excerpt: “Our planet is running out of room and resources… A study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)… warns that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life… The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades…” – https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/jul/07/research.waste
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Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest – often referred to as “The Lungs of the Earth”
The World Bank’s publication “Causes of Deforestation of the Amazon Brazilian Rainforest” (2004) states: “Land-use data on Amazonia demonstrates that the main cause of deforestation in the region is cattle ranching…” (p.59) “Cattle ranching enterprises now occupy nearly 75 percent of the deforested areas of Amazonia…” (p.XVIII)
Access the report via https://tinyurl.com/amazondeforest
and directly at http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2004/02/02/000090341_20040202130625/Rendered/PDF/277150PAPER0wbwp0no1022.pdf
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2017 report in Scientific American: “Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues. Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said… The causes of soil destruction include chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation which increases erosion, and global warming…” at
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A 2009 article in the Independent newspaper is titled “Study claims meat creates half of all greenhouse gases”
Excerpt: “Livestock causes far more climate damage than first thought, says a new report … In a paper published by a respected US thinktank, the Worldwatch Institute, two World Bank environmental advisers claim that instead of 18 per cent of global emissions being caused by meat, the true figure is 51 per cent.
They claim that United Nation’s figures have severely underestimated the greenhouse gases caused by tens of billions of cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and other animals in three main areas: methane, land use and respiration.
Their findings… come amid increasing calls from climate change experts for people to eat less meat.
In the 19-page report, Robert Goodland, a former lead environmental adviser to the World Bank, and Jeff Anhang, a current adviser, suggest that domesticated animals cause 32 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), more than the combined impact of industry and energy…”
Source: The Independent newspaper, UK, 2009: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/study-claims-meat-creates-half-of-all-greenhouse-gases-1812909.html
Regards that 51% figure the report it is from is available at http://worldwatch.org/node/6294 – click on the link for “Livestock and Climate Change,” World Watch Magazine [FREE PDF]”
Excerpt from that page: “A widely cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Livestock’s Long Shadow, estimates that 18 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions are attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs, and poultry. But recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang finds that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.”
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“Many researchers have highlighted the need for changes to food consumption in order to achieve the required greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions… Our results demonstrate that substituting one food for another, beans for beef, could achieve approximately 46 to 74% of the reductions needed to meet the 2020 GHG target for the US. In turn, this shift would free up 42% of US cropland (692,918 km2). While not currently recognized as a climate policy option, the “beans for beef” scenario offers significant climate change mitigation and other environmental benefits, illustrating the high potential of animal to plant food shifts.”
Reference: “Substituting beans for beef as a contribution toward US climate change targets”, Climatic Change, 11 May 2017; doi:10.1007/s10584-017-1969-1; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-017-1969-1
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From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), 2003, a study titled “Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment”
- “The major threat to future survival and to U.S. natural resources is rapid population growth …
- The average fossil energy input for all the animal protein production systems studied… is more than 11 times greater than that for grain protein production …
- Producing 1 kg of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing 1 kg of grain protein …
- On rangeland for forage production, more than 200,000 liters of water are needed to produce 1 kg of beef …
- Producing 1 kg of fresh beef may require about 13 kg of grain and 30 kg of hay …
- The amount of grains fed to US livestock is sufficient to feed about 840 million people who follow a plant-based diet [that’s 2.6 times present population] …
- In the United States, more than 9 billion livestock are maintained to supply the animal protein consumed each year…
- The US livestock population consumes more than 7 times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population …
- Each American consumes about twice the RDA for protein. Americans on average are eating too much protein and are consuming about 1000 kcal in excess per day per capita …
- Both the meat-based average American diet and the lacto-ovo-vegetarian (dairy and poultry/eggs) diet… are not sustainable in the long term based on heavy fossil energy requirements…”
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, No. 3, 660S-663S, September 2003; http://www.ajcn.org/content/78/3/660S.full
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A 2015 article on the Lewis & Clark Law School site is titled “A Leading Cause of Everything: One Industry That Is Destroying Our Planet and Our Ability to Thrive on It” – The introduction: “Climate change. Ocean dead zones. Fisheries depletion. Species extinction. Deforestation. World hunger. Food safety. Heart disease. Obesity. Diabetes. The list goes on. There is one issue at the heart of all these global problems that is too often overlooked by private individuals and policy makers alike – our demand for and reliance on animal products. We can take a substantial step towards addressing all these problems simultaneously through reducing or eliminating our reliance on meat and dairy products…”
Article at http://elawreview.org/environmental-law-review-syndicate/a-leading-cause-of-everything-one-industry-that-is-destroying-our-planet-and-our-ability-to-thrive-on-it/
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“Methane emissions from cattle are 11% higher than estimated” is a 2017 article in Guardian newspaper (UK). Excerpt: “Bigger livestock in larger numbers in more regions has led to methane in the air climbing faster than predicted due to ‘out-of-date data… posing an additional challenge in the fight to curb global warming, scientists have said…
After rising slowly from 2000 to 2006, the concentration of methane in the air has climbed 10 times more quickly in the last decade…
methane from human activity – approximately two-thirds of the total – is produced in two ways: the odourless and colourless gas leaks during the production and transport of coal, oil and especially natural gas; and, in roughly equal measure, from the flatulence of ruminants such as cattle and sheep, as well as the decay of organic waste, notably in landfills.
