The last couple hundreds years have taken a toll on the planet. Mankind’s search for himself has transformed his relationship with the planet to a relationship with his Ego. The battle for power, control and money has led to poverty, depression, death, chaos, sadness and a planet that is dying. All we need is to do is look outside our window to see that the green, pure Earth that once was will be no longer if we do not change our attitudes.
Can we not see how alive the earth is? That just like us her waterways are her veins; her inner core is her heart; her fertile soil is her skin; that every root underneath our feet is connected like a network.
Free flowing rivers have been blocked by damns, blocking the life force of water to irrigate our crops turning our lands into deserts. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of fish that travel the waterways contributing to the maintenance of them.
Entire forests have been eradicated, killing off the very species that help to create it. Now skyscrapers and parking lots stand where once mighty Oaks lived.
Chemicals fall from the skies killing trees, animals, birds and ourselves.
Veganism is simply an individual choice that one can make to contribute to the healing of the planet. Much needs to be done to heal the Earth, but choosing to stop supporting the holocaust of hundreds of thousands every day and the destruction of the Earth, can have a ripple effect that begins this healing process.
A plant-based diet would reap thousands of benefits on the planet and avoid damaging effects to the planet.
Factory Farms or CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). Mans hunger and ego has led him to believe that he is above other species that live here. This has led to the maltreatment of humans and animals alike and large commercial operations of factory farming. Factory farms have a devastating effect on the environment for several reasons.
Water pollution. Animals put into tight spaces with no room to move and no where to defecate; they must leave their waste on other animals and in their stalls. These animals are injected with hormones, chemicals, antibiotics and synthetic vitamins and minerals. Their waste is absorbed directly into the Earth and into our soil and water supply. This waste filled water is sprayed directly onto neighboring fields to make room for more liquified, contaminated manure. This is the same water used for our vegetables as well as for our drinking water. Drinking water you say? Yes. The Earth recycles its water. We reuse, over and over, the same water on the entire planet.
Air pollution. Toxic air, fumes and vapors are emitted from CAFO operations. While studies have shown that many illnesses and some cases death (which the media and industrial giants will cover up) are caused directly from workers within the facilities, more evidence is showing that now surrounding communities and individuals therein can be affected. Some of these toxic fumes include:
Ammonia – Ammonia is both a component of animal waste and released in waste treatment processes. It is toxic to humans. According to American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) a human should not withstand inhalation of more than 25ppm. However, CAFOs have been found to regularly reach levels of 100ppm in poultry operations. The effect of ammonia on the lungs can be fatal. At extremely high levels it can cause chronic lung diseases in only 2 minutes. At levels of 500ppm death can occur. And this is whats blowing through the air in our backyards?
Hydrogen Sulfide – Hydrogen Sulfide is a major gas that comes from storage, handling and decomposition of animal waste. This is the chemical that smells like rotten eggs. OSHA states that humans should not have an exposure limit over 10ppm, however levels of over 1,000ppm have been reported in manure lagoons. Anything over 100ppm is considered immediately hazardous to humans and animals.
Symptoms of low-level exposure can be shortness of breath, irritated eyes, coughing and sore throat or fluid in the lungs. Higher, longer term exposure can be headaches, loss of appetite, fatigue, loss/poor memory or dizziness. Breathing very high levels can cause loss of consciousness after just one breath and death after only a few short breaths.
Space. Did you know that in one acre of land you can produce 40,000 pounds of potatoes, compared with one acre of land that is needed to produce only 50 pounds of beef? How much more land could we save? How many more people could we feed?
Waste of resources. On average 60 gallons of water are needed for a pound of potatoes. And beef? 20,000 gallons are needed for a pound of beef. Or take serving sizes: it takes about 6 gallons of water to grow a single serving of lettuce. More than 2,600 gallons is required to produce a single serving of steak. Either way you look at it eating meat is a waste. Plus, this is the same dirty, excrement filled water that is poorly recycled over and over again and treated with always more and more chemicals to disinfect and clean it. Do you want your children and grandchildren to have clean water or do you really not care about them? Are you that selfish that you care only for your wants?
And what about the energy needed to run these operations? Transporting animals and even more so, animal waste away from these operations costs a lot of money. Those that do not transport use what are called anaerobic digesters, or methane digestors. These devices cost money that are paid through subsidies from us, the taxpayers. In theory, these are supposed to save the farmer money by converting manure into electricity. And they do. However, they do not resolve the problems of toxic fumes in the air or water pollution. They do not save large amounts of space. These machines last a very short time and the best solution is to simply stop eating the animals that create the manure.by