Final Paper

Posted on December 6, 2013 by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

The Environmental Impacts of Being Vegetarian

Shannon Donahue, Austin Brooks & Amber Graham

Veggie Tales

Environmental Science 162-10

Dr. Baldwin

Fall 2013

  Abstract

It is important to make sure as human beings that we get enough protein in our diets and while meat is the number one source of protein in most diets we have found through our research that is it actually not very healthy for the human body, and if you are vegetarian you will most likely suffer less health complications and live an average of ten years longer. This paper illustrates the reasons in which being a vegetarian is more environmentally friendly than being an omnivore or even worse a carnivore. The reason that is it more environmentally friendly to be vegetarian is in a large part due to the beef industry. The beef industry contributes to a lot of greenhouse gas emissions as well as occupies a lot of land that could be used to grow other things. We also found through our research that in the United States nearly 70% of the grain grown is fed to farmed animals, if the world converted to a vegetarian lifestyle we could end the world hunger epidemic. This is one great reason everyone should convert their lifestyle to a vegetarian diet and while it is not realistic to imagine everyone to change their diet there are other ways that individuals can become more environmentally friendly such as participating in meatless Mondays. This paper will outline the many reasons it is more environmentally friendly to be a vegetarian as well as steps that individuals can take in their lives to be more environmentally friendly.

The Environmental Impacts of Being Vegetarian

Introduction

            Have you ever wondered if it is more environmentally friendly to be a vegetarian rather than an omnivore or carnivore? This is something that is often overlooked in our society today. Many people chose to live a vegetarian lifestyle for moral, religious issues or health reasons but there are few who chose to be vegetarian based off of the environmental impact. Most people do not realize the environmental impact that the meat industry has on planet Earth. The meat industry accounts for the second largest factor in the environmental impact of the earth today and this is something that should not go overlooked any longer. This is something that is reversible though and there is a lot that the human race can do to help the environmental impacts that the meat industry has on our planet.

Literature Review

As a group, we researched vegetarianism, and found information which proved our hypothesis that being vegetarian is a more environmentally friendly option. But what are the environmental aspects of this lifestyle? One of the largest environmental problems in our nation is that of carbon emissions. “A U.N. report from just this past November found that a full 18 percent of global warming emissions come from raising chickens, turkeys, pigs, and other animals for food. That’s about 40 percent more than all the cars, trucks, airplanes, and all other forms of transport combined (13 percent). It’s also more than all the homes and offices in the world put together (8 percent)” (alternet.org) On a larger scale, “A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.” (Peta.org)

In fact, a large majority of the problems in the environment are related to animal byproducts and meat consumption. “According to the United Nations, raising animals for food is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” (Peta.org) Livestock farming produces huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. One study estimated that the farming of animals caused more emissions (18%) than the world’s entire transport system (13.5%).” (vegsource.org.)

However, cutting out, or even just down on meat consumption from your diet does not just help with lowering carbon emissions, it also helps with other environmental problems we often overlook. “According to Adria Vasil, author of Ecoholic: When You’re Addicted to the Planet , eating 20 percent less meat is the equivalent of switching from a sedan to a Prius. The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom adds that going vegetarian “is one of the easiest ways to lessen your environmental impact,” because it reduces your carbon footprint, saves water, and saves land.” (chasinggreen.org) Other environmental problems include Methane and Ammonia emissions into the Earth’s surface, and the air. Methane-emitting livestock contribute massively to the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ and global warming, and then Ammonia from animal waste and agricultural fertilizers contribute to acid rain, which kills aquatic and plant life.” (stonyrunfriends.org)

The environment is suffering, and the human race is mostly to blame for it, but it’s not a lost cause yet. From our findings, if we all did our part and gave up even just a portion of our current meat consumption, we could make a huge difference. The carbon, methane, and ammonia emissions from meat byproducts and consumption is eating away at our environment, and it’s our job to do what we can to help, and one of the easiest ways is cutting out, or really just cutting down on meat. Simple enough, right?

