Issues and answers: The environment

Issues and answers: Part 7

Written by: Lee Sonogan


“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Now a lot of you will lose interest by the tittle of this chapter. But the actions we do on this planet is important. Ecosystems and environments gives us the tools to live. The oxygen you breath, the food you consume and the products you buy. Our actions are slowly leading to the destruction our Earth. Data and information from all over the world has shown and predicted that things are getting worse. Global warming, pollutions, mutations, fewer animals and so much more are occurring at a daily rate. The following is information based on facts about the environment, Peoples consequences and how animals are apart of all this.

First lets consider this, we are currently growing enough food to feed 10 billion people. We currently have a estimated 7.5 million people. Don’t belive me? look at this source – Common Dreams, “We Already Grow Enough Food for 10 Billion People… and Still Can’t End Hunger”. So where is all the food going? Well where it goes is into Animal agriculture. Animal articulture is the cause of 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, and the animals are eaten by western countries. According to Global Issues beef and more sources, worldwide, at least 50% of grain is fed to live stock. This food system has not just effected humans, its unsustainable ways effect the enviroment in ways we can see and not see.

Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually. Search for Pimentel, David, et al. “Water Resources: Agricultural And Environmental Issues.” BioScience 54, no. 10 (2004): 909-18. And Barber, N.L., “Summary of estimated water use in the United States in 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3098.” for proof. 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.  The amount of water used to produce 1lb. of beef vary greatly from 442 – 8000 gallons. We choose to use in the film the widely cited conservative number of 2500 gallons per pound of US beef from Dr. George Borgstrom, Chairman of Food Science and Human Nutrition Dept of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, “Impacts on Demand for and Quality of land and Water.”


The animals them self cost a lot of resources and energy a day. Also, Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation, according to Spotlight: Livestock impacts on the environment. Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Thornton, Phillip, Mario Herrero, and Polly Ericksen. “Livestock and Climate Change.” Livestock Exchange, no. 3 (2011).

Also, animal agriculture contributes to species extinction in many ways. In addition to the monumental habitat destruction caused by clearing forests and converting land to grow feed crops and for animal grazing, predators and ‘competition” species are frequently targeted and hunted because of a perceived threat to livestock profits. The widespread use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers used in the production of feed crops often interferes with the reproductive systems of animals and poison waterways. The overexploitation of wild species through commercial fishing, bushmeat trade as well as animal agriculture’s impact on climate change, all contribute to global depletion of species and resources. Below is the resources on the facts of extinction:

Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction. This fact can be soured to these three: World Bank. “Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon” – Margulis, Sergio. Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Rainforest. Washington: World Bank Publications, 2003. – WORLD BANK WORKING PAPER NO. 22. 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second. Up to 137 plant, animal and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction. 26 million rainforest acres (10.8m hectares) have been cleared for palm oil production according to “Indonesia: palm oil expansion unaffected by forest moratorium.” USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. 2013. We would have to cut down another tree if we all decided to mass produce hemp. Grows ten times faster, you can use it for fuel, paper, clothers and so much more. Research that choice we could be making much more.

As many as 2.7 trillion animals are pulled from the ocean each year. It took us only 55 years to wipe out 90% of the ocean’s predators causing a disruption of the marine ecosystem?. We could see fishless oceans by 2048, according to Science, “Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services”. National Geographic, article Nov. 2006. “Overfishing: A Threat to Marine Biodiversity.” UN News Center and “General Situation of World Fish Stocks.” United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)., says 3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted. While 90-100 million tons of fish are pulled from our oceans each year. Over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by pollution every year.

A direct effect of excessive CO2 production. The oceans absorb as much as 25% of all human carbon dioxide emissions. The gas then combines with other elements to form compounds such as carbolic acid. Over the last 250 years, surface acidity of the ocean has increased by an estimated 30%. The acidity is expected to increase by 150% by 2100. The effect of over acidification of the oceans on sea creatures such as shellfish and plankton is similar to osteoporosis in humans. The acid effectively is dissolving the skeletons of the creatures. The effect of ocean acidification may soon challenge marine life on a scale that the planet has not seen for millions of years. Currently, one-third of humans have inadequate access to clean, fresh water. The number is expected to increase by to up to two-thirds by 2050. That is that two thirds of the world’s population will not have access to clean water.

Even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565 gigatonnes CO2e limit by 2030, all from raising animals according to Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. . Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print. and Source: calculation is based on analyses that 51% of GHG are attributed to animal agriculture.

Overall, recently an overwhelming majority of climate scientists, believe that human activities are currently affecting the climate and that the tipping point has already been passed. In other words, it is too late to undo the damage that climate change has done to the environment. At this stage the best we can do is regulate the further impact upon the environment by developing more environmentally friendly methods of energy production by reducing the mining and burning of fossil fuels. Alternative energy and using technology is the best step in creating a sustainable environment in all forms and create positive growth in all areas. Mistakes/incidents like the Japan nuclear power plant leaking into the ocean and independent groups in Africa and similar country’s oiling in rivers and that, need to be dealt with more carefully. In the next part I will be talking about technology and automation and how it can be implemented for a better world.

“Nature may reach the same result in many ways. Like a wave in the physical world, in the infinite ocean of the medium which pervades all, so in the world of organisms, in life, an impulse started proceeds onward, at times, may be, with the speed of light, at times, again, so slowly that for ages and ages it seems to stay, passing through processes of a complexity inconceivable to men, but in all its forms, in all its stages, its energy ever and ever integrally present. A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes in Nature. In no way can we get such an overwhelming idea of the grandeur of Nature than when we consider, that in accordance with the law of the conservation of energy, throughout the Infinite, the forces are in a perfect balance, and hence the energy of a single thought may determine the motion of a universe.”
― Nikola Tesla