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September 25, 2018
At Suzi’s Lavender, we maintain a commitment to taking care of our planet. In this vein, we wanted to share some information on livestock production. Today, we wanted to talk about how much the demand for meat and dairy impacts our environment. Maybe not as much as the burning of fossil fuels—in the U.S., human-caused greenhouse gas emissions account for 10 times the amount of emissions as animal agriculture. However, it’s important to take into account all of the ways we can work to reduce our impact on earth!
The livestock sector makes up more than one-fourth of the global land area in order to continuously meet needs for human consumption. Forest lands are decreased year by year to give way to such activities. While deforestation greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, there are additional environmental issues caused by it too: land degradation caused by nutrient depletion and soil erosion.
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Livestock animals contribute to global warming in a natural yet unexpected way. Ruminant animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, and their relatives create methane during a complex process called enteric fermentation, in which they produce methane gas during digestion of fibrous grasses within their multi-chambered stomachs.
While livestock animals are not the dominant cause of methane emissions, they are significant contributors to annual increases of this harmful gas. A study showed that methane emission from livestock was actually 11 percent higher than estimated by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change.
Of all the livestock, beef and lamb production requires more land, more fertilizer, and more water compared to pork and chicken. While growing plants also requires land, fertilizer, and water, the amount of these needed are significantly lower. So if you can’t say goodbye to all meat and dairy, here’s your challenge to consider: could you say goodbye to just these two?
With human lifestyles being as dependent on livestock production as they have come to be, reducing consumption of meat and dairy may not be an easy task for some of us. It is however something you can feel very good about if you choose to embark on it as part of your plan to reduce your carbon footprint. Eating meat and dairy may be a part of our cultural traditions, but a safe, healthy, and lasting Earth must be a part of our future.
Sourcing meat from certified local and sustainable farms is another wonderful way to cut back on emissions and support your local community at the same time.
While awareness of how our foods might be negatively impacting the Earth, we all know it goes much further than that. Take a look at the packaging and ingredients list on everything you buy. Look for sustainability everywhere. On this blog, the focus is often on skincare—what kind of packaging do your products come in, and is it something that’s going to return to the Earth peaceably, or something that’s going to stick around forever? As always, it starts with awareness.
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