Mind Over Meat

Alex Petrides
3 min readOct 25, 2015

Meat can be delicious, but our unsustainable indulgence is the number one cause of climate change.

I’ve always accepted that animals live and die in bad conditions.

Each year, 8 billion land animals are packaged up for their meat in the US alone. Practically speaking, that can’t be done humanely. The US is only 5% of our global population, so we haven’t got a chance at scaling the process ethically, but I have been able to turn a blind eye to that. Meat is too delicious for that to bother me… and I’m Greek.

I’ve equally switched off to environmental warriors.

I will replace my light bulbs but can’t foresee myself timing each shower, switching off dormant appliances or anxiously managing my personal footprint. Its way too much effort and I don’t believe that my small contribution has any real impact. Its terrible, but I respect those that try in a “good on you”, “good luck, mate” kind of way.

Realistically, I know that the environment is a mess.

The rainforests are disappearing, the ice caps are melting, and respected groups of scientists are talking about uninhabitable temperature rises, while others predicting a “mini ice age.” The climate is more turbulent than ever and Britain’s supermarkets have just put a 5p tax on plastic bags. Winner.

More than 60 billion land animals are required per year to supply the demands of 6 billion people for meat and leather.

My mindset has changed drastically over the last few weeks. I’m going to skip the moral side and focus on the logic. Here are some facts that encouraged me to see things differently:

SPACE

  1. 1.5 acres can produce 37000 pounds of plant-based food or 375 pounds of meat.
  2. 91% of deforestation is caused by raising livestock and growing feed for livestock. Deforestation causes extinction of species, desertification and the loss of the rain forests, our world’s lungs; an acre is cleared every second.
  3. There will be 2bn more people on our planet by 2050 and demand for meat is still in growth. There is not enough land to meet these expectations.

WATER

  1. A cow eats around 145 pounds of feed per day and drinks 35 gallons of water.
  2. That means, 1 normal hamburger requires 660 gallons of water. Equivalent to 2 months worth of showering.
  3. Domestic water use (taps, hoses etc.) accounts for around 5% of our personal water consumption; 55% is eating meat.

GREENHOUSE GASES

  1. WorldWatch reported that, directly and indirectly, animal agriculture produces 51% of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. The UN says its closer to 20%.
  2. Cows produce 130x more waste than the whole human population.
  3. Animal agriculture produces 65% of the worlds nitrous oxide, a gas with global warming potential 296% greater than CO2.

More than 60 billion land animals are required per year to supply the demands of 6 billion people for meat and leather.

Farming those animals requires 38 % of all ice-free land, 70% of the world’s freshwater consumption, and emits between 20 and 51% of all greenhouse gases.

Logic suggests that there is no way to raise enough livestock to feed the world’s demand; there isn’t enough land and our environment can’t handle it.

We owe it to future generations to change our habits and at the very least, move towards a more plant-based diet.

#Mindovermeat

Stuff I’m excited about:

Places to learn more:

http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf

https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/activity-healthy-body

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/18/vegetarianism-save-planet-environment

Cowspiracy on Netflix or www.cowspiracy.com/facts

“Absolutionism isn’t necessary but change to habit is” http://m.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/05/1361523/-Cowspiracy-The-Building-Blocks-of-an-Absolutist-Position

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