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Environmental Veganism

최종 수정일: 2023년 12월 21일


By: Seoyoon Jin


As the environment worsens, we, as the current generation, are entrusted to save it. Most people take responsibility through small actions such as recycling, composting, and using less plastic. However, environmentalists from all around the world, who lack opportunities, power, and resources, feel as if those actions are not sufficient. So, If you are also one who hopes for the protection of the environment, here is another way to help.


Environmental Vegetarianism. Or just simply put, being a vegetarian. Breeding, feeding, and transporting all sorts of meat has a large negative impact on our planet. Negative impacts of the Meat and Fishing Industry include the release of a tremendous amount of carbon emissions, loss of water, food, land, and trees, and pollution of the oceans.


We humans have bred livestock tremendously. As a result, their populations have also exceeded the sustainable amount. According to Our World in Data, a chart shows that the population of chickens has increased by 8.34 billion in about 14 years. There are currently 21 billion chickens on the earth. That is almost 3 times as much as the current human population. And here we thought humans were overpopulated! As a result of this overpopulation, much more water and resources are needed to care for these animals -as well as the plants that are needed to feed the animals. In fact, according to downtoearth.org, it takes about 13,000 to 100,000 liters of water to produce 1kg of beef. To put this into perspective, to produce 1kg of wheat, only 1000 liters of water is used. The resources used to care for an animal are much greater than the resources used to grow crops.


Additionally, the meat industry emits many carbon emissions that are harmful to our planet. The transportation required to transfer animals from a farm to a slaughterhouse, the machinery required to process the meat, and their mere burping contribute to climate change. Clean Water Action states, “Livestock emit methane (burps) during digestion.” Though you may think that is silly, It is a huge amount of methane, considering the billions of livestock in the world. Additionally, fertilizer used to create food for the animals releases emissions such as methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide. These emissions contribute to climate change.


A study done in the UK for 20 years shows, that vegans had only 25% of the damage that meat-eaters had on the planet in terms of emission of greenhouse gases. Additionally, vegans and vegetarians had much lower impacts of land use, water use, pollution, and biodiversity; compared to meat-eaters.


And it does not just stop there. The fishing industry is responsible for most of the damage to the ocean floor, pollution, and loss of marine biodiversity. We are all very familiar with plastics and debris floating around all over our oceans. We’d be surprised to know that out of all that marine debris, fishing nets cover 46% of it. Sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and other marine life get stuck into these and suffer because of it. Not only does fishing create junk and pollution in our oceans, but it also absolutely destroys marine ecosystems. While there are many safe un-harmful fishing methods, the most effective yet harmful is dredging and bottom trawling. Because these methods are effective, the fishing industry tends to use them because it saves them time and money. Dredging is a method in which a large, heavy fishing net is pulled across the ocean floor for many yards. This destroys coral, many marine species, and the whole general ecosystem. Not to mention overfishing and bycatch. According to Vegetarian Society, 85% of fisheries are exploited and overfished. This causes a major problem for our oceans and our planet.


All of these environmentally harming aspects are from the meat and fishing industry. If we buy meat, we are also supporting harming the environment. Becoming a vegetarian or even a vegan will lessen our impact on our planet.


It may be difficult to change your ingrained eating habits, but it is a way to help and conserve our only home. As Professor Peter Scarborough, from Oxford University, states, “Our dietary choices have a big impact on the planet.”


Works Cited

Carrington, Damian. "Vegan diet massively cuts environmental damage, study shows." The Guardian, © 2023 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies., 20 July 2023, www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jul/20/vegan-diet-cuts-environmental-damage-climate-heating-emissions-study.

Clark, Micheal, and Keren Papier. "Vegan diet has just 30% of the environmental impact of a high-meat diet, major study finds." The Conversation, © 2010–2023, The Conversation, 21 July 2023, theconversation.com/vegan-diet-has-just-30-of-the-environmental-impact-of-a-high-meat-diet-major-study-finds-210152. Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.

Clean Water Action. "The Meat Industry – Environmental Issues & Solutions." Clean Water Action, © 2023 Clean Water Action, cleanwater.org/meat-industry-environmental-issues-solutions#:~:text=As%20the%20manure%20decomposes%20it,and%20transportation%20of%20the%20animals.

Down To Earth. "Top 10 Reasons Why It's Green to Go Veggie." Down to Earth, www.downtoearth.org/go-veggie/environment/top-10-reasons.

Dumped Fishing Gear Is The Biggest Plastic Polluter In The Ocean. Intelligent Living, ©2023 - Intelligent Living Media Ltd., www.intelligentliving.co/fishing-gear-biggest-plastic-polluter-ocean/. Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.

The Editors of E. Plastic Items Being Sorted at a Recycling Centre. Encyclopædia Britannica, www.britannica.com/science/recycling#/media/1/493996/136506. Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.

Huguen, Phillipe. Slaughterhouse stunning processes and transportation of live animals were among the issues identified in the report. The Guardian, © 2023 Guardian News & Media Limited, www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/14/farm-animal-abuses-widespread-across-europe-warn-auditors. Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.

Our World In Data. "Livestock counts, World, 1890 to 2014." Our World in Data, ourworldindata.org/grapher/livestock-counts. Chart.

Sustain. "Environmental Impacts." Sustain, © Sustain 2023, www.sustainweb.org/goodcatch/environmental_impacts/#:~:text=Habitat%20damage,can%20cause%20long%2Dterm%20damage.

UN Policies about Environment and their Impact. Lumina Homes, © Lumina Homes, www.lumina.com.ph/news-and-blogs/blogs/un-policies-about-environment-and-their-impact/. Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.

Vegetarian Society. "Eat to Beat Climate Change." Vegetarian Society, The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited., vegsoc.org/info-hub/why-go-veggie/environment/.

Wikipedia. "Environmental Impact of Fishing." Wikipedia, Wikipedia®, 27 Sept. 2023, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_fishing#:~:text=Recent%20research%20has%20shown%20that,least%2046%25%20of%20the%20debris. Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.


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