Eco-Eating:
Going Green Begins With What’s On Your Plate

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Eco-Eating:
Going Green Begins With What’s On Your Plate

[Ed. Note: Read a wonderfully wide array of articles about how every food choice we makes does have a global impact - Environmental Articles.]

By Hope Bohanec (April 2011) on One Green Planet

When it comes to global warming, farmed animals and their byproducts are responsible for 51 percent of annual worldwide human caused greenhouse gas emissions. This is according to a 2008 report from two prominent World Bank environmental advisers.

Agricultural production, including livestock production, consumes more fresh water than any other activity in the United States

Large-scale dietary change to a plant-based diet could actually reverse deforestation. In the US, over 400 million acres of pasture and range land could be reforested

With Earth Day approaching, I have some great news for the planet. The food and drink an average person consumes are the single largest determining factor of one’s overall ecological footprint. Why is this good news? Because knowing this, it’s easy and affordable to make important improvements to our global impact. You don’t need to buy a hybrid or get solar panels to make the biggest difference; just changing our shopping and eating habits to delicious plant-based choices can have positive effects.

Our food choices have dramatic consequences on the environment. Reducing or eliminating the consumption of animal products is one of the most powerful ways an individual can reduce his or her carbon footprint. What we put into our bags at the grocery store actually has more environmental impact than whether we bring a reusable shopping bag or drive a hybrid to the store.

Animal agriculture is responsible for many of the world’s most serious environmental problems — global warming, water use and pollution, massive energy consumption, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and species, as well as the deep impact of fishing on our oceans. A 2010 Report from the UN International Panel of Sustainable Resource Management strongly urges a global shift to a plant-based diet to both feed a hungry world and greatly reduce environmental impacts like global warming.

Unfortunately, recognizing animal products for the global warming culprits they are is an abstract concept. Identifying carbon emissions from, let’s say, a car, is much more observable. The fossil fuel gets pumped in and emits from the tail pipe — how much fuel you burn is the calculator of your impact. On the other hand, an animal product sits innocently concealed in a plastic-wrapped package, with no way to tally its heavy environmental toll.

So how does an animal product come to have such a profound carbon footprint? It’s a combination of factors. Producing animal products wastes enormous amounts of energy and fossil fuels, and emits greenhouse gasses in the process. Throw in the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest for cattle grazing and raising soy beans fed to animals, and you have a recipe for serious impact on climate change.

For the complete article expanding these topics, visit One Green Planet's site:

Climate Change

Water

Deforestation


Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over 20 years. She is the Grassroots Campaigns Director for the international animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals. Hope was the Sonoma County Coordinator for Proposition 2 and soon after that victory, founded Farm Animal Protection Project. Hope offers an influential power point presentation called Eco-Eating: A Cool Diet for a Hot Planet that addresses the environmental impact of animal agriculture through peer reviewed scientific research. She is a nationally recognized leader and speaker in the animal protection movement, and a well known presenter throughout the Bay Area and across the U.S.