Most people care about the environment…at least enough to say they do on a study. And most people have faith that the top environmental agencies in the world are fighting the good fight to remedy the wrongs of humankind, certain that they’re focusing on the core issues with the greatest impact. Well, today we’re going to look at the top issues championed by the environmental agencies and the vast majority of environmentalists and see why they’re wrong. So…very…wrong. Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan and welcome to another vegan nugget, the first of the “everything wrong with” series. Way back in the day I did a video comparing the effectiveness of all the common “go green” tips to eating a vegan diet. That video’s up there if you want to check it out later. Unfortunately it was before I was very rigorous with citing my sources and I haven’t had time to cobble them back together for that post. So today is a bit of a revamp with new numbers, many even more incredible. I’m going to move more quickly in this video than usual but citations for every fact I state and additional information are available on the blog post for this video which linked up there and in the video description.
I will also track any errors that I or anyone else finds in this video there as well. I will also be far more sarcastic in this video but do not mean to say that other environmental issues have no importance. You have been warned. Let’s get the tally of wrongness up [which you’ll see is more of an art than a science] and start the clock after…. Issue One: Climate Change Environmental agencies focus on fossil fuels as the big bad baddy of greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming, suggesting alternative energy, carpooling, hybrid cars, and biking, but animal agriculture accounts for more CO2 per year than all transportation methods combined. A conservative 2006 study by the United Nations Food and Agricultural organization placed animal agriculture at 7,516 metric tons per year or 18% of annual global GHG emissions with a far more thorough 2009 World Watch study taking into account overlooked livestock respiration, land use, methane and other oversights of the FAO, with the ultimate outcome of at least 32,654 million tons of CO2 per year coming from animal agriculture.
That’s 51% of all global emissions compared to the 13% of all combined transportation. And what do the environmental agencies point to: reducing fossil fuel usage. If we completely stopped all use of gas, oil, fuel, electricity, et cetera, and never used them ever again, we would still exceed our carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 565 Gigatons by the year 2030 just with the impact of livestock alone. So not using fossil fuels at all, which would be the wet dream of every environmental agency, we’re still gassing out the planet with the one contributor, the main contributor, which they refuse to even address. In a similar vein, the focus is always almost exclusively on CO2 but methane is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 and has 86 times the global warming power. If we do reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere as all the organizations are calling for, it will take around 100 years to see an actual decline, whereas reducing methane shows results almost immediately with significant results within decades. So the proposed solutions are even farther from the mark than the actual constructive change.
Additionally, livestock is responsible for 65% of all emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 296 x more destructive than carbon dioxide and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. Put in comparative terms, your average car produces 3-12 kg/day of CO2. but to clear rainforest to produce beef for one hamburger produces 75 kg of CO2. Eating one pound of hamburger does the same damage as driving your car for more than three weeks. But is animal agriculture ever mentioned by any of the top environmental organizations or environmentalists in relation to global warming? No. They focus on alternative energy when converting to wind and solar power will take 20+ years and roughly 43 trillion dollars, and going vegan takes seconds and can be even cheaper than being non-vegan. Issue Two: Water Conservation Environmental protection agencies recommend to use less water, take shorter showers, use a low flow shower head. Now here is where you’ll find the greatest variation from my original calculations based on a 5 gallon per minute shower head.
This time around I found that the typical shower head after 1980 emits 2.5 gallons/minute with the low flow emitting no more than 2gpm. If you take daily 15 minute showers with a low-flow shower head you’ll be saving 2,737.5 gallons per year. If, instead, you forgo one pound of beef one time, you’ll save 2,500 gallons of water for ONE POUND OF BEEF. That is a conservative number as figures range all the way to over 8,000 gallons of water for one pound of beef. 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs; almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese. and 1,000 gallons or liters of water are required to produce 1 gallon or liter of milk. Environmental agencies focus almost exclusively on curbing home water usage, but only 5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes, while 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture, and 20-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today. That’s up to a third of the planets water for animal agriculture.
If you didn’t consume beef, eggs, milk, or cheese, not even counting other meats or other dairy items, based on American consumption habits from 2000 and the conservative figures of water per pound, you’d save 222,345 gallons of water that year. But the environmental agencies prefer saving 1,825-2,737.5 gallons a year by using a low flow shower-head. Oh and the little trendy Greek Yogurts out there? 90 gallons of water for a 6 oz. serving. And one stick of butter takes 109 gallons. If we added all forms of dairy and meat for the average American in 2000, which is less dairy and more meat than the data I had for my first video, and use a very conservative average of 1,500 gallons per pound for the remaining meat as each type varies and even more conservative 600 gallons for the remaining dairy, a vegan year would save approximately 724,925 gallons. Not only does that blow every water conservation recommendation out of the water, but with the new calculations, forget what I’ve said before about not showering.
You would have to not shower AT ALL for over 66 years if you took daily 15 minute showers or close to 100 years if you took daily 10 minute showers, both with a water saving shower head. And the advice of the supposed environmental champions: shower less, turn off the water while soaping your hands, run your sprinklers at night. Because that’s how we’re going to change the world. Issue Three: Fracking, no I did not curse… Fracking is the new golden child of environmentalists and their leading organizations. Fracking is destroying the planet! It’s polluting the waters. In the United States alone, fracking uses from 70-140 billion gallons of water. Keep in mind for the big numbers that a thousand seconds is 17 minutes, a million seconds is 12 days, a billion seconds is 31.7 years, and a trillion seconds is 31,709.