Methane accounted for about 16% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, according to the IPCC…
Methane is far more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, capturing more of the sun’s radiative force, but it persists for less time in the atmosphere. Taking that into account, scientists calculate that over a 100-year period the “global-warming potential” of the gas is 28 times greater than for carbon dioxide…”
Article at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/29/methane-emissions-cattle-11-percent-higher-than-estimated
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The Independent: “Cow ’emissions’ more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars”
“Meet the world’s top destroyer of the environment. It is not the car, or the plane, or even George Bush: it is the cow.
A United Nations report has identified the world’s rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs.
The 400-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow, also surveys the damage done by sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world’s 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.
Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it – and clearing vegetation for grazing – produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.
Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world’s emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain.
Ranching, the report adds, is “the major driver of deforestation” worldwide, and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert. Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk.
Wastes from feedlots and fertilisers used to grow their feed overnourish water, causing weeds to choke all other life. And the pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used to treat them get into drinking water and endanger human health.
The pollution washes down to the sea, killing coral reefs and creating “dead zones” devoid of life. One is up to 21,000sqkm, in the Gulf of Mexico, where much of the waste from US beef production is carried down the Mississippi.
The report concludes that, unless drastic changes are made, the massive damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases.”
Source: Independent newspaper UK, Sunday 10 December 2006 – http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cow-emissions-more-damaging-to-planet-than-co2-from-cars-427843.html
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A 2016 article on the RMIT University website is titled “New study provides carbon footprint league table for food.” Excerpts: “Researchers have compiled the first comprehensive carbon footprint league table for fresh food so chefs, caterers and everyday foodies can cook meals without cooking the planet…
Grains, fruit and vegetables were found to have the lowest impact, followed by nuts and pulses. Chicken and pork (non-ruminant meat) had a medium impact. Fish also had a medium impact on average, however results between species varied significantly. Meat from beef and lamb (ruminant animals with multiple guts) had the highest impact...”
Article at http://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2016/november/new-study-provides-carbon-footprint-league-table-for-food
Regards the study titled “Systematic review of greenhouse gas emissions for different fresh food categories” see http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652616303584
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The Guardian: “There’s a population crisis all right. But probably not the one you think…”
Excerpts: “While all eyes are on human numbers, it’s the rise in farm animals that is laying the planet waste…
If we want to reduce our impacts this century, the paper concludes, it is consumption we must address. Population growth is outpaced by the growth in our consumption of almost all resources. There is enough to meet everyone’s need, even in a world of 10 billion people. There is not enough to meet everyone’s greed, even in a world of 2 billion people.
So let’s turn to a population crisis over which we do have some influence. I’m talking about the growth in livestock numbers. Human numbers are rising at roughly 1.2% a year, while livestock numbers are rising at around 2.4% a year. By 2050 the world’s living systems will have to support about 120m tonnes of extra humans, and 400m tonnes of extra farm animals.
Raising these animals already uses three-quarters of the world’s agricultural land. A third of our cereal crops are used to feed livestock: this may rise to roughly half by 2050. More people will starve as a result, because the poor rely mainly on grain for their subsistence, and diverting it to livestock raises the price. And now the grain that farm animals consume is being supplemented by oil crops, particularly soya, for which the forests and savannahs of South America are being cleared at shocking rates.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but were we to eat soya rather than meat, the clearance of natural vegetation required to supply us with the same amount of protein would decline by 94%. Producing protein from chickens requires three times as much land as protein from soybeans. Pork needs nine times, beef 32 times.
A recent paper in the journal Science of the Total Environment suggests that our consumption of meat is likely to be “the leading cause of modern species extinctions”. Not only is livestock farming the major reason for habitat destruction and the killing of predators, but its waste products are overwhelming the world’s capacity to absorb them. Factory farms in the US generate 13 times as much sewage as the human population does.
Freshwater life is being wiped out across the world by farm manure. In England the system designed to protect us from the tide of slurry has comprehensively broken down. Dead zones now extend from many coasts, as farm sewage erases ocean life across thousands of square kilometres.
Livestock farming creates around 14% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions: slightly more than the output of the world’s cars, lorries, buses, trains, ships and planes. If you eat soya, your emissions per unit of protein are 20 times lower than eating pork or chicken, and 150 times lower than eating beef.
So why is hardly anyone talking about the cow, pig, sheep and chicken in the room? Why are there no government campaigns to reduce the consumption of animal products, just as they sometimes discourage our excessive use of electricity?
It’s not as if eating less meat and dairy will harm us. If we did as our doctors advise, our environmental impacts would decline in step with heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer. British people eat, on average, slightly more than their bodyweight in meat every year, while Americans consume another 50%: wildly more, in both cases, than is good for us or the rest of life on Earth…”
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International Business Times: “Cow Farts Have ‘Larger Greenhouse Gas Impact’ Than Previously Thought; Methane Pushes Climate Change.”
