By this point in time, I’m sure we’ve all heard of climate change. The Earth’s temperature is rising, the ice caps are melting, and the sea levels are increasing.
We all know the small things we can do to combat global warming: shut the water off while brushing your teeth, carpool to school or work, recycle, and so on. We also know the detrimental effects of oil and coal on the environment and how essential clean energy is for the preservation of our future. However, what many people do not realize is the fact that corporations like the Koch Brothers and Exxonmobil have a partner in crime: the animal agriculture industry.
Animal agriculture is almost as bad for the environment as the use of fossil fuels. In fact, in 2016, 18 % of all carbon emissions in the United States were from the animal agriculture industry. This is greater than the carbon emissions of the entire transportation sector combined.
Cows and chickens and pigs don’t run off of oil and coal, so how is this possible? Simply put, when these animals excrete, especially cattle, they release large amounts of methane. Methane is not only a carbon based gas, but is 10 times stronger of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Not only is methane released when raising cattle, but the amount of water consumed by these animals is hard to imagine. To put it into perspective, imagine a hamburger. In order to grow and raise just the meat in the burger, it took over a 100 million gallons of water. That’s more than four times the amount of water needed for one plant based meal.
Buying meat, eggs, or dairy from local farmers is much safer for the environment. Better yet, going vegan or vegetarian will stop the emission of millions o gallons of carbon into the atmosphere. It is up to us to cause a change and fight climate change; We are the ones who must save the planet.
Footnote: If you are looking to learn more, documentaries such as Cowspiracy and Before the Flood expose the harsh reality of animal agriculture.