Ever Thought Of Becoming a Vegetarian?

The environmental impact of our diet (USA Stats only)

Only two percent of the world’s water is fresh water suitable for human use or agriculture. Burgeoning population demands and increasing pollution of groundwater by sewerage, industrial pollution and agricultural nitrates and pesticides will make fresh water a desperately short commodity in the coming century. Livestock production uses more than half of all water consumed for all purposes in the USA. Producing a pound of wheat requires 25 gallons of water while a pound of beef requires 2500 gallons of water. Raising one average steer uses enough water to float a navy destroyer. The Ogallala Aquifer, the major source of water for agriculture in the great plains, is being rapidly depleted primarily by grain crops grown for livestock.

Seventy percent of the total US grain production is consumed by livestock and half of the world grain harvest is consumed by livestock. Sixteen pounds of grain are required to make one pound of beef. One third of all raw materials (base products of farming, forestry and mining, including fossil fuels) consumed by the U.S. are devoted to the production of livestock. More than 38,000 children die as a result of malnutrition and starvation every day (one every 3.6 seconds) while 66% of US grain exports are consumed by livestock. If Americans reduced their intake of meat by only ten percent; 100,000,000 people could be fed using the land, water and energy that would be freed up from growing livestock feed.

An acre of prime land can produce 10,000 lbs of Green Beans, 20,000 lbs of apples, 30,000 lbs of carrots or 20,000 lbs of potatoes. The same land can produce grain for 250 lbs of beef. Sixty four percent of all cropland is used to produce livestock feed (By contrast, 2% of all US cropland is producing fruits and vegetables.). About 35 pounds of topsoil are lost in the production of one pound of feedlot steak.

Animals raised for food produce 130 times more excrement than the entire human population. US livestock produce 86,000 pounds of excrement per second (that’s two trillion pounds per year). The typical adult hog produces urinary and fecal waste equivalent to three adult humans. (There are ten million hogs in North Carolina and only nine million people and the impact on the local infrastructure and environment are disastrous.) The tons of methane produced by the collective digestion of 1.3 billion cows on the planet are a major contribution to the global warming effect.
(Holy crap!)

info found here


12 thoughts on “Ever Thought Of Becoming a Vegetarian?

  1. it’s funny how the first thing i think of when the idea of vegetarianism is… “but i love meat”

    the thought revolves around me and what i want for momentary satisfaction. it revolves around my right to have what i want.

    but for the sake of the earth and the for the sake of future generations, maybe the seed of this idea needs to be granted permission to actually find its way to the soil of my mind and given time to germinate????

    somewhere, something has to shift.

  2. yeah and he also made marijuana out of tiny little atoms that would make you feel good. do you think we should consume just because we are capable of consuming? what’s your point anonymous? bugger the rest of humanity and bugger the earth as long as it taste good for me?
    ps he also made you out of steak.

  3. Something my housemate and i have been discussing is taking this a little further. He has been reading a book by this Buddihst monk who talks about the effects of pesticides used on fruit n veg and GM food on our bodies and our environment. He reckons we should all eat organic produce.

    The argument brought to him all the time is organic food is expensive, the monks response – eat less!

    Kinda makes me think, if we all, in the west, ate no meat, ate less (because let’s face it obesity is a problem in almost, if not every western country) and only ate organic food how much better would our bodies be, our environment be, our world be?

  4. I’m reminded of a Simpson episode when Lisa decided to become a vegitarian, it goes a little like the following;

    Homer – Lisa your not going to eat meat from any animal???

    Lisa – No

    Homer – What about pork?

    Lisa – No

    Homer – What about bacon?

    Lisa – No

    Homer – What about ham?

    Lisa – Dad, they’re all from the same animal

    Homer – Yeah, sure Lisa some “magical” animal hehe

    Classic, maybe we can just eat animals that produce less excrement, like fish or kangaroo. I hear whale is quite good at the moment – joke people!!!

  5. as a “ex-veggie” and one thinking very hard about picking it up again- i would say thanks for the info – very cool. what we need to remember is just because we can eat meat, does not mean we need to.