Excerpt: “A new study of methane emissions finds that the U.S. is spewing 50 percent more methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere than the Environmental Protection Agency previously assumed. Several factors contribute to the accumulation of methane gas in Earth’s atmosphere, such as the burning of fossil fuels and leaks from oil and gas refining and drilling, but one contender stands out above the rest as particularly repugnant: cow farts…
According to the new research, livestock’s noxious flatulence accounts for a large portion of the methane gas being released into the atmosphere. Researchers say cows are producing twice as much methane gas as scientists previously believed…
The EPA has also recognized the contribution cow farts are making to Earth’s greenhouse gases, stating earlier that globally, livestock are the “largest source of methane from human-related activities”…
Source: International Business Times, November 26 2013 – http://www.ibtimes.com/cow-farts-have-larger-greenhouse-gas-impact-previously-thought-methane-pushes-climate-change-1487502
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TIME magazine article: “Silence the Cows and Save the Planet.” Excerpts: “Flatulent cows are not a laughing matter… The emissions produced by nature’s woodwind section contain a nasty mix of many gasses, among them methane. Though carbon dioxide is the first gas that comes to mind when we think of greenhouse emissions, pound for pound, methane is more than 20 times more powerful in terms of its global warming potential. Methane doesn’t linger in the atmosphere quite as long as CO2, and it’s not produced industrially in anywhere near the same quantity, but it does its damage all the same — and livestock toots out a surprisingly large share of it.
According to one Danish study, the average cow produces enough methane per year to do the same greenhouse damage as four tons of CO2. The average car, by contrast, produces just 2.7 tons. Multiply that by the planet’s 1.5 billion cattle and buffalo and 1.8 billion smaller ruminants and you have the methane equivalent of two billion tons of CO2 per year…”
Source: TIME, March 30, 2011 – http://science.time.com/2011/03/30/silence-the-cows-and-save-the-planet/
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A 2013 article in The Guardian (UK) newspaper website is titled “How much water is needed to produce food and how much do we waste?” It states: “As much as 50% of all food produced in the world ends up as waste every year according to figures from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. But how much water is needed to produce it?… Meat production requires a much higher amount of water than vegetables. IME state that to produce 1kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water whereas to produce 1kg of wheat requires between 500 and 4,000 litres of water… Chocolate tops the list with 17,196 litres of water needed to produce 1kg of the product. Beef, sheep and pork meat all require high volumes of water for production also. Tea, beer and wine use the least according to the list. Compared to the production of meat, vegetable foodstuffs require considerably less water… Look at the table below to see how much water is required to produce a selection of common foodstuffs…”
Source: The Guardian, January 10, 2013 – https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/10/how-much-water-food-production-waste
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Time magazine 2013: “You may think you live on a planet, but really you live on a gigantic farm, one occasionally broken up by cities, forests and the oceans. Some 40% of the world’s land surface is used for the purposes of keeping all 7 billion of us fed — albeit some of us, of course, more than others. And the vast majority of that land — about 30% of the word’s total ice-free surface — is used not to raise grains, fruits and vegetables that are directly fed to human beings, but to support the chickens, pigs and cattle that we eventually eat.
Livestock production — which includes meat, milk and eggs — … uses one-third of the world’s fresh water. There may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than the raising of livestock…
1.3 billion tons of grain are consumed by farm animals each year — and nearly all of it is fed to livestock, mostly pork and poultry, in the developed world and in China and Latin America…
The poor feed quality in impoverished regions like sub-Saharan Africa means that a cow there may consume as much as 10 times more feed — mostly grasses — to produce a kilogram of protein than a cow raised in richer regions. That lack of efficiency also means that [grass-fed] cattle in countries like Ethiopia and Somalia account for as much as 1,000 kg of carbon for every kg of protein they produce — in the form of methane from manure as well as from the reduced carbon absorption that results when forests are converted to pastureland. That’s 10 times higher than the amount of carbon released per kg of protein in many parts of the U.S. and Europe, where livestock production is much more intensive…”
Reference: “The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production”, Bryan Walsh is a senior editor at TIME; at http://science.time.com/2013/12/16/the-triple-whopper-environmental-impact-of-global-meat-production/
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Dairy Industry Polluting Water.
From a 2015 article in The Guardian newspaper: “Think dairy farming is benign? Our rivers tell a different story… Farming is now, by a long way, the nation’s leading cause of severe water pollution. And of all kinds of farming, dairy production causes the greatest number of serious incidents…”
Which links to this UK Government Environment Agency Report “Pollution incidents” – refer to page 8 regards “Serious pollution incidents caused by farming activities in England” https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/448728/LIT_10127.pdf
From a 2016 media article titled “Dairy farmers are being ‘milked dry’, but let’s remember the real cost of milk” – some excerpts regards the environment: “livestock farming is, both directly and indirectly, one of the most ecologically harmful human activities…
In Australia, livestock farming accounts for 10% to 16% of greenhouse gas emissions, with dairy farms contributing 19% of this, or 3% of total emissions. Methane emissions, from digestion and manure, and nitrous oxide from livestock are significant contributors. Globally, the livestock sector is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the world’s transport.
