Ditch the Beef
By: Renee Bowen, Vanessa Sullivan, Brittany Tremblett, Jackson Yang, and Terrance Yang
It's killing you and it's killing our planet. DITCH THE BEEF, and be a part of our strive for change at Trinity Western University.
Most commonly, when you reflect on threats to the environment, you picture cars or smoke stacks—not the dinner on your plate. But the truth is, our demand for meat is one of the biggest dangers to the planet. According to The Environmental Working Group, Sodexo orders 375 pounds of beef weekly, 1500 pounds of beef monthly, and 18,000 pounds of beef yearly for our campus alone. So what does this look like in relation to our ecological footprint?
From beef consumed at the Sodexo Cafeteria at TWU alone, approximately 489, 197 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is emitted into the atmosphere per year. Additionally, 2500 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of beef. As a result, 45 000 000 gallons of water per year are needed to meet the annual requirement of beef at TWU. To put this in perspective, one McDonald’s quarter-pounder hamburger requires over 500 gallons of water, and also produces close to 6.5 pounds of greenhouse gasses, which alarmingly is comparable to showering for two months straight.
Today, over 90% of the deforestation happening in the Amazon Rainforest is directly linked to animal agriculture. In under 40 years, the Amazon Rainforest has been reduced by 20%. A study by National Geographic claims that at the current rate of forest depletion, the world's rainforests can diminish and will virtually vanish within the next 100 years.
1.5 acres is needed to produce 375 pounds of beef, whereas an equal area of land can potentially produce 37, 000 pounds of plant-based foods. Our demand for beef uses up 48 acres of land annually—these 48 acres could also produce 1, 184, 000 pounds of plant-based foods. Around
850 million people across the world are hungry due to lack of food availability, and things are set to get much worse, according to World Food Programme. In an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, David Pimentel reveals that if all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States was consumed by people, the number of people who could be fed would be around 840 million. We are decreasing food availability drastically on the basis of a normalized North American diet that is neither sustainable nor necessary.
This is affecting not only our world, but our human population, and we are subjecting ourselves to huge ethical problems by investing in animal agriculture. We are causing unnecessary suffering to animals with over 750 million land animals and over three million cows alone slaughtered each year in Canada to satisfy our demand for huge quantities of cheap meat and dairy. Animal agriculture relies on antibiotic use to accelerate weight gain and control infection. The use of antibiotics in animal agriculture is consequently resulting in an estimate of 23, 000 individuals dying of antibiotic resistance in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only this, but beef is now rated as a category 2A carcinogen by the World Health Organization due to its high rated causation of cancers.
Although this is largely a global issue, we as students at Trinity Western University have the ability to make a difference in our own community. God has given us dominion over His land and His animals and we have taken advantage of this. We are responsible for respecting and caring for the air we breathe, the land we toil, and the food we eat within this precious ecosystem. As a result of the habits we have formed, we are destroying essential resources and necessities we need for survival. There is a plethora of alternatives to beef products sold on campus, and whether its once, twice, or even three times a week that you chose not to purchase or consume a beef product, you can make a difference. You are using your dollar as a vote to fight against the destructive nature of animal agriculture.
Animal agriculture is one of the largest industries and one of the largest killers of our planet. It is time to be aware that the food we choose to eat has a direct impact on the future of our planet. We are responsible for each decision we make, and our choices can make a huge difference.