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The Key to Saving the World Is One Bite at a Time

in Save the World by

I am a fervent recycler. I save anything that can be recycled from around the house and diligently place it in my recycling bin (even if it’s not on the list of approved items). It’s just a small contribution, but I’m trying to be ecologically mindful.

How was I to know the real key to saving the environment is in choosing the food we eat? Eat for the Planet (Abrams) by Nil Zacharias and Gene Stone not only paints a vivid picture of how we’re destroying our planet but a global mural in neon that demands notice.

For everyone who loves to eat meat (or even eats it out of habit), this sobering data will have you reconsidering that tender T-Bone or broiled beer-can chicken.

Did you know that by 2050, there will be 9.8 billion people in the world to feed? But while 7.5 billion people occupy 10 percent of the Earth’s surface, 20 billion livestock animals take up 45 percent of the planet.

Some thoughts from the book to consider:

  • Animal agriculture dominates the industrialized food system. Although we’re feeding ourselves, we’re also feeding our extinction.
  •  Industrial animal agriculture provides 99 percent of meat, dairy, and eggs in the U.S. and is the major cause of our current environmental crisis. It occupies more than half of the world’s farmable land resources, uses most freshwater sources and emits more greenhouse gases that all modes of transportation combined. It also causes egregious air and water pollution, land degradation, and extinction of species.

While 700 million people don’t have enough water, 23 percent of earth’s freshwater is used for livestock. 40 percent of the world’s grain is fed to livestock while one billion people go hungry.

Then consider these additional statistics which will blow your mind.

One acre of land can produce:

  • 250 pounds of beef (1000 quarter-pound burger patties),

OR

  • 30,000 pounds of carrots,
  • 40,000 pounds of potatoes, or
  • 50,000 pounds of tomatoes.

Eighteen-hundred gallons of water is used to:

  • Produce one pound of beef

 OR

  • Take 26 showers
  • Do 40 loads of laundry
  • Do 230 dishwasher loads of dishes
  • Flush your toilet 1125 times
  • Grow 12 pounds of avocados, 53 pounds of potatoes, 21 pounds of apples
  • Or produce 11 bottles of wine (p39)

One cow:

  • Poops 15 times a day,
  • Produces 12 tons of feces a year.

Livestock in the U.S.:

  • Produces enough poop to fill the Empire State Building every single day.

Every day:

  • Land equal to 10,080 football fields is bulldozed to make room for livestock
  • 137 animal, plant, and insect species are lost to rainforest destruction.

What can we do about it? We can change the way we eat.

We can rescue the world by:

  • Eating a moderate amount of food
  • Replacing animal-based food in our diets with plant-based food
  • Embracing new food choices and varied cuisine

Here is what you’ll save in a week if you eat plant-based food:

  • 10,500 gallons of water
  • 315 pounds of grain
  • 210 square feet of forest area
  • 140 pounds of carbon dioxide

So, all you meat-eaters out there, this book gives you lots of food for thought, and thought for food. Maybe we should try to save our precious resources and #EatForThePlanet.

Eat for the Planet is now available for purchase.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

About Nil Zacharias:

Nil Zacharias is the co-founder of One Green Planet (OneGreenPlanet.org), the leading independent media company focused on food sustainability. He is also host of the popular weekly podcast,”#EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias” and co-author of the book, Eat For The Planet. Nil started his career as a media and technology lawyer and worked for over a decade in the digital media and online advertising space in various business and operational roles prior to founding One Green Planet. He can be found on Twitter @nilzach.

About Gene Stone:

I’m the author of 45 books–some as a ghost-writer, some under my own name– as well as a former book, magazine, and newspaper editor. You can read my full resume at http://genestone.com/resume/

K. L. Romo writes about life on the fringe: teetering dangerously on the edge is more interesting than standing safely in the middle. She is passionate about women’s issues, loves noisy clocks and fuzzy blankets, but HATES the word normal. Visit KLRomo.com or @klromo.

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