Earth to Belle: Why I’m Vegan (Part II)

Belle Zhao

Hey everyone, it’s Belle. So as promised, here is Part II of Why I’m Vegan (you can check out Part I here). If you’d like a refresher of my first few reasons, click here to check out part I. Hope it speaks to you. Now let’s get into it.

3. For the Planet

Okay this is a heavy one. I don’t even know where to start with this one because there is way too much for me to cover. But here goes nothing…

According to the Worldwatch Institute, a shocking 51% of greenhouse gases come from animal agriculture. And in a year, humans will actually eat at least 230 tonnes, or 507,063 pounds of meat. That means each steak you eat comes with a lot more backlash than you imagine. Raising animals for food actually causes more greenhouse gas emissions than airplanes, cars, and any other form of transportation combined. It requires enormous amounts of petrol and electricity to bring meat to a family’s table. And it takes about 13 times as much fossil fuel to produce half a kilogram of animal protein than to produce half a kilogram of plant protein.


On top of that, did you know it takes 660 gallons of water for a single burger? What happened to all the water we’re supposed to be saving? To put that into perspective, by passing up a burger, you’re saving as much water as if you didn’t shower for two months. A vegan diet requires only 1,100 litres of water per day while a meat-eater’s diet requires 15,100 litres of water a day, almost 14x what’s necessary.

And while we’re on the topic of water, let’s talk rainforests. Did you know 80% of the Amazon Rainforest has been cut down to slaughter cattle? This threatens wildlife for more than one reason. For one, cutting down the rainforest is literally destroying thousands and millions of acres of natural habitat. And two, cattle farming leads directly to livestock grazing, which is conveniently also the number one cause for plant species becoming threatened or going extinct worldwide. Animal agriculture also threatens other major resources like the very air we breathe. People have the tendency of blaming the plummeting air quality on cars, factories, and means of transportation, but people often forget that animal agriculture is actually also a huge contributing factor. The gasses associated with concentrated factory farming and pesticides play a critical role increasing ozone pollution since chicken, pigs, cows, and turkeys are collectively the largest supplier of methane in many countries like the US and Australia. All the while, farm animals also make up ⅔ of manmade ammonia, contributing majorly to acid rain; threatening the health of billions.


To calculate your own vegan impact, click here.


4. For your Health

My parents were taught that meat, dairy, and eggs were essential to a healthy body. When I was growing up, that’s what I was taught too. But since then, I’ve actually re-taught my parents what they thought they knew about health.

Veganism has gained traction in the past few years, and I think this is really a great thing. It’s actually never been easier to be vegan. And although a vegan diet doesn’t necessarily mean a healthy one (if all you do is eat oreos), you definitely are being a lot kinder to the planet and to yourself.
Generally, people eat healthier to improve their life and lifespan. Would you agree? Interestingly enough, when I was researching this, I found that according to the The American Journal of Epidemiology, the top 10 leading causes of death are:

    1. Heart disease
    2. Cancer (malignant neoplasms)
    3. Chronic lower respiratory disease
    4. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
    5. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases)
    6. Alzheimer’s disease
    7. Diabetes (diabetes mellitus)
    8. Influenza and pneumonia
    9. Kidney disease (nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis)
    10. Suicide (intentional self-harm)

What’s shocking about this list is that a shocking nine of the ten listed could be prevented with a vegan diet (the highlighted points). Every single cause listed, except for accidents, is linked directly to diet due to animal products. However unfortunately, I’m no doctor, but I will leave helpful links to actual professionals for broader explanation as to how you may be slowly killing yourself.

“Go vegan. It’s better for your health; it’s better for the environment; and, most importantly, it’s the morally right thing to do.”
– Gary L. Francione

I mean c’mon, how delicious does this look?