This is another green tip we have heard before but the effects of eating meat is serious to the environment (and many other things like world hunger not discussed here). Try eating meat one less day a week and replace it with veggies, legumes, or (if you have to) cage free poultry.
I am not suggesting that going vegetarian or even harder vegan is the way to save the world either. I think it is highly debatable that people who choose those diets are healthier. In an effort to help the environment do your best to eat less meat. Try it one more day a week than normal and then move up to two days and so on.
Some interesting facts that illustrate why this topic is so important:
18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock (more than from transportation). *
70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon was cleared to pasture cattle. *
Two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems, come from cattle. *
The livestock sector accounts for over 8 percent of global human water use, while 64 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas by 2025. *
The world’s largest source of water pollution is believed to be the livestock sector. *
In the United States, livestock are responsible for a third of the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus into freshwater resources. *
Livestock account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife, in an era of unprecedented threats to biodiversity. *
These problems will only get worse as meat production is expected to double by 2050. *
- According to the British group Vegfam, a 10-acre farm can support 60 people growing soybeans, 24 people growing wheat, 10 people growing corn and only two producing cattle. Britain — with 56 million people — could support a population of 250 million on an all-vegetable diet. Because 90 percent of U.S. and European meat eaters’ grain consumption is indirect (first being fed to animals), westerners each consume 2,000 pounds of grain a year. Most grain in underdeveloped countries is consumed directly.+
- Energy-intensive U.S. factory farms generated 1.4 billion tons of animal waste in 1996, which, the Environmental Protection Agency reports, pollutes American waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. Meat production has also been linked to severe erosion of billions of acres of once-productive farmland and to the destruction of rainforests.+
- According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), livestock raised for food produce 130 times the excrement of the human population, some 87,000 pounds per second. The Union of Concerned Scientists points out that 20 tons of livestock manure is produced annually for every U.S. household. The much-publicized 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska dumped 12 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, but the relatively unknown 1995 New River hog waste spill in North Carolina poured 25 million gallons of excrement and urine into the water, killing an estimated 10 to 14 million fish and closing 364,000 acres of coastal shellfishing beds. Hog waste spills have caused the rapid spread of a virulent microbe called Pfiesteria piscicida, which has killed a billion fish in North Carolina alone. +
* source: yahoo answers http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080316161542AAJHh2f
+source: Emagazine http://www.emagazine.com/view/?142