Global warming has become a major concern due to the dangers it poses to humanity. It has resulted in the need to assess the various human activities that harm the environment and the need to stop them. Meat production for human consumption is an activity that is destructive to the environment due to the intensive use of land and water and the release of harmful gases. Crop production has not been associated with such problems, and improvements in farming methods indicate that the activity will continue to reduce any harm it causes to the environment. Thus, if all people switch to a vegetarian diet, there is a high possibility of saving the environment.
For instance, meat production is an activity that requires intensive use of land and water. First, animals feed on plants such as grain that are grown on land that could be used for farming food crops. In addition, in cases where animals can roam, they cause soil erosion through overgrazing and trampling on the existing vegetation. Moreover, they also consume more water when they are alive and at different stages of the supply chain (Chai et al. 2019). Waste management is also a problem as more water is needed for cleaning and more land for storing it. While some animal waste is used for crop farming, most of it is dumped in manure lagoons, which are harmful to the environment. Thus, a vegetarian diet can help reduce the environmental problems associated with animal farming.
Additionally, meat consumption has been associated with the release of harmful gases into the atmosphere. According to Chai et al. (2019), farm animals such as cows and sheep, among others, which are reared to provide meat needed by individuals on an omnivorous diet, release greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide in the air. These gases affect the environment negatively because they contribute to global warming. On the other hand, a vegetarian diet has a less carbon footprint compared to an omnivorous one (Chai et al. 2019). Unlike animals, which release carbon dioxide, plants utilize the gas and store carbon. Therefore, adopting a vegetarian diet can help in environmental conservation.
However, critics point that adopting a vegetarian diet will cause other environmental problems that are prevented by an omnivorous one. For example, there would be an increase in farmland for the crops required to feed people worldwide. The increase would lead to deforestation and soil erosion, which would negatively impact the environment (Wallis, 2017). Moreover, some of the chemicals used in crop farming would also affect the environment, including water. Fortunately, these limitations can be overcome by adopting different agricultural practices. For instance, organic farming would help reduce the chemicals used for agriculture (Muneret et al. 2018). In addition, hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics are some of the strategies that have been used to reduce the demand for land for crop farming (AlShrouf, 2017). Thus, the adoption of a vegetarian diet by everyone can help reduce the negative impact that agriculture has on the environment.
A vegetarian diet can help in environmental conservation because it avoids the various problems associated with meat production. Crop farming does not require intensive use of land and water compared to animal farming. Moreover, crop farming does not result in the release of large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which destroys the environment. Further, the current limitations of crop farming can be overcome to increase food production while conserving the environment at the same time. Consequently, a vegetarian diet should be adopted by everyone in order to save the environment.
AlShrouf, A. (2017). Hydroponics, aeroponic and aquaponic as compared with conventional farming. American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences (ASRJETS), 27(1), 247-255.
Chai, B. C., van der Voort, J. R., Grofelnik, K., Eliasdottir, H. G., Klöss, I., & Perez-Cueto, F. J. (2019). Which diet has the least environmental impact on our planet? A systematic review of vegan, vegetarian and omnivorous diets. Sustainability, 11(15), 4110-4138.
Muneret, L., Mitchell, M., Seufert, V., Aviron, S., Pétillon, J., Plantegenest, M., … & Rusch, A. (2018). Evidence that organic farming promotes pest control. Nature sustainability, 1(7), 361-368.
Wallis, I. (2017). Is vegetarianism bad for the environment?. Australian Zoologist, 38(3), 379-389.