For 650,000 years, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have never been higher than they are currently (300ppm). As a result, the earth has warmed dramatically since 1880, with all ten warmest years being within the last 12.
Sea levels have risen by 17cm during the last century, however as a result of global warming they’ve risen by nearly double that during only the last decade.
This is due to two reasons, one being water expanding as it heats and the other being added water from the melting ice sheets. NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Change experiment found that Antarctica alone lost 152km2 of ice between 2002 and 2005, whilst Greenland lost 150-250km2. (source)
Due to humans emitting more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is then absorbed by the ocean, the acidity of the ocean surface has increased by 30% since the industrial revolution. This increases by about 2 billion tons per year. (read here for how this affects coral reefs)
Okay but what will this mean for me?
Higher oil prices→Higher fertiliser prices→Higher food prices (which will massively affect people on low incomes, ESPECIALLY those in third world countries)
The rainforest will become either grassland or a desert.
50% of all species since 1492 will be extinct.
Heat waves will kill the old, weak and children.
Diseases which are being kept under control by the cold (such as the West Nile virus, which spread to the U.S. in just 5 years) will become uncontrollable.
Sea levels will rise by 20 metres, flooding major cities such as Florida and displace more than 100 million people.
What’s causing this and how can I help?
Most if not all environmental agencies paint the use of fossil fuels as the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions, suggesting that to combat global warming we should switch to renewable energy or walk rather than drive (when possible). These tips are all well and good, except for the fact that switching to renewable energy would take 20 years and approximately $43 trillion, time and money which we simply do not have considering that the effects of global warming mentioned above are already in motion.
Even if we completely stopped using gas, oil, fuel and electricity, we would still exceed our current greenhouse gas emission by the year 2030.
Wait so what other than fossil fuels is causing global warming?
The answer (and you’re not gonna like it) is animal agriculture, aka meat, dairy and egg consumption, which accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions (per year) than all forms of the world’s transportation combined.
In 2006, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations held animal agriculture responsible for only 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however in 2009 the World Watch Institute did a much more thorough (and less bias) study and found animal agriculture to be responsible of at least 51% of global greenhouse emissions (compared to transportation being responsible for 13%).
Environmental agencies tend to focus on only CO2, however it’s not the only greenhouse gas. Methane is 25-100x more destructive than CO2 with 86x the global warming power.
Animal agriculture is also responsible for 65% of nitrous oxide which is 296x more destructive than CO2.
To put that into perspective, producing one pound of meat causes as much damage as driving a car everyday for three weeks.
I won’t go too deeply into the issue of fish consumption since I’m worried that this is becoming too long, so all I will mention is that:
90 million tons of fish are pulled from the ocean per year
for every 1lb of fish caught, up to 5lb of other marine species are pulled out with them unintentionally. These are then discarded.
By the year 2048 we could see “fishless oceans”.
1/3 of the planet has become desert, with animal agriculture as the leading cause. Nearly half the land in the U.S. is devoted to animal agriculture.
However only 1.5 acres of land can produce 37,0000lbs of plant based food compared to only 375lbs of meat.
Another point worth mentioning is water consumption, as in a whopping
477 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of eggs.
896 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of cheese.
1000 gallons of water are required to produce only one gallon of milk.
5% of water used in the U.S. is by individual homes and 55% is used for animal agriculture. That’s 33% of all the water in the world.
By eating no beef, eggs, cheese or milk (excluding other animal products) you’d save 222,345 gallons of water per year. (source)
So what, are you saying I should go vegan?
No. Not if you don’t want to. I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their lives, only to give information. What you do with it is your choice.
Even by cutting down your meat, egg and dairy intake a tiny amount, such as by participating in “Meatless Monday” will make a massive difference in terms of the environment. Choosing the vegan option rather than a quarter pounder one time will save 625 gallons of water (2500 gallons per pound).
YOU can stop global warming in it’s tracks NOW by cutting down your animal product intake. YOU can save our future.
Also you may be interested to find that vegan diets on average are actually cheaper than omnivorous ones! If you’re interested in trying out some recipes then I’d definitely recommend this blog but you’ll also be able to find plenty more online!
Please keep in mind that I’m not trying to say anyone’s a “bad person” for their dietary choices. I just want to be able to spread information since I wish I’d known sooner.
Thank you for reading and please signal boost! Have a nice day.