Friday, September 18, 2015

Environmental and Animal rights Issues go Hand-in-Hand: Part 1

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted anything on this blog. However, I still am an animal rights activist, as I have been doing some offline activism over the past few months. Now I'm starting to think that perhaps it's time to get back to blogging... Hmm... Well, I'll finish writing this post first, and then decide. :)

(Just a side note: Guess how many pageviews my blog has gotten over "all time" by now? 35869! I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to help raise awareness in this way.) Now, onto today's topic...

Environmentalism and animal rights go hand-in-hand. If you are an environmentalist, you should be concerned about issues related to animals, and if you're an animal rights activist, it's important that you also care about the environment. Let me elaborate on both of these points, okay?

In part 1 of this two-part series, I'm going to talk about why environmentalists should care about animals, and why they should lead a vegan lifestyle.

  • Wild animals: Wild animals are essential contributors to ecosystems all over the globe. If one wild species goes extinct, this could have a huge, cascading effect on the entire ecosystem. In order to preserve balance in Nature, animal species and populations must be protected from human exploitation.
  • Domesticated animals: The farming of animals is very inefficient, using up a lot of energy, land, and resources. Here are some shocking facts:
    • More than one third of all raw materials and fossil fuels used in the United States are used in animal farming.1
    • It takes more than 10 times the amount of fossil fuels to produce one calorie of animal protein than it does to produce one calorie of plant protein. What's more, "The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth". 1
    • 30% of Earth's land mass is now used to produce animal-derived "foods" (this includes the land that is used to grow feed for the animals, and grazing land).1 According to another source, 45% of Earth's total land is used for livestock.2
    • The amount of water it takes to produce a day's worth of food for a meat-eater is over 4000 gallons; for a lacto-ovo vegetarian, it takes 1200 gallons; and for a vegan, it takes only 300 gallons. 1
    • According to Vegan Outreach, "Expansion of livestock production is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Latin America where the greatest amount of deforestation is occurring – 70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feedcrops cover a large part of the remainder."3
    • Livestock farming accounts for 27% of the U.S.'s total methane emissions.4

These are merely a few of the facts. I found one website called "Truth or Drought" that provides an in-depth look at why plant-based diets are essential to fight water scarcity. Please check out the website at it looks very interesting!

And, according to a 2010 United Nations report, "Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production", only "a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products" would be able to significantly reduce impacts of agriculture worldwide. You can read the document itself, or you can see it reported in the Guardian:

Here's an infographic from Cowspiracy that provides even more information:

To those environmentalists who think, "Oh well, I'll just eat less meat in order to reduce my environmental impact, but not go vegan", please remember that animal agriculture is not only environmentally damaging, but it is also cruel beyond what most people can imagine, as well as inherently unethical because the animals' rights are being violated through exploitation. The only ethical solution is to go completely vegan. Veganism is easier than most people realize! There are lots of good sources of information on how to go vegan. You can download a free vegan started kit PDF from Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine at (the "Download" link is on the right-hand side of the page). Some other sources would include,, or

As you can see, becoming vegan is an important part of being an environmentalist. In part 2 of this series, I'm going to discuss why people who care about animal rights should also be concerned about the environment!

Sources of facts: