For years I considered becoming a vegetarian. But did I really want to miss burgers and morph into a tie-dyed hippie? When I finally made the switch-the payoff was astounding. Some factoids: Skip a pound of beef and you've saved the equivalent water for a year of showers. Every vegan saves an acre of trees a year, and an average of 2,400 animals in a lifetime. Plus I had infinitely more energy, felt super healthy, my skin and eyes were clear.
I Joined the Ranks of Some Pretty Cool Veggies:
Benjamin Franklin, Jesus Christ, John Lennon, Kate Winslet, Leonardo Da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, Alanis Morissette, Albert Einstein, Ariana Huffington, Christie Brinkley, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Deepak Chopra, Gandhi, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Carrie Underwood, Tobey Maguire, Brad Pitt, Kristen Bell, Prince, Shania Twain, Daryl Hannah, Natalie Portman, Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Hartnett, Richard Gere, Alicia Silverstone, Alyssa Milano, Kim Basinger, Penelope Cruz, Ashley Judd, Nicollette Sheridan, David Duchovny, Tea Leon, Paul McCartney, Ellen DeGeneres, Mos Def, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Angela Bassett, Henry David Thoreau, India Arie, Jane Goodall, Lisa Kudrow, Mark Twain, Mike Farrell, Paul Newman, Plato, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Redford, Saint Frances of Assisi, Vanessa A. Williams, Voltaire, Yasmin.
Veggies Save Health, Money and Time:
Americans spend $110 billion a year on meat-based fast food. That's more than on all books, DVDs, CDs, movies, magazines and newspapers combined. Eating meat-based and fast-foot is the highway to obesity, heart disease, cancers and diabetes that leads onto the expressway to the ER, endless medical treatments and prescription drugs.
A Meat-Based Diet is the #1 Factor in Environmental Degradation:
* There are 20 billion head of livestock on the planet, versus 6.6 billion people. In the U. S. 7-10 billion animals are raised and slaughtered each year for food.
*Livestock production is only 1.5 percent of total GDP but consumes 30% of all raw materials and fossil fuels. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock production generates nearly 18% of the planet's greenhouse gases, compared to 13% for all modes of transportation combined, and 8% from all homes and offices.
Producing One Pound of Beef Wastes Enough Water For One Year of Showering:
Creating animal protein expends over 8 times as much fossil-fuel energy over plant protein. The fuel used to produce one hamburger patty is enough to drive 20 miles, plus eroded five times its weight in topsoil. The carbon emissions created to produce 2.2 pounds of beef is equal to driving a standard car 150 miles. Beef production alone consumes more water than growing all U. S. fruit and vegetable crops. It takes100,000 liters [26, 500 gallons] of water for every kilogram [2.205 pounds] of beef produced. Soybean production uses 2,000 liters [528 gallons] for a kilogram of food produced. Rice 1,912 [505 gallons]. Wheat 900 [237.7 gallons]. Potatoes 500 liters [132 gallons].
*Each year 50% of U. S. and 40% of world grain is fed to livestock rather than humans; pushing up commodity prices, while 1/6 of the planet's people starve. Each year, 41 million tons [i. e. the equivalent weight of approx 90 million cows] of grain is fed to U. S. livestock to produce 7 million tons of animal protein. The grain fed to U. S. livestock could feed 800 million people, or if exported the U. S. trade balance would be increased by $80 billion a year.
‘Dying for a Hamburger’ Connects Meat Consumption and Alzheimer's:
*Dr. Murray Waldman above book concludes that like Mad Cow Disease, Alzheimer's is an infection and not congenital. He correlates Alzheimer's rates and Mad Cow Disease outbreaks to the rise of industrialized meat farms and meat consumption. Factory-farmed animals are the most over-medicated creatures on Earth. A CDC report noted a 50% rise in the use of growth-rate increasing drugs since 1985. High-density confinement spreads diseases like E. coli and Salmonella. And animal feed is mixed with the brain tissue, blood, bone, and flesh of dead farmed animals increasing incidents of ‘downed animals’ and Mad Cow disease.
Yum! Billions of Tons of Animal Waste Goes into Our Water Each Year:
*The equivalent to 20 tons of manure per every U. S. household every year [i. e. the weight of approximately 45 cows per home] is dumped into our rivers and streams. Per the EPA the pollution to U. S. waterways from this one source is more than all other industrial sources combined. 75% of all water-quality problems are related to factory-farming antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, and eroded pasture sediments that account for 33% of all nitrogen and phosphorus loads. In 1995 in New River, North Carolina alone, 25 million gallons of hog excrement and urine poured into the water killing 10 to 14 million fish and closing 364,000 acres of coastal shell fishing beds. Hog waste spills have spread the Pfiesteria piscicida microbe killing a billion fish in North Carolina.
U. S. Topsoil is Being Lost at 13 Times the Sustainable Rate and Runs into Oceans Creating Dead Zones:
*Billions of acres of once-productive farmland have been eroded due to meat production. In the U. S. , 90% of all cropland is losing soil at 13 times above the sustainable rate. Iowa has lost 50% of its topsoil that was thousands of years in formation. Livestock production has also lead to destruction of rain forests for crop and grazing land including 75% percent of previous Amazon forests (the planet's lungs).
*According to the UN Environmental Program the number of ocean “dead zones" have increased by a third to 200 in just two years. In areas “. . . like sewage, nutrients from fertilizer run off, animal wastes and atmospheric pollution; sediment mobilization and marine litter - the problems are intensifying, " UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement.
Industrialized Animals are Brutalized and Terrorized:
*In their short, stunted, lives they are miserable in their housing, transport, feeding, branding, castration, debeaking, dehorning and slaughter. Jam-packed in inhumane spaces, subjected to hunger, thirst, heat exhaustion, extreme stress, freezing and worst, they frequently regain consciousness during slaughtering. This is not what I want to take into my body, or support with my money.
The #1 Way to Save the Planet is to Become a Vegetarian and Encourage Others, Too.
Vote with your cash, investments and shopping bags for a planetary paradigm-shift. Organics are the #1 growth grocery segment. There are many delicious soy-based products today by producers like Amy's and Morningstar that make it easy to be more health giving to our bodies and the planet.
Thanks for Reading and Even More for Acting:
*Donate $1 to plant one tree in The Amazon. See the “Plant a Billion" project link on the website below, and consider adding a banner to your website, too. (Note: This major global project is volunteer activism not an affiliate arrangement of any type. )
© 2008 -Suzanne de Cornelia. All worldwide rights apply. This article may be reprinted on websites as long as the entire article, including website link and resource box below are included and unchanged.
Suzanne de Cornelia is a freelance writer. Her novel, “French Heart" is a wickedly funny romance that takes readers on a heart pounding roller-coaster ride through glamorous settings as a former CIA-agent and her cohorts battle global racketeers to uncover the secret to love, riches and environmental transformation. “French Heart" will be launched in December 2008 along with brand merchandise including “French Heart" private label wine, organic cotton spa-wear, and signature charm bracelets. Please sign up for a one-time book announcement on her site: