5 Reasons You Can't Eat Meat and Be an Environmentalist

Lots of people call themselves environmentalists. And we don’t doubt for a second that most really do care about the well-being of our planet. But the truth is, if you eat meat, you’re contributing to one of the worst causes of environmental destruction. Let’s dive into the facts.


Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes and other forms of transportation—combined.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, carbon dioxide emissions from raising farmed animals make up about 15 percent of global human-induced emissions. Beef and milk production are the leading culprits.

Additionally, simply by avoiding animal products, you cut your carbon footprint in half.

A pound of beef requires 13 percent more fossil fuel and 15 times more water to produce than a pound of soy.

Now take into account these five facts:

  1. Animals raised for food produce 7 million pounds of excrement every minute.
  2. Animal agriculture is culpable for nearly 91 percent of Amazon destruction, according to the World Bank.
  3. Raising animals for food (including land for grazing and growing feed crops) now uses over one-third of the earth’s landmass.
  4. Factory farms have created more than 500 nitrogen-flooded dead zones in the world’s oceans.
  5. Even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565 gigatonnes CO2e limit by 2030—all from raising animals for food.

Clearly, there is no such thing as sustainable meat. Meanwhile, plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs take a mere fraction of the resources to produce as their animal-based counterparts.

A vegan diet is not only good for the planet, it spares countless animals from a lifetime of misery at factory farms. Pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals suffer horribly. These animals face unimaginable cruelties: extreme confinement, brutal mutilations and bloody, violent deaths.

As James Cameron famously said, “There’s no such thing as a meat-eating environmentalist.”

If you really want to save the world, don't just drive a Prius, cut meat out of your diet.

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