8 years. In the United States alone, animal agriculture uses from 34-76 trillion gallons annually. Taking into account the exponential difference between a billion and a trillion, animal agriculture in the United States consumes anywhere from 486 to over a 1,000 times more water than fracking, the largest threat to water according to environmentalists. Issue Four: Ocean Dead Zones and Over-Fishing Some of the worst human-created devastation is in our oceans. 3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited. 90 million tons of fish are pulled from our oceans each year. For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill. We could see fishless oceans by 2048. And what’s the suggestion of the major ocean protection organizations? Sustainable fishing. There’s no way to make 100 million tons of fish by 2050 sustainable, especially given the 5 pounds of by catch for every one pound of fish. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of ocean dead zones with livestock operations on land having created more than 500 nitrogen-flooded dead zones around the world in our oceans.
Issue Five: Waste Management Environmental agencies focus on industrial waste and the sanitation of human waste while a farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people and it is entirely untreated. In fact, every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US alone. This doesn’t include animals raised outside of USDA jurisdiction or in backyards, or the billions of fish raised in aquaculture settings in the US and it all has no proper management system leading to ground water and ocean pollution. Perhaps they don’t want to address the fecal issue because they themselves are full of…moving on. Issue Six: Species Extinction 10,000 years ago 99% of the biomass (i.e. zoo-mass) was wild animals, today, humans and the animals that we raise as food make up 98% of the zoo-mass, with wild animals comprising only 2%. Up to 137 plant, animal, and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction, the leading cause of which, as we shall see, is animal agriculture. We are currently facing the largest mass extinction in 65 million years. The Alliance for Global Conservation estimates 36 percent of all species on our planet are in danger of extinction.
And what are the major species protection organizations recommending? Wildlife rehabilitation and conservation, fighting poaching, and breeding programs. Way to throw a bandaid on an open artery. I’m sure it will hold. Issue Seven: Habitat Destruction, Land Usage & Deforestation A third of the planet is desertified, with livestock as the leading cause. Nearly half of the contiguous United States is devoted to animal agriculture. 1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food and only 375 pounds of meat. The land required to feed 1 vegan for 1 year is 1/6th of an acre. It is 3x as much for a vegetarian and 18x as much for a meat-eater. You can grow 15x more protein on any given area of land with plants, rather than animals. 136 million rainforest acres have been cleared for animal agriculture with 1-2 acres of rainforest being cleared every second.
In fact animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction. A single quarter pounder burger takes 55 square feet of rainforest to produce. But what do the major rainforest protection agencies focus on primarily? Palm oil and pulp production. Now for the Too Long Didn’t Watch version: Animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming, uses a third of the earth’s fresh water, up to 45% of the Earth’s land, is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction with 1-2 acres being cleared every second, and is a leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, and habitat destruction. Environmental agencies not only do not focus on animal agriculture, the absolute most devastating and pervasive single cause of multi-dimensional environmental destruction, but they actually refuse to even acknowledge it. And individual environmentalists, by and large, perhaps as a consequence or by their own social indoctrination, aren’t even aware of this issue despite devoting themselves to championing the environment.
For the wrap up: The ACTUAL problem is animal agriculture and the ACTUAL solution is a vegan diet. A person who follows a vegan diet PRODUCES the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-lover for their food, and every day saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square ft. of forested land, 20 lbs of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life. Given all of these facts, it’s abundantly clear that veganism is THE ONLY answer to the environmental crisis and the environmental organizations collective failure to recognize this fact leaves them with a wrongness tally total of: qualifying them for an ultimate score of More Full of Fecal Matter Than the 7 Million Tons Produced Every Second By Farm Animals in the United States! It’s time to get real.
You cannot be an environmentalist and a non-vegan. It’s now beyond “personal choice” and allowing everyone their dietary preference. The earth cannot sustain the way that we eat. It is a fact and it’s fast approaching critical mass. At this point there is no reason to keep eating animals other than the purely selfish reason of not wanting to change our habits. If we want our children to have a world to live on, we have to stop being so childish ourselves regarding our diets and cut out the crap. I hope you enjoyed this fact-riddled nugget. Please share it around to wake people up to the importance of this issue and feel free to tag any of the major environmental agencies when you share. The time it took to produce this video clocks in at about [68 hours] If you'd like to help support Bite Size Vegan so I can keep putting in the long hours to bring you this educational resource, please check out the support links in the video description below where you can give a one-time donation or receive perks and rewards for your support by joining the Nugget Army- the link for that is also in the iCard sidebar. If you enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and if you’re new here, be sure to hit that big red subscribe button down there for more awesome vegan content every Monday, Wednesday, and some Fridays, and to not miss out on the rest of the “Everything Wrong With" series.
And hey, check out some of the related videos while you’re here for more information. And remember, citations for everything I talked about are in the blog post for this video which is linked up below and in the sidebar. Now go live vegan, save the world, and I’ll see you soon. Man, I feel like I was at an auction. You know…55!…45!…blahlala!….2 dollars! I should just keep doing this. Subtitles by the Amara.org community.