First observed in 1970, Earth Day is a yearly global event where humanity comes together to celebrate and protect our environment. The event is often accompanied by service projects, rallies, and other community activities—many of which may not be advisable during the current crisis. Luckily, we can all help protect the earth without leaving our homes!
One of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop deforestation, and fight back against pollution is to choose plant-based foods.
How Meat Hurts the Environment
When we think of the climate crisis, we often picture coal mines, airplanes, and landfills. But we should also picture animals—specifically, the animals we raise for food. According to the United Nations, greenhouse gas emissions from raising farmed animals make up 14.5 percent of global human-induced emissions.
Our meat-heavy diets put a huge strain on natural resources. Raising animals for food accounts for 8 percent of all human water use and takes up 33 percent of the world’s cropland. Worse still, meat production also pollutes our land and water. Chicken farms and other animal-raising facilities generate tons of waste, which is commonly overapplied to nearby cropland as fertilizer. This leads to nutrient pollution that can destroy aquatic ecosystems and cause toxic algal blooms, which endanger humans and companion animals.
On top of that, forests around the world are being cut down to make room for farmed animals to graze. For example, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization finds that cattle ranching is a leading cause of Amazon deforestation.
How Eating Plants Can Help
Plant-based foods are much kinder to the planet than meat, dairy, and eggs, since they pollute less and require fewer resources, like energy, water, and land. For example, the juicy plant-based Beyond Burger—made from pea protein—generates 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a beef burger.
Despite this, the EPA still honors an outdated agreement with factory farms that leaves thousands of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) free of EPA enforcement. This Earth Day, join us in working toward a better tomorrow by adding your name to our open letter. Change food—change everything.