Results

            Through our research we found that it is more environmentally friendly to be vegetarian. The meat industry increases the amount of greenhouse and carbon emissions into the environment, uses the majority of land in the United States and uses a lot more water than fruits, grains and vegetables need. In the United States nearly 70% percent of the grain grown is fed to farmed animals and if the world converted to a vegetarian lifestyle the world hunger epidemic would be resolved (“Environment”).

Although, it is a stretch to have hopes that all throughout the world the entire global population would convert to vegetarianism, but it is hopeful that more people will become aware of the issue at stake and have a growing concern for our environment. This is important on a global level instead of individual countries or nations; it will take the world working together. The goal is to raise awareness of the issue; because once awareness is raised people will become conscious of what is actually going on and even if they do not chose to convert to a vegetarian lifestyle the human race can decrease their consumption of meat in their diets and this will have a negative feedback on the environment and this will also allow for the world to prolong reaching their carrying capacity.

Conclusion

            In conclusion to this project we not only discovered that it is more environmentally friendly to live a vegetarian lifestyle but we also learned why. Many people do not realize the carbon emissions that are emitted into the atmosphere from the meat industry.  Also, there are many greenhouse gases that society should be aware of and methane is one of the higher risk greenhouse gases and this occurs naturally in cattle digestion, so the more beef people eat the more methane that will be emitted into the environment. We hope that future generations will become more aware of this issue and that education of this will be implemented into classrooms, so the human race can change their race to eat as much meat as possible, because there are many other food options and ways to get the amount of protein needed in our diets.

Works Cited

“Frequently Asked Questions.” Environmental Working Group. EWG Headquarters, n.d. Web. 2 Dec 2013. <http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/frequently-asked-questions/>.

“Environment.” Choose Veg. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec 2013. http://www.chooseveg.com/environment.

Bibliography:

“Fight Global Warming by Going Vegetarian.”

PETA. N.p., n.d. Web.

Going Vegetarian Is One of the Easiest Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact

.N.p., n.d. Web.

Freston, Kathy. Eating Vegetarian Is Taking Global Warming Personally. ENVIRONMENT

Huffington Post   /, n.d. Web

Why a Vegetarian Diet Is Better For the Environment. Baltimore Monthly Meeting of Friends,

n.d. Web.

Why Going Vegetarian Is Good for the Environment. N.p., 11

June 2011. Web.

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Tales Abstract

Posted on November 7, 2013 by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

It is important to make sure as human beings that we get enough protein in our diets and while meat is the number source of protein in most diets we have found through our research that is it actually not very healthy for the human body, and if you are vegetarian you will most likely suffer less health complications and live an average of ten years longer. This paper illustrates the reasons in which being a vegetarian is more environmentally friendly than being an omnivore or even worse a carnivore. The reason that is it more environmentally friendly to be vegetarian is in a large part due to the beef industry. The beef industry contributes to a lot of greenhouse gas emissions as well as occupies a lot of land that could be used to grow other things. We also found through our research that in the United States nearly 70% of the grain grown is fed to farmed animals, if the world converted to a vegetarian lifestyle we could end the world hunger epidemic. This is one great reason everyone should convert their lifestyle to a vegetarian diet and while it is not realistic to imagine everyone to change their diet there are other ways that individuals can become more environmentally friendly such as participating in meatless Mondays. This paper will outline the many reasons it is more environmentally friendly to be a vegetarian as well as steps that individuals can take in their lives to be more environmentally friendly.

Go Meatless on Monday

Posted on October 24, 2013 by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Now since the two week period of me (and my group members Austin and Amber) living as a vegetarian has ended I have of course come back to what I consider my “normal” diet. When I started this venture I honestly didn’t know the struggles of not eating meat. It’s a very hard change to make on a personal and mental level if you are use to eating meat everyday.(I forreal could eat chicken every day) I have recently found a very nice website called http://www.meatlessmonday.com/ and they include recipes, tips on making vegetarian and vegan dishes, the start of “Meatless Mondays”, and the overall benefits to making sure that you CAN have at least one day a week without meat. So I am very proud to say that for two weeks now I have been celebrating Meatless Monday’s!

