Excerpts - How our Diet affects the Environment


Excerpts from Environmental News

Recycling department of IBM, Raleigh, NC

October 20, 1998


We don't think anyone should tell us what to eat - that's too personal. But we do think you should know some facts about how your diet affects the environment.


    Believe it or not, cows may be contributing to the greenhouse effect. According to one estimate, the world's 1.3 billion cows annually produce nearly 100 million tons of methane - a powerful greenhouse gas that, molecule for molecule, traps 25 times as much solar heat as CO2.

    Livestock (Cattle, Calves, Hogs, Pigs etc) production accounts for more than half of all the water consumed (for all purposes) in the USA.

    A third of the surface of North America is devoted to grazing. Half of American croplands grow livestock feed (mostly for cattle) for meat and dairy products.

    220 million acres of land in the USA have been deforested for livestock production.

    25 million acres (an area the size of Austria) in Brazil, and half the forests in Central America, have been cleared for beef production.

    The value of raw materials consumed to produce food from livestock is greater than the value of all oil, gas and coal consumed in America.

    Growing grains, vegetables and fruits uses less than 5% as much raw materials as does meat and dairy production.


According to DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA: If Americans reduced their meat intake by just 10%, the savings in grains and soybeans could adequately feed 60 million people - the number of people who starve to death, worldwide, each year.