How going Vegan can help save the world..

How by going Vegan we can help to save the world…

 

Today our planet is undergoing a variety of challenges.

One is global warming, another is population growth.

 

So why is global warming a problem and how can going vegan help?!

Global warming is the term for human induced climate change. Yes the climate varies on a natural scale, with or without human involvement.

However, there is a wide range of evidence to suggest that humans, through increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere have contributed to increasing the rate of the natural temperature increase. See this graph.

 

What is a greenhouse gas?

A greenhouse gas is a gas which traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Even water vapour is a greenhouse gas. The greenhouse gas we most commonly hear about is carbon dioxide, or CO2. But did you know that according to scientific research, methane is over twenty times more potent as a heat trapping gas than carbon dioxide.

 

And what has methane got to do with humans and veganism? 

Well putting it politely, we expel methane as a gas, and so do cows… all of this gas is trapping heat in our atmosphere.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that farmed livestock is responsible for around 15% of man made greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recommended poeple to reduce their meat consumption in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By going vegan we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and help to minimise the impacts of global warming. Of course going vegan isn’t the only thing you can do, but it is a single change that can have a huge impact.

 

And why does this matter?

If the Himalayan glaciers melt this could cause catastrophic flooding in India and China. It will also affect future supplies of freshwater.

Melting of land ice will result in an increase in global sea level rise which will cause the flooding of low lying coastal areas, potentially affecting hundreds of millions of people. Miami, New York, Osaka, Alexandria, Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai are all likely to be affected by flooding if the sea level rises.

According to NASA, the warming of the oceans by just 2 degrees celcius will cause coral bleaching which will destroy coral reefs, and consequently affect marine eco-systems and food chains.

If sea and land ice melts, global warming will rapidly accelerate. Currently the Earth is somewhat cooled by the albedo effect- ice reflects 90% of solar radiation. Without the presence of ice, more solar radiation will be absorbed and consequently the Earth will heat even faster.

 

Other key impacts:

  • Species such as the polar bear will become extinct due to habitat loss.
  • There will be more frequent wildfires.
  • Periods of drought will increase and occur more often.
  • Hurricanes will increase in intensity, duration and frequency.

 

Donald Trump may be in denial about global warming, all the more reason that we as citizens of our Planet need to do something about it…

 

 

 

 

So on to the second issue… overpopulation.

The world’s population has increased dramatically over the last one hundred years and it is predicted to increase even further to 11 billion by 2100!

It took hundreds of thousands of years for the Earth’s population to gradually reach one billion which was achieved in 1804.

Due to advancements in medical care in the late 1800s, the widespread use of vaccinations, improved sanitation and wider availability of access to clean drinking water, this all combined to result in a decrease in the death rate, and an increase in longevity. In other words, more people were staying alive and living longer.

This led to a population explosion, and by 2017 the Earth’s population reached a whopping 7.6 billion people!

 

Why is this a problem?

Well more people means a higher demand for resources, including freshwater, food and land.

But the Earth’s resources are limited…

The United Nations urges a global shift towards a vegan diet, because if the population continues to grow, relying heavily on meat and dairy is not sustainable.

“Livestock matters because it is the biggest land user in the world. More land is given over to grazing animals than for any other single purpose. About a third of the world’s crops are fed to animals, and they use a third of all available fresh water.” The Economist. Article ‘Feast & Famine, 2013. J.L.P.

Our current demand for beef, is the primary reason for land clearing in the Amazon rainforest. By clearing land for cattle grazing we are also depleting the Earth of one of its key resources for oxygen AND removing one of the stores of carbon dioxide, meaning more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere resulting in increased global warming. Not to mention the loss of animal habitats through the removal of trees.

Freshwater is also a key natural resource and already limited in many parts of the world. It is estimated that it takes over 15,000 litres of water to produce a kilo of beef. Yup those cows drink and eat a lot! Therefore by cutting out the beef, and just eating the crops directly, you are saving thousands of gallons of water.

 

By going vegan you will reduce freshwater consumption, reduce the amount of grain eaten (by the cow/chicken), reduce land required for farming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!

 

So this is how going vegan will help to reduce the demand on Earth’s resources and reduce the impact of global warming!

 

 

Further reading:

 

World population:

https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-growth/

http://www.prb.org/Publications/Lesson-Plans/HumanPopulation/PopulationGrowth.aspx

 

Causes and evidence for human induced climate change aka global warming:

https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

https://www.livescience.com/39998-ipcc-climate-change-report.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-causes/

https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/spms2.html

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2458/why-a-half-degree-temperature-rise-is-a-big-deal/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/29/methane-emissions-cattle-11-percent-higher-than-estimated

 

Impacts of global warming:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-effects/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11089-the-impacts-of-rising-global-temperatures/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/18/sea-level-rise-double-coastal-flood-risk-worldwide

Guardian article – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/02/rapid-carbon-emission-cuts-severe-impact-climate-change-ipcc-report

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/

 

Sustainable living:

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

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/08/opinions/go-vegan-save-the-planet-wang/index.html

 

Amazon rainforest and deforestation:

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/amazon-deforestation-and-climate-change/

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/03/amazon-rainforest-ability-soak-carbon-dioxide-falling

https://www.carbonbrief.org/amazon-rainforest-is-taking-up-a-third-less-carbon-than-a-decade-ago

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About The Author

Dubai Dreamer

Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.

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