Originally when reading through the “about us” portion of the website it showed Meatless Monday’s as an effort to help during World War 1. Now if you read farther into the facts, they also had a Wheatless Wednesday……thank God that didn’t stick, I love me some bread!! But surprisingly more than 13 million families pledged to live meatless on Monday and wheatless on Wednesday during this time period. By doing this just for one week New York City Hotels saved something like 116 TONS of meat!!!! That’s more than some countries in Africa eat in an entire year!!! Of course they kept this campaign going on through World War 2 efforts and it is still a relative practice today. So I urge others to try to go a couple weeks without meat on Monday’s. You might be surprised at how much meat you save by just cutting back once a week……

We Know How to Save the PLANET!

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

The answer is by going vegetarian!  By going vegetarian we can help prevent global warming, rainforest destruction, and pollution while saving water!!

Just a few facts:

  • Nearly 80% of land deforested in the Amazon is now used as cattle pastures
  • Switching to a diet free of meat, dairy and eggs saves 50% more carbon emissions than driving a Prius
  • To produce one pound of animal protein versus one pound of soy protein it takes about 12 times as much land, 13 times as much fossil fuels and 15 times as much water!
  • In the US nearly 70% of the grain grown is fed to farmed animals, if the world converted to a vegetarian lifestyle we could end the world hunger epidemic!
  • Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes,and other forms of transportation combined!

 

~ the Veggie Tales

 

 

 

Did You Know?

Posted on September 29, 2013 by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Roughly 20 million Americans are vegetarians, from partial vegetarians who limit the amount of animal flesh they eat, to vegans, who eat only plant foods—no meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, or eggs. That fact alone is crazy to think about when you think of the other millions who eat meat on a regular basis or those who eat meat to an excess. It was found that those who consumed larger (and more than occasional) portions of red meat “were less physically active and more likely to smoke and had a higher body mass index (BMI).”  In fact, it was determined that daily increase of three ounces of red meat “was associated with a 12 percent greater risk of dying…including a 16 percent greater risk of cardiovascular death and a 10 percent greater risk of (death by cancer).” So look to decrease your intake of red meat knowing this information. Just as always said, anything is bad in excess…….so limit yourself!

Fact of the Day

Posted on September 16, 2013 by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Fun Fact of the Day: Several studies show that a plant-based diet increases the body’s metabolism, causing the body to burn calories up to 16% faster than the body would on a meat-based diet for at least the first 3 hours after meals. THAT’S CRAYYYYY!!!! And I looked up the other day that even though our bodies can digest meat, our bodies are actually designed to be herbivores. It may sound fake but scientists believe it because our teeth resemble those of a herbivore more than they do of carnivorous eaters.

Beans, Beans…….No Good

Posted on September 15, 2013 by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

When I started this voyage of eating as a vegetarian, I knew it would be hard but this past weekend was probably my worst weekend in a while. I was getting severe stomach pains Saturday morning after eating and I went to the hospital and was treated for an inflamed gallbladder. Just a little background: I have been eating beans almost everyday to keep my protein levels at a normal rate, and this weekend I realized how high in fat some beans can be. Apparently too many fatty food items were in my choices as a vegetarian, so I definitely learned a big lesson. After talking to the ER doctor about my recent change in diet, he advised I stick to “low fat” bean choices. To think, I was just scared of passing out…..I should have been scared of gallbladder problems!

Hello world!

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Welcome to Longwood Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Living as a Vegetarian

Posted on by Shannon Donahue.
Categories: Uncategorized.

I started living as a vegetarian on Monday with my two group members Austin and Amber. So far I have learned a lot about the choices I make about the food I eat as an individual and how hard it is to be on a university campus and make vegetarian choices. Going into the dining hall today literally made me cringe because I feel like I can NEVER find multiple things that would satisfy this diet choice. I’ve never been a huge eater of beans or peanuts but in order to keep my protein levels up, I have started to eat those food items a lot. Strange Fact of the Day: Jell-O has meat in it, actually most gelatin does! Can you say nasty?!?!