Summary

Vegan viking

With all this new information, I was forced to change my beliefs and accept that when it comes to climate change, a plant-based lifestyle does have a greater positive effect on global warming then a car-free lifestyle. In fact farmed animals create more climate-changing gases then all of the world’s transportation combined, mainly from cattle. Even when air travel and shipping are included, the total is 15,000 megatons for all transportation.
Meanwhile, the shear number of livestock throughout the world creates over 22,000 megatons. (link) You can view a more detailed list of solutions to many western lifestyle contributions here and there’s even a comparison calculator that can tell you how to move towards zero impact.

Total world Greenhouse Gases

In Bil. Tons CO2 Eq. World Total Animal Ag. Transport
CO2 37.89 5.19 11.93
Methane 28.88 9.10 1.46
Nitrous Oxide 2.28 1.06 0.076
Black Carbon 14.37 6.65 2.76
Total 83.42 20.71 16.23
Source

Based on this huge wealth of information, it was no longer possible to deny that Jeff Anhang and the creators of Livestock’s Long Shadow were vindicated after all. Contrary to what Wynes and Nicholas proposed, it’s undeniable that the breeding of animals for food dwarfs all other human impacts (except for having children within high-consumer societies). This will undoubtedly make Leonardo DiCaprio and the folks at Cowspiracy happy.

After all of this analysis, does this mean people who eat a vegan diet but drive are now off the hook? Does this mean that I’m going to buy a car now?
Of course not. As you will see throughout this essay, our planetary crisis is affecting much more then just the Earth’s temperature and we are going to have to use every tool available in order to reduce the damage (link).

Mitigation curve

Changing our relationship with the climate is going to become more and more challenging the longer we delay. At the risk of sounding too negative, it cannot be ignored that humanity has already passed the point where mild shifts can save us.

Naomi Klein -This Changes Everything

As Naomi Klein states, “there are no non-radical options left before us.” (link) We’re not just looking at a changing climate, we’re looking at a changing. . . everything.

Community tree planting

For some of you, the evidence here will be pursuasive enough to convince you of how important and positive these changes can be. Others may feel that this is all too overwhelming. For those in the latter crowd, I welcome you to connect with communities which are already on the path of low-harm. Go to a tree planting event, connect with bike commuters, take part in a vegan potluck. Every step that we collectively take to reduce our emissions is, without a doubt, helpful for the well-being of all living beings on our planet. What I hope to impress on you with this essay, is that personal choices based on a single issue are merely one chapter in a larger and more beautiful novel.

We can bike

If you take in the full breadth of issues affecting the world and consider how interconnected everything is, that will help you develop a broader and richer level of awareness. You might already be an activist, protester, or social justice warrior. You may believe that where you are right now is good enough. But that’s not the end of the story. While most of us think about being earth-friendly in single issue terms; being plant-based, political campaigning, ditching plastic, etc. The truth is that there are many choices that we make every day, and all of them have an impact either positive or not.

Transforming urban space

As you read on, I will share with you other issues surrounding both farmed animals and motorized vehicles beyond their effects on global warming alone. The effects of both decisions are wide-ranging and often less obvious then we would expect. This is why I support you in continuously pushing yourself to adopt more a planet-friendly choices. It is my hope that you will use this essay as a source of inspiration to follow a new and more fulfilling path.

Support cruelty-free products, lower your heat and wear sweaters, or ride a bike to the store for small items. Every step is a higher evolution for our own health, the animals, and all fellow beings.