Environmentalism & Animal Rights

I feel very strongly about animal rights and ending climate change. One of my life goals is to see the end of animal agriculture and factory farms, both of which contribute heavily to climate change. We can make huge leaps and bounds by adopting vegan and plant-based diets. By going vegan, you can save tens of thousands of animals lives and billions of gallons of water and carbon emissions. So why exactly should one go vegan? Here are only a few (of many) reasons that convinced me:

Environmental Reasons for being Vegan

It is simply paradoxical to be both an environmentalist and still eat meat. Eating animal products is no longer sustainable. The US government heavily subsidizes the animal agricultural industry due to their wealthy lobbyists, which is why meat is so cheap (1). Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water.

  1. Animal agriculture uses up insane amounts of land and fresh water resources: According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, seven football fields’ worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them (2). Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80 percent is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them—that’s almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states. Chickens, pigs, cattle, and other animals raised for food are the primary consumers of water in the U.S.: a single pig consumes 21 gallons of drinking water per day, while a cow on a dairy farm drinks as much as 50 gallons daily. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cow flesh, whereas it takes about 180 gallons of water to make 1 pound of whole wheat flour.
  2. Animal agriculture is very much to blame for global warming and greenhouse gases: Producing a little more than 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving a car for three hours and uses up more energy than leaving your house lights on for the same period of time. (3) According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is one of the steps necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change. (4) A California study found that a single dairy cow “emits 19.3 pounds of volatile organic compounds per year, making dairies the largest source of the smog-making gas, surpassing trucks and passenger cars.”
  3. Animal agriculture and Water Pollution: Each day, factory farms produce billions of pounds of manure, which ends up in lakes, rivers, and drinking water. The one trillion pounds of waste produced by factory-farmed animals each year are usually used to fertilize crops, and they subsequently end up running off into waterways—along with the drugs and bacteria that they contain. 2006 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone”—an area in which virtually all the sea animals and plants have died—is now half the size of Maryland.16 In 2006, a separate study by Princeton University found that a shift away from meat production—as well as Americans’ adoption of vegetarian diets—would dramatically reduce the amount of nitrogen in the Gulf to levels that would make the dead zone “small or non-existent.”
  4. The oceans will be dead by 2048 from pollution and over-fishing (6): Eating fish is not sustainable. Over-fishing creates huge caps in the ocean’s food chains and biodiversity, crashing ecosystems all over the ocean.

Ethical Reasons for being Vegan

Cows, pigs, fish, chickens, and other animals that often wind up on plates have emotions, just like you and me. They experience love, grief, and fear.

In addition, there are a myriad of actions one can take to reduce the overall suffering of animals in the world. Here are just a few:


Going vegan can be extremely intimidating at first. But in the end, it is a much better decision for the planet, animals, and your health. Veganism has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes (5). Here are a couple of resources that I found extremely helpful in transitioning to a vegan diet:




FAQ/Common Misconceptions

And finally, the most frequently asked questions that I get from potential vegans:

Q: How do I get enough protein on a vegan diet?

Q: I am just one person! How will me being vegan do anything?


  1. The animal agriculture industry is heavily subsidized by the US government
  2. Acres of land being bulldozed by the minute for animal agriculture
  3. Meat is murder for the enviornment
  4. Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production
  5. Vegan diet benifits
  6. Climate change in the oceans