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Vegetarian for a day?

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The Breathtaking Effects Of Cutting Back On Meat

 

Kathy Freston

 

Posted April 1, 2009 | 10:47 AM (ES

 

I've written extensively on the consequences of eating meat - on our health, our sense of "right living", and on the environment. It is one of those daily practices that has such a broad and deep effect that I think it merits looking at over and over again, from all the different perspectives. Sometimes, solutions to the world's biggest problems are right in front of us. The following statistics are eye-opening, to say the least.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;

● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;

● 70 million gallons of gas--enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;

● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;

● 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;

● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;

● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;

● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

My favorite statistic is this: According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. See how easy it is to make an impact?

Other points:

Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals. As Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer notes in his new book, if we fed that grain to the 1.4 billion people who are living in abject poverty, each of them would be provided more than half a ton of grain, or about 3 pounds of grain/day--that's twice the grain they would need to survive. And that doesn't even include the 225 million tons of soy that are produced every year, almost all of which is fed to farmed animals. He writes, "The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we--the relatively affluent--have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly."

A recent United Nations report titled Livestock's Long Shadow concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's transportation systems--that's all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. The report also concluded that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level--local and global.

Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against global warming than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid.

In its report, the U.N. found that the meat industry causes local and global environmental problems even beyond global warming. It said that the meat industry should be a main focus in every discussion of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortages and pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Unattributed statistics were calculated from scientific reports by Noam Mohr, a physicist with the New York University Polytechnic Institute.

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doesn't change the fact that i get a free dinner if i finish this 21 oz. steak in 5 minutes

 

edit: alright, i'll throw in my 2 cents

these statistics effectivly don't matter

it is actaully showing the effects of the meat and poultry industry, not what would happen if you ate tofu instead of that kung-pow you ordered. this (somewhat) utopian thought that "if the world was all peaceful brocolli lovers" won't happen, eating meat is so embeded in not only the activity of people as a species, but religiously and culturally.

 

And i have a quesiton, do these numbers take into account the other uses of meat and poultry, i.e. food ingrediants and materials, and other implications?

 

*sorry about the spelling

Edited by mattythekid
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● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;

 

 

Could someone please explain this? It seems like if we didn't eat animals there would be more excrement not less.

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All of these statistics only seem to make sense if the meat industry knows ahead of time that everyone is going to decrease the amount of meat they consume by one day's amount. Otherwise nothing changes and the meat industry just happens to miss their meat forecast by an additional third of a percent for that year.

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Could someone please explain this? It seems like if we didn't eat animals there would be more excrement not less.

 

Because then less animals would be bred, therefore less animal excrement

 

These statistics don't take in that that one chicken or steak isn't bought for just one day, its served over several, etc... so these statistics would have a much larger effect than what would actually happen: people would probably just have the meat they bought over the week from, but not just eat it that day.

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You're all missing the point - it's not that you should all skip out on meat for a day, 'cause that'd be rad, it's that the costs of eating meat in terms of pollution and resource consumption are ridiculously high in comparison to a vegetarian diet.

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Single issue movements will not solve for animal rights. Serious question - what are the advantages to becoming a vegetarian for any reason other than personal health or some other personal fulfillment? And doesn't that defeat the *real* purpose of vegetarianism? If you're just not eating meat because you don't want to get cancer, what have you done for animal rights?

 

I can think that cows are the dumbest animals in the world and probably deserve a factory farm while recognizing that not eating them sustains an ecological and economical balance that benefits humanity.

 

Just cuz you're a veghead doesn't mean you give two cents about animal welfare. Most do, but that's because it's the biggest reason a lot of people do it - not necessarily because you have to.

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Single issue movements will not solve for animal rights. Serious question - what are the advantages to becoming a vegetarian for any reason other than personal health or some other personal fulfillment? And doesn't that defeat the *real* purpose of vegetarianism? If you're just not eating meat because you don't want to get cancer, what have you done for animal rights?

 

I think you missed the original post. This proves that there is a vast benefit to vegetarianism/reduced meat eating other than personal health/animal rights--it might be a vital step toward feeding the world and ending global warming. I would say there's no "real" purpose to vegetarianism--there are many different motivations for making such a lifestyle choice.