Livestock production accounts for 70% of all agricultural land, including the land used to grow crops to feed these animals. Animal agriculture is a key factor in land degradation, deforestation, water stress, pollution, and loss of biodiversity…
Research shows that we must reduce food waste and losses in the supply chain and change our diets toward less resource-intensive diets, such as a plant-based diets. Doing so would cut emissions by two-thirds and save lives. It’s possible to eliminate animal suffering and reduce carbon emissions by reducing and replacing livestock production and consumption.
Alternatives to dairy milk include soy and almond milk. Soy milk is nutritionally comparable to dairy milk and has a significantly smaller environmental footprint…”
According to a report hosted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.”
Reference: “Risk Assessment Evaluation for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations”, 2004, page 21, U.S. National Service Center for Environmental Publications; care of http://nepis.epa.gov/ and the direct link to the report
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Time magazine 2011: “How Meat and Dairy are Hiking Your Carbon Footprint… the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)… recently released its groundbreaking “Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health”, an admirably comprehensive breakdown of both the environmental footprint and health effects of our food choices. The handbook comes with easy-to-read graphics, a wallet-card summary of the information, quizzes and irresistible data-bits like “if your four-person family skips steak 1 day a week [for a year], it’s like taking your car off the road for almost 3 months.” …
Many of the EWG’s findings are pretty eye-opening — like some revealing facts about beef, which produces twice the emissions of pork, four times as much as chicken, and 13 times that of vegetable protein such as beans, lentils, and tofu. That’s especially alarming since we waste so much meat — ultimately throwing away about 20% of what we produce — meaning that all that carbon was generated for nothing.
The USDA’s related findings about emissions related to milk and cheese came from a study it conducted of a single commercial dairy with 10,000 milk cows in southern Idaho… If you think that kind of operation can produce a lot of noxious discharge, you’re right. The investigators monitored a year’s worth of ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions and found that this one dairy gives off 3,575 pounds of ammonia, 33,092 pounds of methane, and 409 pounds of nitrous oxide per day. Now consider that there are 365 days in a year and tens of thousands of dairy farms in the U.S.
The takeaway from both reports is that eating meat and dairy is expensive, and in a whole lot of ways. Remember, it’s not just the carbon emissions that hurt; it’s also the pesticides, fertilizers, fuel, and water needed to produce the feed for all those cows and pigs. And once that damage is done, there are still the health consequences we all face from eating too much meat, particularly red meat…”
Reference: http://science.time.com/2011/07/26/how-meat-and-dairy-are-hiking-your-carbon-footprint/ And for the EWG’s Guide “Guide to Climate Change + Health” see https://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/
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From a 2008 study titled “Global Farm Animal Production and Global Warming: Impacting and Mitigating Climate Change” some excerpts: “The farm animal sector is the single largest anthropogenic user of land, contributing to many environmental problems, including global warming and climate change…
We analyzed the scientific literature on farm animal production and documented greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as various mitigation strategies…
An analysis of meat, egg, and milk production encompasses not only the direct rearing and slaughtering of animals, but also grain and fertilizer production for animal feed, waste storage and disposal, water use, and energy expenditures on farms and in transporting feed and finished animal products, among other key impacts of the production process as a whole.
Conclusions: Immediate and far-reaching changes in current animal agriculture practices and consumption patterns are both critical and timely if GHGs from the farm animal sector are to be mitigated…”
Reference: Environ Health Perspect. 2008 May; 116(5): 578–582. Published online 2008 Jan 31. doi: 10.1289/ehp.11034 PMCID: PMC2367646; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2367646/
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From an article titled “Water footprint of crop and animal products: a comparison” some excerpts: “The projected increase in the production and consumption of animal products is likely to put further pressure on the globe’s freshwater resources. The size and characteristics of the water footprint vary across animal types and production systems.
The water footprint of meat from beef cattle (15,400 m 3 /ton as a global average) is much larger than the footprints of meat from sheep (10,400 m 3 /ton), pig (6000 m 3 /ton), goat (5 500 m 3 /ton) or chicken (4 300 m 3 /ton). The global average water footprint of chicken egg is 3 300 m 3 /ton, while the water footprint of cow milk amounts to 1000 m 3 /ton.
Per ton of product, animal products generally have a larger water footprint than crop products. The same is true when we look at the water footprint per calorie. The average water footprint per calorie for beef is twenty times larger than for cereals and starchy roots. When we look at the water requirements for protein, it has been found that the water footprint per gram of protein for milk, eggs and chicken meat is about 1.5 times larger than for pulses. For beef, the water footprint per gram of protein is 6 times larger than for pulses. In the case of fat, butter has a relatively small water footprint per gram of fat, even lower than for oil crops. All other animal products, however, have larger water footprints per gram of fat when compared to oil crops. From a freshwater resource perspective, it is more efficient to obtain calories, protein and fat through crop products than animal products…
Global animal production requires about 2422 Gm 3 of water per year (87.2% green, 6.2% blue, 6.6% grey water). One third of this volume is for the beef cattle sector; another 19% for the dairy cattle sector. Most of the total volume of water (98%) refers to the water footprint of the feed for the animals. Drinking water for the animals, service water and feed mixing water account only for 1.1%, 0.8% and 0.03%, respectively.”
