We’ve all heard the saying, “killing two birds with one stone,” which means solving two problems with one solution. In my opinion, global warming and world hunger are the two largest problems we face as humans. It is very common to see on the news the effects climate change has produced, the vast number of storms, droughts and fires. Not so much on the news do we see the fight to stop world hunger, even though it is one of the largest problems that many developing nations still face. What we all have to do as humans is to help in the effort to end these problems because they can lead to a mass extinction.
A very big “stone” for these two “birds” would be the idea of veganism. I know most people have heard of this concept in one shape or form. Some people believe that humans are meant to eat animals because we are superior and others believe it is too hard to be able to switch. PETA has been saying for years that veganism can end both climate change and world hunger, and new research supporting these claims makes the fight for veganism a lot stronger. Since we need a quick fix before a mass extinction is in our midst, we would have to convert to veganism very quickly. Our time is running out, so we need to take this leap and put our egos aside to save our planet.
Farming animals for food is a major contributor to climate change; feeding the animals, cutting down forest for the land to raise animals, processing them, transporting their corpses and the amount of methane produced are all concerns. We feed animals a lot of the crops that are produced on farms instead of eating those crops ourselves. The factories that prepare the meat give off a lot of carbon emissions. Even while animals are alive they give off emissions; methane is one of the largest components in climate change, and each time an animals produces feces or flatulates, methane is released into the atmosphere. Each part of the mass production of meat contributes to the global crisis of climate change.
As PETA and the UN Environment Programme have explained for many years, veganism can help fight world hunger, and a 2013 study proves this point. The study from IOPscience claims that direct crop intake for humans could feed an additional 4 billion people. There are countries that produce crops just to sell them to the United States. Rather than feeding their own people these crops and using the land to farm more plants, they send it to the U.S., where we use it to feed our farmed animals. All of these crops feed a mass-produced number of animals, and the animals need a lot more calories than humans. We should all just get our calories from these crops, which would be sufficient.
Even the water we drink is used for farm animals, and a lot of drinking water, rivers and lakes are contaminated by the manure these animals produce. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that the number one source of waterway pollution is agriculture run-off. This means that all the manure produced by animals flows into these natural, clean waterways and pollutes them with chemicals. (The chemicals end up in the feces after the animals get pumped with so many different types of steroids and other drugs that end up in the water.)
Now if all we must do is change the way we eat to solve the worst problems in humanity, why has it not already been done? People can be very stubborn. A lot of my friends say they need meat, that it tastes so good and they cannot give it up or that they just would not know where to start. Even the disbursement of food can be an issue in this situation, so how can that change with veganism? The less land we are using for animal farms and factory farms, we can use for growing crops. All the land we use now for animals can be used to grow crops. Then countries can grow their own food source, and the world can become sustainable.
I believe we as humans need to take this leap. We just have to start doing it so that we can see a better future for our children’s children. If a mass extinction or people going to bed hungry every night cannot be a motivation, then there is something wrong with our priorities. If we choose veganism as a lifestyle, we can become a cleaner, more peaceful society.
By Dylan Bottillo-Hesselton is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org