How Can We Help Our Environment?

How Can We Help Our Environment?

Written by: Fee O'Shea

Gold card carrying author of six books including ‘The Rise of the Modern Vegan’. Speaker and writer, I’m passionate about all critters (including humans).

Autumn has arrived, and this is the time of the year I love the most.

Life seems to have calmed somehow. The weather is quieter, and the days still have warmth, although they are a little shorter. Of course, with us now living in a climate crisis, Autumns may look different. Perhaps this year, the temperature will be warmer. Maybe the weather won’t be as settled as it used to be.

The climate crisis is real, and even though some of it is caused by natural phenomena, human impact since the Industrial Revolution has seen each decade increase the environmental impact faster.

We can no longer leave it up to the younger generation to develop solutions. We must all make a conscious effort to put right what our forefathers unwittingly started.

Probably the most significant impact you can have is to choose a vegan lifestyle. Many studies have proven that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, going plant-based and ceasing to buy animal materials can reduce the carbon footprint we each have by 73%.

So just how does this happen?

One-third of all global emissions are from food production, but a whopping 50% of that comes from the meat industry. This percentage is ridiculous! If we cut out animal foods, we’ll be on our way to a more sustainable planet.

Think of it this way. There is a McDonald’s in your town that serves meat burgers. And there are two or perhaps three in your nearest city. There are around 167 McDonalds in New Zealand alone, all serving meat burgers every day and every night. How many beef cattle have to be reared and slaughtered just for this particular fast-food restaurant chain? But don’t stop there. Add to them all the Wendys, Carls Jr., Burger King, Subway, Burger Fuel, and the list goes on. All these outlets need beef for their patties. Plus, you have the cafés and restaurants that want beef for their menus.

Now, take those numbers and extrapolate them to include the rest of the world. It is estimated that McDonald’s alone sells 4,500 burgers every minute, 270,000 every hour, 6.48 million every day, and 2.36 billion burgers every year. Other estimates have put McDonald’s burger sales at 50 million a day — worldwide.

All these animals need land and feed. And now comes the clincher. 80% of the world’s farmland is used for livestock, producing just 18% of food calories. The biodiversity loss is massive. Wild animals and plants provide essential ecosystems without which we all suffer. Animal agriculture deforests land. Plant foods use 47% less land, and if we all made the switch, we could be reforesting and returning the land to its natural state.

I have not even touched on the number of dairy cows, chickens, and pigs that need housing, feeding and a constant supply of water, let alone removing their waste.

And just as an aside, we are overfishing the ever-increasing delicate ocean ecosystems as well!

We’re all in this together, and we have to start grasping the fact that if we don’t have an environment, we don’t have life. The best thing we can do right now is fully adopt plant-based eating. The bonus is that your health wins, and so do the animals.
Until next time…

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