In today’s world, we are witnessing environmental destruction at an unprecedented pace. Due to the rapid increase of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane gas in our atmosphere, the Earth’s temperature has risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius over the past 150 years.
This is one of the primary causes of climate change. Climate change can be attributed to two major factors: natural and human activities. While natural factors are beyond our control, human activities are determined by our actions.
Research has shown that failure to take necessary steps to prevent climate change could lead to a range of severe consequences such as extreme heat, droughts, floods, storms, and rising sea levels.
The animal industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for approximately 14.5% of global emissions. This industry relies on the farming of animals to produce meat, dairy, eggs, leather, and other products, resulting in the release of large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
According to the World Economic Forum, the demand for animal products has led to the animal agriculture industry raising around 19 billion chickens, 1.5 billion cows, 1 billion sheep, and 1 billion pigs. However, this large-scale animal farming has numerous adverse effects on the environment.
Environmental Impact of Animal Agriculture or Farming
There are many disasters on earth to which the animal industry has contributed in a big way.
Climate change refers to changes in the Earth’s temperature and weather. The biggest reason for increasing the temperature of the earth is greenhouse gases like – carbon, methane, nitrogen, etc. and the reason for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions is the animal industry itself.
According to ‘The Guardian‘, animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to man-made greenhouse gas emissions. What we are eating is taking our earth toward destruction.
- Climate change could be irreversible by 2030.
- Greenhouse gas levels are at an all-time high.
- More than one million species are on the verge of extinction.
- About 50% of all carbon emissions are emitted by the world’s richest 10% of the population.
- The past 30 years have witnessed a drastic decline in the world’s coral reefs, with an estimated 50% loss, while the Great Barrier Reef has experienced damage to two-thirds of its coral reefs. The rising ocean temperatures are a major factor in this environmental crisis.
- If we continue to use Earth’s resources at our current rate of consumption, we will need 1.7 Earth to support the demand for Earth’s ecosystems.
According to UN climate scientists, it is estimated that we have until the year 2030 to limit global warming to below 1.5°C. Failing to adopt sustainable practices could lead to an increase in droughts, floods, and other extreme temperature changes that we may experience within our lifetime.
Methane is 28 times more powerful as a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide. Animal feces is one of the biggest contributors to nitrous oxide, a gas 296 times more deadly than carbon dioxide. Simply put, the more we depend on animal products like milk, meat, eggs, leather, wool, and silk, the more greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere at an abnormal rate.
An article in Mumbai Mirror published a study done by ‘Scott-A-Culp’ and Benjamin H Strauss of Climate Central, New Jersey, according to which most of the area of Mumbai is likely to be underwater by 2050, the reason for this will be climate change.
Studies suggest that 90% of marine species are at risk of extinction by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed.
In this blog post, we will examine the environmental impact of dairy farming and the broader impact of the animal industry on the environment.
Approximately one-third of arable land is dedicated to cultivating feed crops for the animal industry. Moreover, farmed animals occupy one-quarter of the ice-free land on the planet and are the primary cause of 91% of the Amazon forest’s destruction.
It is calculated that a vegetarian needs about 1/6 acre of land to feed himself in a year while a meat eater needs 18 times more land.
If we continue to cut down millions of trees to clear land, it will further increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which can worsen the effects of climate change. Research suggests that we are losing one acre of forest every second, which could lead to a significant loss of forested land by the time you finish reading this post.
The livestock industry is responsible for consuming a significant amount of the world’s freshwater – as much as 20%. As we face a major crisis in terms of water resources, it is important to educate the public on making sustainable choices. In the future, all animals, including humans, may suffer from the shortage of fresh water.
According to ‘The Guardian’ the production of 1 kg of wheat requires 500-4000 liters of water, while 1 kg of meat can take as much as 5000-20000 liters of water to produce. Additionally, producing 1 liter of milk requires 1250 liters of water. These figures emphasize the importance of choosing a plant-based diet as a means of conserving water resources. As responsible individuals, it is our duty to make conscious choices to protect our planet’s vital resources.
Impact on Communities
Animal farming contributes to world hunger, as 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night, even though there is enough food on the planet to feed 10 billion people.
Unfortunately, the animal industry uses 50% of the world’s grain, with the cattle population alone consuming 135 billion pounds, while the current human population consumes 21 billion pounds of food per day. This diverts food resources away from human consumption and can exacerbate food scarcity, particularly for impoverished communities.
The impact of animal farming goes beyond the environmental and societal consequences. Communities living around animal husbandry plants can also suffer.
Toxic gases emitted from compost pits, which include hydrogen sulfate, ammonia, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and other harmful gases, can cause serious health problems. These gases have the potential to be lethal and can lead to asthma, brain tissue damage, and even premature death. Additionally, the animals in the animal farming industry are not born naturally. Rather, they are bred and raised for the sole purpose of generating profits for the industry and providing animal products for human consumption. This raises ethical concerns about the treatment of animals and their welfare.
What is the solution to the problem?
The animal industry is a major contributor to the problems of climate change, water scarcity, land depletion, and negative impacts on communities. One solution to these problems is to reduce or eliminate animal farming altogether and adopt a plant-based diet. This will not only improve our health but also reduce our impact on the environment.
Carbon is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. By emitting less carbon, we can slow down the pace of climate change. The total amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere over the course of an individual’s lifetime is known as their carbon footprint. It’s important to be mindful of our daily activities and choices as they can contribute to our carbon footprint, and therefore impact the environment and climate change.
While the Earth itself may not be “lost” due to climate change, the impact on all living beings could be catastrophic. It’s crucial to reduce our carbon footprint and minimize the effects of climate change to avoid events such as extreme weather conditions, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters. This can include making conscious choices to reduce our consumption of animal products, conserve energy, use eco-friendly modes of transportation, and make sustainable lifestyle choices.
To keep the carbon footprint to a minimum, do not consume such products as milk, meat, leather, wool, silk, etc.
If climate change continues at this rate, then the day is not far when we will have to see and suffer the destruction of nature before our eyes. Therefore, it is important to give up animal products that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases and use plant-based alternatives.
By keeping carbon footprint to a minimum, climate change can be slowed down and innocent animals and humans can be saved. Save the Earth, the choice is yours.