But we have to face the music, especially with the California drought on our hands. We don’t have time to be complacent about our world’s dwindling resources. Here are five ways animal agriculture is affecting the planet that we have to face.
1. It's Wasting More Water Than Anything Else
One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce. Guess how many showers that is. Two months worth. More than two-thirds of all the fresh water in the world is used exclusively for animal agriculture. Even if you simply go vegetarian and not vegan, you reduce your water footprint use by almost 60 percent.
2. It's Taking Up All The Land
Livestock covers 45 percent of the land on this planet. Yes, almost half of the world is now covered with animals harvested for our consumption. Just thinking about the population growth we've seen in the past few decades, it is safe to say we are going to need a lot of that land in the near future. Sadly, in many places that aren't highly regulated by national governments, innocent communities are displaced in order to claim their land for factory farming.
3. It's Creating Ocean Dead Zones
4. It's A Serious Source Of Air Pollution
5. It's Causing Species Extinction
Biologists say we are currently facing a biodiversity crisis named the Sixth Extinction. The last mass extinction of its kind took place 65 million years ago. In 1993, a Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimated the planet was losing 30,000 living species per year. And today, it's more severe than ever. Each day, at least one hundred innocent animal and plant species are killed in the Amazon rainforest because of factory farming. Natural predators, such as the Wedge wolf pack in Washington state, are murdered to keep cattle alive, who are only slaughtered not long after.
You don’t have to be hardcore right away and swear off all animal products until the day you die, (although that would technically be the best solution for our planet). Simply being aware of the facts will get us on the right track to being more conscious inhabitants — after all, we sometimes forget that natural resources are not endless.
One mild, gateway option is to be more aware of where your products come from. Instead of supporting the big business of factory farming, have a look into local, eco-friendly small-scale farms in your area. Know where your meat and fish is coming from, how the animals are treated, and what kind of resources are used. It feels empowering to have control over what rolls through your kitchen.
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