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Sometimes, the problem of climate change and environmental destruction seems so large that it feels insurmountable. We’ve changed our light bulbs to those weird looking things, and we signed up for the Pledge of Resistance. What more can we do? The answer is as close as your kitchen.

A United Nations Environment Program report in 2006 stated that “rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars.” So what’s the magic light bulb fix for that? Switching to a plant-based diet would be a good start in helping to alleviate such a burden.

Where do you start? How about joining Rainforest Action Network on March 20 by taking the Farm Animal Rights Movement’s pledge to eat only plant-based foods. And in the meantime, arm yourself with these facts that show how even a small change can make a big difference.

1. About 70 billion farm animals are killed every year for food —that’s over 100,000 animals every second.

Besides the ethical implications, those animals all need places to live, food to eat, and water to drink, and that’s no easy, or clean, feat.

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About What You’re Eating

2. It takes 1,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.

As droughts become more prevalent, keep in mind that not eating one pound of meat saves as much water as eliminating four months of five-minute showers.

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About What You’re Eating

3. Animals raised for food in the U.S. produce 31,000 pounds of manure a second.

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But when you’re going that much, where does all of it end up?

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About What You’re Eating

4. That manure has to go somewhere.

Calif., the number one dairy producer in the U.S., identified agriculture, including cows, as the major source of nitrate pollution in more than 100,000 square miles of polluted groundwater (61 percent of the entire state).

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About What You’re Eating

5. Pig, chicken, and cow waste has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.

That’s over eight times the length of the Nile, the longest river in the world.

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About What You’re Eating

6. All is not lost. The United Nations Environment Program has the solution:

“A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About What You’re Eating

7. By switching to a plant-based diet, you’re helping yourself, the Earth, and you’re creating 70 billion smiles.

That’s something we can all feel good about.  Take the pledge today.

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About What You’re Eating

Lead image source: Alpha / Flickr

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19 comments on “7 Facts You Didn’t Know About What You’re Eating”

Click to add comment
Donna Rose
4 Years Ago

Well Mike after world war 3, if you were to somehow survive, your steak will be so radioactive your shit will glow. Glad your non tree hugging self has that all worked out

Christian Adam
4 Years Ago

you won't see smiles like that inside factory farming operations. Not on the animals, anyway.

Nancy Lauber Heeder
4 Years Ago

Jeffrey Heeder

RayvenLore BlackRose
4 Years Ago

I chose to take the vegan path a year ago and I couldn't be happier with my decision.

Mike Navratil
4 Years Ago

I have an idea! Why not start a world war 3, kill off 90% of the human population and I can go back to eating my steak and not feel guilty about all you tree hugging sobs.

Rawfruitbased Living
4 Years Ago


Mary Anne Gardner
4 Years Ago

What a sweet sight!!

Stephanie Joyal
4 Years Ago

Samantha McCormack

Annie Saul
4 Years Ago


Lisa Williams
4 Years Ago

I agree but I have a concern! Pesticides on crops grown for human consumption are destroying the insect and bird populations already; where I live is mainly land for grazing animals and because of that the wild plants, birds and animals get a break, there are no pesticides and there are hedges where they can live. Land used for crops tends to be stripped bare of all else to maximise profits, sprayed constantly with pollutants and then of course there are GM crops to deal with. Not eating meat could really work but we have to also fight for massive reduction or eradication of pesticides, land set aside to preserve wild species,be willing to buy less than perfect looking food so the farmers aren't forced to overproduce to compensate for all the produce that's thrown away because it doesn't look regular in shape etc and put pressure on supermarkets to pay farmers properly so they aren't tempted to use the pesticides in order to protect their profit margins. Plus, GM crops have to be stopped, because if we are to be dependant on plants, we need more biodiversity not less-otherwise a few rampant plant diseases will cause mass famine.

Percilla Stoeckley
14 Mar 2014

Lisa Williams- it is all connected. It is important to buy non GMO orgainic foods. The more people who demand them, the less pesticdes will be used. GMO foods are mainly to support the pesticide industry- it makes plants more tolerent of pesticide, but poisons us and the planet.

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