Statistically, I’ve been a carnivore for 94% of my life, and a Vegetarian for about 5%, Vegan for <1%. I’m fascinated that I can be defined and labeled by my food choices. That choosing to not eat meat has brought on livid conversations from people I’ve not tried to attack. And yet, here I am, writing a blog post, about my choice to pursue Vegetarianism, and part-time Veganism.
It all started with documentaries and the gruesome reality of factory farming. If you can’t put a picture to the term, I recommend you search Google images to get an idea. And then I recommend doing a little more research to learn how animals are treated in these environments. How they’re injected with copious amounts of antibiotics. How they are packed into warehouses and forced to live on piles of feces. How they’re fed only to make them plump so they can be butchered.
What a life, right?
After realizing the ethical impacts of factory farming I decided to forgo the meat aisle in the supermarket. If local beef weren’t so expensive I may have incorporated that into my diet, but I was in college and it wasn’t an option.
Fast forward to early 2016 when the documentary Cowspiracy loaded onto Netflix. If you haven’t watched it yet, open a new tab, type in Netflix, and search for it. It’s the most incredible look into the impacts of factory farming on our environment.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty big fan of the natural world. I’ve been fortunate to visit Europe, Asia, Canada, Central America, and all fifty of the United States. I’ve traversed ridgelines in the local Wasatch Range. I’ve hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains. I’ve stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon. I’ve looked out onto the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range from Granada, Spain. With each experience I’ve gained perspective and a deep love and respect for all the beauty we take for granted every single day.
It’s now a known fact that we are depleting our resources. California has been plagued by drought since 2012. Our rivers are drying up. Our winters are becoming milder by the year. Each day the rainforest loses upwards of 80,000 acres. Our earth is experiencing abnormalities across the board. The reasons why are lesser known, or incorrectly reported.
Greenhouse gas is the term swirling around in our minds when we talk about Global Warming. For years we’ve been under the impression that these Greenhouse Gasses come from the transportation sector. In the past few decades the focus has been on Carbon Dioxide, and for good reason. Consistently Carbon Dioxide ranks as the highest emitted greenhouse gas. It’s a byproduct of the transportation industry as well as power facilities: coal mines, electricity plants, and the like. What we don’t hear about, though, is the level of Methane, a lesser-known and downplayed greenhouse gas that is 23% more powerful than Carbon Dioxide. So even though the statistics on the EPA website show Agriculture as a 9% impact on greenhouse gasses, it fails to take into consideration the fact that those 9% of molecules are packing a punch 23 times that of their carbon counterparts.
Beyond the rise of greenhouse gas due to agriculture, factory farming and the raising of livestock for food accounts for 55% of water usage in the US! It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. California is experiencing a severe drought, and we are using 2500 gallons of water on one pound of beef. This blows my mind! If you’re looking for an even more mind-boggling number, animal agriculture accounts for 34-76 trillion gallons of water annually. In numeric terms, that’s 34,000,000,000,000 to 76,000,000,000,000. Even on the low end, that’s 93,150,684,931.5 gallons of water PER DAY. I can’t even comprehend how much water that is.
These are just a few of the growing number of statistics in relationship to factory farming. Head on over to Cowspiracy.com to check out their facts page and references. This is a growing muddled debate that impacts not only our world, but every person in it.
What do you think about factory farming?