We have basically reached our planet’s carrying capacity which is illustrated by the fact that humanity would currently need 1.5 Earths to be sustainable (UNEP, 2012). More specifically, we are consuming so much in one year that it takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate (UNEP, 2012). Furthermore, the majority of studies indicate that the ultimate carrying capacity of the Earth is 8 billion people, which will be attained in a mere 10 years (approximately) (UNEP, 2012). In fact, the United Nations Environment Programme states that “a substantial reduction of (environmental) impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products” (PCRM, 2013).
The most essential and significant way in which humans can sustain on this planet is to eat lower on the food chain. The meat and dairy industries are the highest producers of greenhouse gases even when compared to ALL of the transportation in the world (including freighter boats, trains, trucks, and commuter transport) (Global Environment Outlook 3, 2002; IPCC, n.d.; Robbins, 2011). At our current rate, we are eating ourselves off the planet. Initiatives should be in place to get people to stop consuming animal products by educating the public around the world (especially the U.S.) of the damage it is doing to not only the planet but also their individual health (the current health crisis also contributes to being unsustainable).
Consuming ONE meal that contains animal products is equivalent to consuming approximately 3,000 gallons of water and 16 pounds of grain, whereas a plant-based meal only requires 300 gallons of water for an entire day (Campbell, Esselstyn et al., 2011; IPCC, n.d.; Robbins, 2011; PCRM, 2013)! In addition, animal products are proven to cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic and autoimmune diseases due to cholesterol, saturated fat, and carcinogenic animal proteins which are not present in plant proteins/foods (WPF, n.d.; Robbins, 2011; Campbell, Esselstyn et al., 2011; PCRM, 2013).
The public needs help with rescinding the shroud of animal product marketing from their conscious and realizing that ultimate health for us and the planet is attained through eliminating animal product consumption and thriving on plant foods which contain all essential amino acids and an abundance of cancer fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (WPF, n.d; PCRM, 2013). Initiatives must also be put into place in order to control the marketing of the meat and dairy industries in order to properly educate people that beans and greens should be the focal point of attaining proper protein, calcium, iron, etc. Additionally, cattle and pigs raised for consumption is drastically contaminating fresh water supplies in addition to deforestation for grazing at mind boggling rates (Global Environment Outlook 3, 2002; IPCC, n.d.; Robbins, 2011, PCRM, 2013).
Take it from Einstein that “nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”.
Global Environment Outlook 3 (2002). Earthscan Publications Ltd/London, UK. Retrieved January 13, 2013 from http://www.grida.no/geo/geo3/english/pdfs/synthesis.pdf
Robbins, J. (2011). The Food Revolution. San Francisco: Conari Press
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Reports. Retrieved January 13, 2013 and March 26, 2014 from http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml#.UPN7xfLhfxk
PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) (2013). Eating for the health of you and the Earth. Retrieved from http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/ffl/newsletter/eating-for-the-health-of-you-and-the-earth
T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., et al. (2011). Forks Over Knives. Virgin Films & Entertainment.
UNEP (2012, June). One planet, how many people? A review of Earth’s Carrying Capacity. Retrieved from http://na.unep.net/geas/archive/pdfs/GEAS_Jun_12_Carrying_Capacity.pdf
World Preservation Foundation (WPF) (n.d.) Plant-Based Diets: A solution to our public health crisis. Retrieved from http://www.worldpreservationfoundation.org/Downloads/Plant-Based%20Diets%20-%20A%20solution%20to%20our%20public%20health%20crisis.pdf