Reference: http://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/product-water-footprint/water-footprint-crop-and-animal-products/ – has links to several more related reports.
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A 2016 article is titled “Demand for Meat Is Driving Water Shortages Affecting 4 Billion People. Climate change, population growth, and skyrocketing meat consumption is making water scarce for two-thirds of the world’s population.”
Some excerpts: “Almost 4 billion people—two-thirds of the world’s population—face severe water scarcity at least one month a year, according to new analysis…
“About one-third of the world water consumption is for producing animal products. Their water footprint is larger than that of crop products with equivalent nutritional value,” Hoekstra said…
“For example, the average water footprint per calorie for beef is 20 times larger than for cereals and starchy roots,” he said. “The meat consumption per person in the world is still increasing, so the water demand grows quickly because of that.”
As temperatures rise because of climate change, dry places are getting drier. And burgeoning demand and more intense and longer droughts are depleting groundwater reserves…”
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Land Clearing & Deforestation in Australia to make Pasture & Grazing for Livestock Animals.
“Land clearing is an important contributor to Australia’s total net greenhouse emissions… Today, most land cleared in Australia is used for cattle grazing…” From the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change & Energy Efficiency; PDF titled “Drivers of Land Clearing in Australia” at
Regards animal extinctions: “Australia is losing its mammals at a quicker rate than most regions in the world.” – http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2015-02-10/losing-australian-native-mammals/6082624
Guardian newspaper 2017: “‘Alarming’ rise in Queensland tree clearing as 400,000 hectares stripped… a 33% rise in clearing to almost 400,000 hectares in 2015-16, meaning Queensland now has two-thirds the annual rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon…
“We know that the current rates of land clearing in Queensland are unsustainable. Australia has become one of the deforestation hotspots in the world – the only advanced economy to be named in the 12 deforestation hotspots in the world.
“[It’s] because Queensland has returned to the bad old days of bulldozing hundreds of thousands of hectares of woody and remnant vegetations in order to make way particularly for pasture for cows,” she said…
clearing statewide was the “single biggest threat” to koala populations and that a ban on developer donations, promised by Labor on the recommendation of the corruption watchdog, would help conservation efforts.
According to deputy premier Trad, most land cleared statewide was for pastoral land, with a spike in “fodder harvesting” and “tree thinning”…”
Article at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/05/alarming-rise-in-queensland-tree-clearing-as-400000-hectares-stripped
New Matilda: “It’s The Habitat Destruction, Stupid … after shocking new deforestation and land-clearing figures came out of Queensland, where 395,000 hectares of trees were bulldozed last year. That’s an MCG-sized area of forest and bushland bulldozed almost every 3 minutes, in Queensland alone… Unsurprisingly, all this destruction has had a devastating impact on our wildlife. The CSIRO has estimated that deforestation kills about 50 million mammals, birds and reptiles each year in Queensland and New South Wales. These numbers don’t include Western Australia, which doesn’t publish figures on how many trees they’re pulling down… Australia deserves a Threatened Species Commissioner that tells the truth about what’s killing our native animals, and a Federal Government that has a plan to actually stop their extinction…” at https://newmatilda.com/2017/10/10/its-the-habitat-destruction-stupid/
“Land clearing for beef production in the two states is the reason the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) nominated eastern Australia as one of eleven global deforestation fronts for the twenty years to 2030.
The states are also fierce rivals in rugby league, and the sport provides an opportunity to highlight the extent of land clearing.
In Queensland alone, from 1988 to 2015, an area equivalent to nearly 11 million rugby fields was cleared for pasture. [Footnote] That’s a rate of three-quarters of a rugby field per minute, and represents 91 per cent of total land clearing in the state. The figures include clearing of regrowth, demonstrating the resilience of forest and other wooded vegetation if given the chance to regenerate. But it is seldom given such a chance in Queensland…”
From article at https://terrastendo.net/2017/03/26/beef-the-reef-and-rugby-we-have-a-problem/
The Conversation 2017: “Australia is a global top-ten deforester – and Queensland is leading the way” at https://theconversation.com/australia-is-a-global-top-ten-deforester-and-queensland-is-leading-the-way-87259
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From a 2015 article in Mother Jones titled “We’ll All Eat Less Meat Soon – Like It or Not” an excerpt: “Is the feedlot system itself sustainable? That is, can we keep stuffing animals—not just cows but also chickens and pigs—into confinements and feeding them gargantuan amounts of corn and soybeans? And can other countries mimic that path, as China is currently?
The answer, plainly, is no, according to the eminent ecologist Vaclav Smil in a 2014 paper. Smil notes that global meat production has risen from less than 55 million tons in 1950 to more than 300 million tons in 2010—a nearly six-fold increase in 60 years. “But this has been a rather costly achievement because mass-scale meat production is one of the most environmentally burdensome activities,” he writes, and then proceeds to list off the problems: it requires a large-scale shift from diversified farmland and rainforests to “monocultures of animal feed,” which triggered massive soil erosion, carbon emissions, and coastal “dead zones” fed by fertilizer runoff. Also, concentrating animals tightly together produces “huge volumes of waste,” more than can be recycled into nearby farmland, creating noxious air and water pollution. Moreover, it’s “inherently inefficient” to feed edible grains to farm animals, when we could just eat the grain, Smil adds.