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I have been a vegetarian for about 3 years now, and I feel great. I just went to the doctor, and I don't have anemia, iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetes (even though it runs in my family), and my cholesterol levels are in great shape.

 

People ask my why I am a vegetarian, and I don't feel the need to explain myself. There are good health and ethical reasons - you can do it for one or the other or both. I don't eat cheese either, and I am likely to go full vegan any time soon - I don't think there are any real health threats to doing so.

 

Being a vegetarian is a total joy - I couldn't imagine eating meat again.

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I wouldn't want to live in a world where everyone is that self righteous, even for a day.

 

You know, honestly, i really think scu was right when he said mention of vegetarianism sent your brain to stupid.

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You know, honestly, i really think scu was right when he said mention of vegetarianism sent your brain to stupid.
If you can't take a joke, to hell with you.
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"oh i'm a vegan.. i wish i could tune out the moral voice inside me that says eating animals is murder...but, i guess i'm just not as strong as you are."

"...that's because you need protein."

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According to this, we dont necessarily need 300 million people to not eat meat a day. Wed get the same effect if 1 milion people stopped eating meat evey day of the year. So all we need is 1 million new vegetarians.

 

Not it.

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Andrew, that's the same logic that people use to justify not voting.

"It's not like my 1 vote is going to change anything, therefore I might as well not bother."

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Andrew, that's the same logic that people use to justify not voting.

"It's not like my 1 vote is going to change anything, therefore I might as well not bother."

I just don't want to encourage the bastards.

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I've been vegan for the last year and vegetarian for 3 before that.

 

I really don't care what other people do, they can eat all the meat they want. In fact I am very pro hunters rights. Factory farming is fucked up, but so are those sweatshops that make those cool new Nikes. From my point of view we're all fucked in one way or another, so go ahead and eat your steak.

 

p.s. - My protein content is fine, if not above par, I make protein smoothies, and eat lots of delicious Tempeh.

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Although I agree that the vegetarian crowd can be self-righteous, the meat eating crowd can be hypocrites. Dietary restrictions, up to and including veganism, are an ancient tradition included in both Abrahamic and Eastern religions, yet few people in the United States follow these dietary restrictions. Although nearly all people agree with the virtue of non-violence, they ignore a vegetarian lifestyle to make their lives less violent. There is no denying that the excessive production and consumption of meat is causing environmental and health problems in the United States. I honestly believe that all vegetarians would be happy if meat consumption was simply reduced in the American diet. Reducing meat intake will provide a vast array of personal health benefits and save the lives of animals by reducing demand for meat.

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I agree, the article IS interesting, but meat tastes too good.

:]

 

I don't think it will ever be possibe for those statistics to happen.

Sorry. :/

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OK, well I admit I'm a stubborn bastard that likes meat so I'm not gonna go Veg. But you convinced me. I'll tell ya what. I'll go meatless one day every week. Hell, I've got enough weird quirks and habits (like watching The Patriot every 4th of July) none of my friends or family will even think it's that unusual.

 

That should, on average, slightly reduce the demand for meat otherwise created by me. Let's see, that's 1/300,000,000 of that statistic X 52/year.

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OK, well I admit I'm a stubborn bastard that likes meat so I'm not gonna go Veg. But you convinced me. I'll tell ya what. I'll go meatless one day every week. Hell, I've got enough weird quirks and habits (like watching The Patriot every 4th of July) none of my friends or family will even think it's that unusual.

 

That should, on average, slightly reduce the demand for meat otherwise created by me. Let's see, that's 1/300,000,000 of that statistic X 52/year.

 

I prefer HBO's John Adams on the 4th.

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Coming from a big eater (fat person): I was a vegy for around 18 months and then went back.

 

Being a vegy was easy, enjoyable and def. made me feel "better". However I ate a SHIT load of a.) cheese b.) starch/bread and was never sufficiently full. I'd eat alot of small meals (unhealty meals consiting of veggys etc but also mad bread and cheese)

 

 

Being a meat eater sucks too. I feel shitty physically and ethically after consuming most meat. However a porterhouse at Peter Lugers is orgasmic.

 

Don't know where I am really going with this. I guess there are drawbacks to all lifestyles. I could never be a "vegan". Why deny yourself one of the greatest substances in the world? Cheese..is...yummy.

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