An environmentalist's argument for veganism
Posted: Dec 15, 2016
Before I begin tackling the topic, here are a few disclaimers. I am neither a vegetarian or vegan – yet – at this point. There is so much more I have to learn and unlearn from my upbringing to totally come to terms with this radical change in lifestyle (because I believe the principles behind it should transcend diet choices).
But I understand the idea of turning away from a carnivorous diet, which is why I would like to help promote the cause, especially using an environmentalist argument as a starting point.
Land use conversion. Across the globe, large swaths of land are currently being used for raising and breeding animals that will later be sold off as meat. For land to be habitable for livestock and poultry, some form of clearing operations – a prelude to deforestation and desertification –have to be performed, which means driving away wildlife, tinkering with the natural balance of the space. It impacts on the soil composition, too: The topsoil erodes, and it loses nutrients in the process
Conservation of resources. And it is not just the space that the meat industry consumes in great amounts, too. We can imagine how much power and water it requires to sustain a farmland. Cattle, swine, and poultry all need warmth and water to survive. What’s more, the food they need to eat could have been the very things humans can be fed with: grains, beans, seeds. Vegans are saying that we could eliminate the "middleman" and get nutrients from the plants that are being given to these animals. This way, we drastically reduce the amount of effort, space, energy, and time that humankind is devoting to raising animals.
Greenhouse gas emissions. No less than the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) tagged the agriculture sector as responsible for approximately 18%, or almost a fifth of human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Aside from the activities in animal farms, the livestock and poultry need to be transported to the slaughterhouses, then to markets and restaurants, resulting in a substantial amount of gas emissions. At a time when the world is facing the threat of ever-increasing global temperatures, and other manifestations of climate change, it is high time for humanity to consider new ways to live, hopefully one that comes with less carbon footprint.
Personally, there is so much more I need to learn from veganism. But this is a start.
NOTE: This article is co-written with Richard A. Kimball, an environmental writer and nature-lover who enjoys sharing his passion to everyone.
Leo Aranas is an online writer and blogger.