This ruinous system would have to be scaled up if present trends in global meat demand continue, Smil writes—reaching 412 million tons of meat in 2030, 500 million tons in 2050, and 577 million tons in 2080, according to projections from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Such a carnivorous future is “possible but it is neither rational nor sustainable”—it will ultimately destroy the ecosystems on which it relies…”
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From a 2016 article titled “Animal Agriculture’s Environmental Impact Is Still Being Ignored”
Excerpt: “This World Environment Day marks 10 years since the UN described the livestock sector as ‘one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global,’ but has anything been done in the subsequent decade to address such a grave warning?
The landmark report Livestock’s Long Shadow, in which the UN called for ‘urgent action’ in 2006, offered great hope for change at a policy level. Instead, nothing. No policies, no initiatives or any kind of public education campaign aimed at trying to curb climate emissions from farming animals. Just freedom for the sector to carry on with business as usual.
Last year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Paris presented a ready-made opportunity to agree carbon cutting obligations in specific areas. Animal products were all over the world leaders’ menus, but left completely off their agenda. The Paris Agreement, signed by 196 countries, omitted any mention of livestock, agriculture or animals across its 31 pages.
Why has animal agriculture been brushed conveniently under the carpet? There is of course intense pressure from an extremely powerful meat and dairy lobby, the extent of which should not be underestimated. There also remains historical links between consuming meat and social status, and misinformation about the need for animal products in a healthy diet…
The past 10 years of governmental apathy in this area has been an injustice of the highest order, and cannot be repeated. Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all transport combined. It must not continue to be shielded from scrutiny and afforded protected status given the severity of the implications.
It’s not just a climate issue. One in nine of the world’s population – almost 800 million people – go hungry, yet enough grain to feed up to 3.5 billion people is fed to livestock. Deforestation is also occurring at an alarming rate with the World Bank estimating that animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.
Nor are the problems a result of just meat production. The dairy industry, far from its perception as an innocuous by-product, is every bit as destructive, alone accounting for roughly 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Your average cow produces around 700 litres of methane per day, which is the equivalent of a large 4×4 vehicle travelling 35 miles in a day.
Farmers are struggling. So much so that half of all UK dairy farmers are reported to be intending to quit their sector. English dairy farmers receive around a third of their income in EU subsidies amounting, on average, to around £25,000 per dairy farmer per year. Rather than continue propping up a failing industry, the Government ought to improve the agricultural system, make it greener.
One solution: subsidise farmers interested in diversifying away from livestock systems to growing sustainable plant protein crops…
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From a 2016 newspaper article titled “NZ ‘should get rid of 80pc of its cows”: “New Zealand needs to get rid of 80 per cent of its dairy cows because dairying is dirtying our water. That was the message delivered to the annual meeting of Wanganui Federated Farmers by its former president.
Rachel Stewart, president of the group for four years in the early 2000s and guest speaker at Friday’s annual meeting, is an “ardent critic” of farming.
Ms Stewart, recently crowned Opinion Writer of the Year at New Zealand’s premier journalism awards, began her talk by saying she loved farming – but dairy farming was responsible for 80 per cent of the degradation of New Zealand waterways and Federated Farmers needed to stop denying it.
This year’s Budget allocated $100 million over 10 years to cleaning up waterways.
“The taxpayer cleans up, and the polluters continue to pollute,” said Ms Stewart, who lives at Westmere and writes a regular newspaper opinion column…”
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From a 2016 article titled “The Story of Soy” – “Behind beef, soy is the second largest agricultural driver of deforestation worldwide... The main European importers of soy are countries with large industrial-scale pig and chicken production… Consumers should be mindful of the environmental impacts of their diets, and in particular the relationship between soy and animal products. Around 75% of soy worldwide is used for livestock feed. While many people imagine soy is eaten mainly by vegetarians, most of it is consumed indirectly in the form of chicken, pork, beef and farmed fish as well as eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt…” Source: https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/the-story-of-soy
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From a 2015 article titled “Soy: The Biggest Food Crop We Never Talk About.
It has slipped quietly into much of what we consume—and its production is straining ecosystems around the world…”
Excerpts: “280 million acres were used to produce soy in 2013-2014 (an area roughly the size of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined). Soy has been the fastest-growing global crop in recent decades; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that its production will nearly double again by 2050…
Show me the Soy:
A whopping 75% of the soy produced worldwide in 2013-2014 became animal feed. Here’s how much soy went into making some of the most common animal products on our plates:
CHICKEN: Soy in a 3-oz. serving: 1.87 oz
PORK CHOP: Soy in a 4-oz.serving: 2.74 oz
HAMBURGER: Soy in a 4-oz. serving: 1.57 oz
OMELETTE: Soy in a two-egg (3.09-oz. total) serving: 3.12 oz
GLASS OF MILK: Soy in an 8-oz. serving: 0.22 oz
CHEESE: Soy in a 3.53-oz. serving: 1.11 oz…
The rising demand for soybeans has encouraged farmers large and small around the world to plant more of the crop. Unfortunately, that cultivation is creeping into native forests and grasslands… threatening vulnerable wildlife and increasing carbon emissions through land conversion…”
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Regards the Water Footprint of Food
From an article in National Geographic titled “Water Conservation Tips” excerpt: “The water it takes to produce the average American diet alone—approximately 1,000 gallons per person per day—is more than the global average water footprint of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy, and the consumption of material goods.
