The production of meat puts a huge amount of strain on the environment. Consumer Reports magazine reported that the worst consequences of a fast food meal didn’t come from the plastic straw or styrofoam container, but from the production of the burger itself.

If everyone on the planet was a meat-eater, there simply wouldn’t be enough room to raise the animals and grow their food. If everyone on the planet was vegan, however, the earth could easily feed 10 billion people for at least the next 50 years. Since it takes about 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of “beef,” almost two thirds of the land used for raising crops in the United States is actually used to grow food for the animals that will become “meat.” When you include the land that the animals live on, over 90 percent of the agricultural land in the U.S.A. is used for meat production. In Europe the percentage of land used for animal agriculture is even higher. With the planet’s population expanding out of control, the demand for meat is growing, and more land has to be used to supply it. Forests are cut down every day to make room for more meat production, causing death to the native creatures inhabiting that land.

Animal agriculture uses 30 times more fossil fuel and more than twice the amount of water than plant production. Livestock produces 130 times more waste than humans do, and meat production causes more water pollution than any other business. In addition, meat production is the main reason for massive amounts of soil eroding every year as well as being a major contributing factor to the greenhouse effect.

If you are interested in learning more about how a plant-based diet can help the environment, read John Robbins’ The Food Revolution.