There are a few things that cross our minds when we sit down to eat a meal. We’re probably thinking about how excited we are to eat or are in the midst of patting ourselves on the back for creating a wholesome and delicious meal. But it’s pretty safe to say, we don’t look at the food on our plates and start calculating their carbon and water footprints … or consider how many acres of rainforest were cut down to make our little burgers possible. Suffice it to say, there’s a whole lot we miss about the impact caused by producing our food when we just see it on our tables.
This is a major problem because our global food system dominated by industrial animal agriculture is at the heart of our environmental crisis.
This destructive industry currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources, uses the majority of our freshwater stores, and drives greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, this system causes rampant air and water pollution, land degradation, deforestation and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction. And yet, one in eight people still suffer from food scarcity.
Unfortunately, it seems we are doing a much better job at feeding the 20-odd billion farm animals raised for meat and dairy on the planet than we are people. And most frighteningly, our pursuit of expanding animal agriculture is putting our future food security at great risk.
To shine a light on this problem, we created a series of graphics to help people make the connection between their food … and its cost.
For every 100 calories of grain we feed animals, we only get 40 calories of milk, 22 calories of eggs, and 3 calories of beef.
We’re already using over half our arable land resources for grazing cattle and growing livestock feed … how will we accommodate more?
Animals raised for food produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population – and all that waste runs into our streams, rivers, and oceans.
Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined.
Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation in the world. If we don’t make a change, we stand to lose all rainforests in the next 100 years.
Between habitat loss, climate change, and pollution, the world’s species are being pushed to the brink – all thanks to our food choices.
Knowing all that we do about the impact of meat consumption on the environment and animals, we are faced with a choice – either we can continue to be sold into this destructive industry … or we can choose better.
You can start eating for the planet by doing nothing more than choosing a delicious plant-based meal over one laden with animal products. If you look at it from a personal perspective, you can cut your own carbon footprint in half just by leaving meat off your plate for one year. (Plus save a lot of water, redirect grain for people to eat, and help protect endangered species…)
You can #EatForThePlanet starting today. Just follow the three simple steps below.
1. Moderate: Limit consumption of your favorite meats like beef, lamb, pork, etc.
2. Replace: Try to swap animal-based products in your daily diet with vegan alternatives (milk, butter, mayo, cheese, grilled chicken, beef crumbles, sausages, cold cuts, etc.)
3. Embrace: Add plant-based whole foods (local and organic when possible) to your diet like greens, fresh fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, plant proteins like lentils, nuts/seeds, beans, tofu, etc.
As Nil Zacharias, the co-founder of One Green Planet says, “Eat in a way that nourishes you without starving the planet.”
We all have the power to create a better future for our children, and the countless animals we share the planet with, by making one easy swap. If you’re ready to start doing this in your own life, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.
All graphics by Ivano Sarubbi