That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Another way is to choose grass-fed, rather than grain-fed, since it can take a lot of water to grow corn and other feed crops.
A serving of poultry costs about 90 gallons of water to produce. There are also water costs embedded in the transportation of food (gasoline costs water to make). So, consider how far your food has to travel, and buy local to cut your water footprint.
Pork costs water to produce, and traditional pork production—to make your sausage, bacon, and chops—has also been the cause of some water pollution, as pig waste runs into local water sources.
On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet…”
Comparing the Water Footprint of Meat, Dairy & Soy Products:
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From a 1997 article in the Cornell Chronicle of Cornell University USA: “Animal agriculture is a leading consumer of water resources in the United States, Pimentel noted. Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food. Raising broiler chickens takes 3,500 liters of water to make a kilogram of meat. In comparison, soybean production uses 2,000 liters for kilogram of food produced; rice, 1,912; wheat, 900; and potatoes, 500 liters. “Water shortages already are severe in the Western and Southern United States and the situation is quickly becoming worse because of a rapidly growing U.S. population that requires more water for all of its needs, especially agriculture,” Pimentel observed.
Livestock are directly or indirectly responsible for much of the soil erosion in the United States, the ecologist determined. On lands where feed grain is produced, soil loss averages 13 tons per hectare per year. Pasture lands are eroding at a slower pace, at an average of 6 tons per hectare per year. But erosion may exceed 100 tons on severely overgrazed pastures, and 54 percent of U.S. pasture land is being overgrazed.
“More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans,” Pimentel said. “Although grain production is increasing in total, the per capita supply has been decreasing for more than a decade. Clearly, there is reason for concern in the future.”
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Comparing the Water Footprints of Omnivores Versus Vegetarians in Australia
From the University of Melbourne, report titled: “City People Eat Rivers: estimating the virtual water consumed by people in a large Australian city.”
Excerpts: “In Australia, water is taken from rural streams to produce food to feed people in cities… In Victoria, 75% of that diverted water is being used for agriculture, and about 12% for urban domestic purposes. The great bulk of water used in agriculture goes toward irrigation, and mostly irrigation of pasture for dairy and beef cows…
Urban consumers very much drive the condition of rural streams through their food choices…
Meyer (1997) estimated that 1Kg of Australian beef requires an astonishing 100,000L of water to produce, and 1Kg of butter, requires 18,000L of water. The Water Education Foundation (1991) produced a water-use table for foods in a sample daily menu. Examples of water used in the menu were toast and butter (213L), chicken (435L), cheese (636L) and ground beef (312L)…
Indirect and direct water consumption:
The average Melbourne household directly uses 936 litres per day, whilst through food consumption; 9,276 litres per day per household. Thus, on average, water use through food consumption is 90% of a household’s water use. Regardless of how scenarios are combined, much more water is consumed through foods than through direct water use. The percentage of direct water use to total water use ranges from 6%, for an all male household with a garden (scenario 1), who consume 3,928 Litres per capita per day, to 26% for a vegetarian household with no garden (Scenario 27) who consume just 1,345 Litres per capita per day. Thus, the water used to feed one average person can feed three vegetarians…
In gross terms, these results mean that changing one’s diets could save much more water than changing ones water-use behaviour in the home. For households that love meat, eating poultry instead of beef and pork will half their total water usage (from 3568L to 1603L per day). This is a saving of three times the total amount of water used directly in the home. Urban consumers can dramatically reduce their total water consumption with the following actions:
1. consume less food (and hence less water) by wasting less food (or by eating less food altogether!);
2. select comparable products that use less water;
3. substitute types of food that use more water for types that use less;
4. become a vegetarian…
Select the more water-efficient product…
In the year 1998-99, each Australian consumed an aver age of 102 L of milk… choosing milk from the Murray irrigation area would consume 56,600 embodied litres of water per year, compared with 27,340 litres of water embodied in milk produced in Gippsland… This is a reduction in water use of nearly 30,000L per year or 80 L/day. Compare this with the 17 litres per day per person that has been saved in Melbourne under Stage 3 water restrictions between 2005 and 2006…
Consumers can ‘substitute’ entire groups of foods in their diet that use different amounts of water in their production. For example, in general, the greater the protein content of foods, the more water is used in their production per kg. However, by choosing soybeans and lentils instead of cheese, you would be eating roughly the same amounts of protein, but saving more than 2,000 litres of water per kilogram of food…
Become a vegetarian:
A vegetarian diet can save households up to 35% of their total water usage. That is 13 times the volume of water that would be saved by not watering the garden. The environmental benefits of vegetarianism have been made for many years, and Renault (2003) suggests that an animal product based diet may need 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. Certainly the water efficiency of vegetable production is startling…
In one sense, urban food consumers are also consuming rivers. Small changes in food choices could potentially lead to water savings that dwarf the savings that can come from changes in direct water consumption. Thus, river condition is, to some extent, a consequence of decisions made in urban supermarkets.
