Animal Agriculture Impacts

1407 Words 6 Pages
Climate change, once considered an issue for the distant future, has moved firmly into the present (Melillo, Richmond, & Yohe, 2014). According to Chip Fletcher, Hawaiʻi’s climate is changing in ways that are consistent with the influence of global warming. Fletcher states that air temperatures have risen, rainfall and stream flow have decreased, rain intensity sea level and sea surface temperatures have increased, and the ocean is acidifying (Flectcher, 2010, p. 171). If these trends continue, they can have serious impacts on Hawaiʻi’s natural resources, including water, forests, coastal communities, and marine ecology, all of which are necessary for the natural functions of our planet to maintain equilibrium to which all life is an integral …show more content…
What is done in one part of the world inevitably influences changes in other parts of the world. In addition to being a major contributor to climate change, animal agriculture is also one of the leading causes of many other environmental issues, including overfishing, destruction of wildlife, deforestation, and depletion of freshwater resources to hydrate livestock or irrigate fodder. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are either exploited or depleted due to fishing (FAO, n.d.), and marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean 's capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations, which will likely lead to the complete depletion of currently fished fish stocks by 2048 (Worm et al., 2006). As for wildlife, in order to protect the interests of the livestock industry, the USDA and Bureau of Land Management sponsor programs to kill or entrap wildlife that threatens the industry’s bottom line (USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, n.d.). This has led to the decimation of wolf populations in the Pacific Northwest (Maughan, 2012) and the mass roundup of wild horses in the Midwest, which compete with cattle and sheep to graze on public lands (Gorte et al., 2010). Although this is not particularly an issue of …show more content…
Animal agriculture consumes on average 55 trillion gallons of water annually—more than 520 times the water used in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking (US EPA, 2011). According to Cornell University professor David Pimentel, grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food produced. In comparison, rice production only requires about 1,912 liters of water; wheat, 900 liters; and potatoes, 500 liters (Pimentel, 1997). In bringing this home, Fletcher says that we need scenario-based decision-making like “stage strategies on appropriate time scale” and explore issues of climate change with the community,” to name a couple. He also mentions that we need to increase climate monitoring and assessment activities and produce models of future climate changes and impacts, increase climate change education and awareness of the problems, and expand to be able to include the communities in the place-based strategic planning (Fletcher, 2010, p. 178). Of course, we can only control the impacts in our own communities, yet we have to act together, also with individual responsibility, to influence the global structure around the industries that constitute a vast majority of global carbon emissions like animal

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