  6. Interesting comments regarding the use of our resources.

    I’ve given some thought to my own habits and I’ve developed what I consider to be a cunning plan to further preserve our precious resources – toilet paper scrunching!

    As you know, the world can be divided into “scrunchers” (those that manually compress their toilet paper into an irregular sphere prior to implementing it down below) and “folders” (those that fold the paper into a flat, symmetrical shape before its use). Now, I have just finished an exhaustive study that suggests that the absorptive and therefore cleaning capacity of a scrunched piece of toilet tissue is more than twice that of a folded piece. This is due primarily to its increased surface area to volume ratio.

    The best way to visualize this is to imagine the work of a coarse file (some call them a bastard I believe) to that of a fine file. The coarse file removes much more material per stroke that that of a fine file. So to the action of piece of paper with a more irregular surface.

    Therefore, we can conclude that “scrunchers” effectively remove possibly twice the amount of poo than “folders” thus saving on valuable paper resources.

    Remember “A scrunch a day keeps the chainsaws away”

  7. that may be true Doctor, but for me to feel confident that my digits aren’t going to get covered in poo, I’ll probably use twice as much paper to assure a solid scruch, therefore negating the benefits of the scrunch’s two-fold ability to clean.

    this is ofcourse not true for the ridiculous new paper-type… the cottonelle. the troughs in these new ripple papers are chronic weak points, which almost without a doubt, end up with a one or two finger penetration into the poo. therefore, a scrunch would be worth the extra paper.

    may you know the peace that comes from a truely safe wipe. and may all the toilets you inhabit be filled with toilet rolls of paper that are loaded the correct way, ie with the paper flowing over the top of the roll and not from the underside! shalom

  8. Wow, what a great article. I have never considered even thinking about becoming a vegetarian but when you read an article like this it really makes you stop and think. Definitely not an argument I have ever read/heard before. Thanks for sharing Scott. God bless…

  9. If it is truely about taking a greater level of ownership of our earth (Moving away from “Bugger the earth”) then I suggest a move away from the conventional toilet which not only wasts vast amounts of paper but also water as well.

    Simple plan – poo in your garden to help grow your all natural organic vege’s. Since you would be eating the same sort of food as most other animals the nutrient value of your own poo should be similar to that of a chicken or cow which is considered quite good fertiliser. Use your own! Save water, save money, help the environment.

    The paper issue can easily be solved by following the lead from our neighbouring countries who grow one finger longer then the others for the soul purpose of cleaning the “cake hole” (so to speak). This will save you even more money and our precious environment.

    How many trees have to die before we get used to the smell and texture of our own crap???

    It’s funny that we can give up the luxuries of todays world like big screen tv’s and fancy cars, but when it really hurts, and smells we so easily fall back on life’s little luxuries like 4 layered toilet paper and heavy duty exhaust fans!

    Embracing the poo!

  10. ouch anonymous…hit me where it hurts.

    how far do we go in this quest to care for our earth and fellow human beings?

    of one thing i am absolutely convinced, we can no longer make decisions based on what every one else consideres normal. ‘normal’ is screwed.

    i think the answer lies somewhere in sustainability. is it sustainable for all us westerners to use toilet paper? there in lies my answer of it’s use…yes or no.

    ps we flush much less regularly than we used to.

    pps hubby often does choose the garden over the bath room.

    ppps apparently squatting is much better for both the thighs and the digestive systen than sitting.

  11. A Rule to live by –
    When it’s yellow, let it mellow
    When it’s brown flush it down!

    We recently spent some time on a World Vision site regarding the environment. There were links all over it and one of them sent you to a water wise site. One suggestion was that of setting up a slimline water tank outside each toilet. Each time you flush you use your rain water collected over winter. It remains connected to your main in case you run out during summer.
    BTW – I fold. The idea of using a bastard file on my butt makes me feel a bit off. The theory is all good and I agree with it all, but the red ring around uranus makes my eyes water…I will risk a split sheet and dirty finger in a soft folder paper rather than a scrunched rough bastard type wipe and a rough ring any day.

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