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Tomorrow 4/22 is Earth Day 2014. This gives us the perfect opportunity to actually do something about climate change. There’s no better time to join the Meatless Monday movement. Global climate changes–from Greenland’s melting ice sheet to rising sea levels are in the headlines now. And a major contributor to many of these ecological harms, particularly the increase in greenhouse gases, is industrial animal food production.
If you're already having a Meatless Monday, it's a good time to add another day or two! The ones to benefit are you and our Mother Earth.
REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
In the United States, 80 percent of agricultural land is used for raising animals and feed crops. That’s almost half the land mass of the lower 48 states dedicated to feeding the nation’s taste for beef, chicken and pork . More than half of the grain grown in the country goes toward feeding livestock, and nearly half of the water used goes toward meat production .