In honor of Earth Day, over 70 acclaimed chefs and influencers from around the world have signed an open letter calling on the EPA to enforce stricter emission standards at factory farms. While the first annual Earth Day took place more than half a century ago, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution continue to rise—largely because of animal agriculture.
Some of the inspiring chefs who have added their names are Tabitha Brown, Joanne L. Molinaro (The Korean Vegan), Max La Manna, Babette Davis, Ian Theasby (BOSH!), Henry Firth (BOSH!), Miyoko Schinner, Angela Means, Gabrielle Reyes (One Great Vegan), Priyanka Naik, Matt Pritchard, Julius Fiedler (Hermann), Simon Toohey, Sadia Badiei (Pick Up Limes), Derek Sarno (Wicked Kitchen), and Chad Sarno (Wicked Kitchen).
A shift to animal-free foods can help curb climate change, combat air and water pollution, and lessen the burden on vulnerable communities. Despite this, the EPA still honors an outdated agreement with factory farms that leaves thousands of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) free of EPA enforcement.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions from raising farmed animals make up 14.5 percent of global human-induced emissions. In the United States, beef production accounts for about half of U.S. agricultural emissions, and our management of manure alone produces more methane than coal mining. Additionally, clearing forests for pasture and feed crops releases the carbon dioxide stored in trees and destroys ecosystems, diminishing the soil’s ability to store carbon.
According to the United Nations, agriculture is the largest user of freshwater globally, accounting for around 70 percent of total freshwater withdrawals. Meat production is generally more water-intensive than plant-based food production. One kilogram of beef takes around 15,400 liters of water to produce, while a kilogram of wheat takes only 1,800 liters.
Each year, slaughterhouses dump millions of pounds of feces, blood, and other contaminants into rivers and streams across the United States. Factory farms are typically located near communities of color and impoverished communities, leaving residents to endure inescapable odor, as well as air, soil, and water pollution. Members of these communities also suffer from higher incidence of respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, and eye irritation.
Our vision is a food system that nourishes not only people but the planet and our hope for the future. This Earth Day, join us in working toward a better tomorrow by adding your name to our open letter. Change food—change everything.