Global overpopulation is a serious issue that has caused and continues to exacerbate many of today’s environmental problems, including climate change and resource shortages.
With the upcoming climate summit in Paris, a new piece in The Guardian details the less discussed population crisis posed by our diets:
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 tons of extra humans, and 400m tons of extra farm animals.… 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.”
Aptly titled “Human population reduction is not a quick fix for environmental problems,” a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explains how our food habits are one of the driving forces behind severe environmental destruction.
- Raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and growing feed crops) now uses over one-third of the Earth’s landmass.
- In the United States, 70 percent of the grain grown is fed to farmed animals.
- Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined.
- Nearly 80 percent of land deforested in the Amazon is now used as cattle pasture.
While the grave consequences of factory farming are vast, we all have the power to create a better world every time we sit down to eat.
By choosing delicious vegan foods, we can spare countless animals from a lifetime of suffering and put an end to wasteful use of resources.
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