We believe that this is an empowering observation. Urban people, far from being isolated from the environment, make critical decisions about rivers, every day, in their consumption choices…
Source: “City people eat rivers: estimating the virtual water consumed by people in a large Australian city” – by Ian Rutherfurd, Amelia Tsang and Siao Khee Tan; School of Social and Environmental Enquiry, University of Melbourne; at
https://www.csu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/748426/Rutherfurd_Ian_348.pdf as of 2015-10-15
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From a 2015 New York Times article titled “How Growth in Dairy Is Affecting the Environment” – about the San Joaquin Valley in California “near the heart of dairy country in a state that produces 20 percent of America’s milk.”
Excerpts regards Air and Water Pollution: “With industrial-scale farms that each house thousands of cows, the region is also at the center of a global debate about dairy’s impact on the environment…
The region suffers from severe air pollution, in part from the dust, methane and manure of dairy farms…
Climate-warming gases emitted by manure, feed production, milk processing and even cows’ burping are a concern…
environmentalists and residents say they are still paying the price for the world’s taste for milk, cheese and yogurt, in the form of tainted water, terrible odors, flies and fumes that add to the region’s severe air pollution…
The American Lung Association says the region suffers from America’s highest levels of the tiny, airborne pollution particles that are linked to ailments like heart attacks and strokes. Many sources contribute, including heavy truck traffic and the dairy and feed processing facilities whose vast tanks and chutes line Highway 99…
Near a big cow farm in Riverdale, residents “are not comfortable even going outside on most summer days, they’re not comfortable inviting people to their homes and they’re not comfortable having their children play outside,” said Cesar Campos, coordinator at the Central California Environmental Justice Network, in Fresno. “Dairies, there is that smell attached to it, it is impossible for the community to ignore.”…
A host of environmental concerns stem from the concentration of cows in huge farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations…
With high-quality feed like soy and corn, cattle on such farms can be very productive, so fewer greenhouse gases are emitted per unit of milk produced… But the huge amounts of manure produced without sufficient land in need of fertilizing can create air and water problems for nearby communities…
Water worries focus on leakage of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as dangerous bacteria including E.coli. Ammonia wafts into the air from manure lagoons, and gases known as volatile organic compounds are created by the huge piles of feed…”
Excerpt regards deforestation: “Large-scale dairies exist in Europe, too, but are generally much smaller than those in the United States. The expiration on April 1 of European Union milk quotas, in place for more than 30 years to prevent overproduction, is likely to lead to an expansion of such intensive farming, said Sandra Vijn, dairy director for the World Wildlife Fund in Washington.
The resulting increase in European demand for cattle feed could cause environmental problems in Latin America, where forests are cleared to grow soy for export, Ms. Vijn said, noting that the concern underlined the global nature of the dairy industry…”
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This set of articles were compiled for
Pages on this Site:
Quotes from news reports & science journals on how the Western omnivore diet with meat and dairy products accelerates climate-change through: i) increasing our carbon footprint of greenhouse gases; ii) deforesting & destroying wilderness that absorbs carbon and protects biodiversity; iii) creating massive pollution; and iv) wasting resources like grains, water, fuels and agricultural lands.
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Excerpts & links to medical studies, articles & reports on the links between meat consumption and increased incidences of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early mortality (a shorter lifespan); also to reports on how cancers are increasing in young people.
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Quotes & links to articles in science, medical & health journals that report great benefits vegetarians and vegans generally have including longer lives with less of the chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, cardiovascular heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity as well as lower blood pressure, hypertension and blood cholesterol levels.
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Excerpts & links to articles in news media science journals about the current ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ known also as the ‘Holocene Extinction’ or ‘Anthropocene Extinction’ as it is largely caused by human activities.
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This page contains quotes & links for studies & articles in science journals, news media & by medical doctors; on the association of drinking milk to higher rates of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.
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This page features quotes & links to articles in news media and science journals about the rise of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics; posing a grave threat to all of us; from 50% to 80% of antibiotics are (mis-)used in animal agriculture industries.
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This page features quotes & links to reports that expose how the animal agriculture industries (meat, dairy, poultry) influence government, politics, the education schooling system and news media in order to promote their interests.
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Excerpts from articles about the marine ecosystem collapse that is happening now in oceans, seas & rivers due to over-fishing and the toxic pollution in waterways from land-based animal agriculture meat-farming; worsening climate change; threatening the entire food chain.
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Articles from science journals & news reports that dispute the health claims made regards eating fish; some even find higher rates of heart disease and cancer among seafood consumers.
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A collection of quotes & links for articles by doctors, dietitians & nutrition experts who refute & rebut the negative claims made regards “the soy food debate”
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For Archives of Related Memes see:
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This site’s original 2012 page with excerpts from articles in science journals and news media about how what we choose to eat can: i) accelerate or slow down climate change and the related environmental catastrophes we face; and ii) increase or reduce our risks for chronic illness and disease. The evidence and body of opinion against the animal agriculture livestock industry is particularly compelling and damning.
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