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Meat and the Environment

Would you ever open your refrigerator, pull out 16 plates of pasta, toss 15 in the trash, and then eat just one plate of food? How about leveling 55 square feet of rain forest for a single meal or dumping 2,400 gallons of water down the drain? Of course you wouldn’t. But if you’re eating chickens, fish, turkeyspigscows, milk, or eggs, that’s what you’re doing—wasting resources and destroying our environment.

A recent United Nations report concluded that a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change. And the U.N. is not alone in its analysis. A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute. Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from a standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against climate change than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid. And a German study conducted in 2008 concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than seven times as much greenhouse-gas emissions as a vegan’s diet is. The verdict is in: If you care about the environment, one of the single most effective things that you can do to save it is to adopt a vegan diet.

Many leading environmental organizations, including the National Audubon Society, the Worldwatch Institute, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and even Al Gore’s Live Earth—have recognized that raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else that we do. Whether it’s the overuse of resources, global warming, massive water or air pollution, or soil erosion, raising animals for food is wreaking havoc on the Earth.

The most important step you can take to save the planet is to go vegetarian. Order PETA’s free vegetarian/vegan starter kit for tips and recipes to get you started on an Earth-friendly vegan diet today.

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