Excerpts - How our Diet affects the Environment
Excerpts from Environmental News
Recycling department of IBM, Raleigh, NC
October 20, 1998
We don't think anyone should tell us what to eat - that's too personal. But we do think you should know some facts about how your diet affects the environment.
· Believe it or not, cows may be contributing to the greenhouse effect. According to one estimate, the world's 1.3 billion cows annually produce nearly 100 million tons of methane - a powerful greenhouse gas that, molecule for molecule, traps 25 times as much solar heat as CO2.
· Livestock (Cattle, Calves, Hogs, Pigs etc) production accounts for more than half of all the water consumed (for all purposes) in the USA.
· A third of the surface of North America is devoted to grazing. Half of American croplands grow livestock feed (mostly for cattle) for meat and dairy products.
· 220 million acres of land in the USA have been deforested for livestock production.
· 25 million acres (an area the size of Austria) in Brazil, and half the forests in Central America, have been cleared for beef production.
· The value of raw materials consumed to produce food from livestock is greater than the value of all oil, gas and coal consumed in America.
· Growing grains, vegetables and fruits uses less than 5% as much raw materials as does meat and dairy production.
According to DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA: If Americans reduced their meat intake by just 10%, the savings in grains and soybeans could adequately feed 60 million people - the number of people who starve to death, worldwide, each year.