The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation report published in 2006 estates that livestock is the leading cause of resource consumption and environmental degradation destroying the planet. According to their report, livestock sector is responsible for nearly 18% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, measured in CO2 equivalent. Global transportation on the other hand accounts for 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, what you currently decide to eat everyday creates more global warming than all the cars, planes, trains, buses and trucks in the world combined (UN Report, November 29, 2006)
However, in 2009, environmental specialists Jeff Anhang and Robert Goodland with the IFC (part of the World Bank Group), found that GHG emissions by livestock are more likely to be around 51%. In the report Livestock and Climate Change, 2009, Anhang amd Goodland pointed out specific flaws in the UN-FAO report of 2006, such as the data used was from the year 2000 or older, understating land use, under-reporting methane production and complete omission of the production of respiratory CO2 by billions of livestock. CO2 emissions is only a part of Global Warming, the production of methane and nitrous oxide also contribute to climate change, as well as destroying trees (specially rainforests) and vegetation that regulate carbon dioxide and oxygen. But this is again, just one small component of global depletion.
Global Depletion is the life sustaining resources that are being used or destroyed at a rate such that the replacement or restoration is impossible for hundreds, if not thousands, of years – if ever. Water, land, air and wildlife ecosystems are most affected, and while many industries are too blame, our food has had the largest single negative impact in our environment. According to the Global Footprint Network (GFN), the global demand for land overtook global supply by the end of the 1980s, and it’s estimated that the human ecological footprint is currently 30% greater than the entire planet can sustain. (Global Footprint Network, Data and Results, 2008).
The largest contributing factor to all areas of global depletion is the rising and eating of more than 70 billion animals each year and the extracting of 1-2 trillion fish from our oceans annually. This is simply not sustainable. We need to concern about our water, land, air, and living ecosystems for our planet to be healthy. Greenhouse gases and their effect in global warming is only one aspect of the complete picture, and CO2 is only one greenhouse gas. It is what we eat and the choices we make in our diet, not the car we drive, that affects our supply of water, land and air, and will affect our success or failure on our planet. (Comfortably Unaware, Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander, 2012).
Therefore, the single most important thing we can do that will have the highest impact on stopping global depletion is to adopt a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet.