Why Everyone Should Be a Vegetarian

An easy diet adjustment can help better the planet

Asher Norberg, Copy Editor

Being environmentally-friendly has been en-vogue for several years now. People are constantly looking for new ways to help the environment and shrink their carbon footprint. According to new data released by the Yale Program on Climate Communication, most Americans agree that climate change will harm the United States. But what can Americans do to help stop climate change?

Ideas such as turning off lights when we aren’t using them and using reusable bags or water bottles have been circulating around the internet and classrooms for over a decade, but one idea seems to have been conveniently and consistently omitted from most lists of ways we can combat climate change: becoming a vegetarian.

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, or the by-products of it. Vegetarians can still consume animal products, such as eggs and dairy products. If you think about it, it makes sense why cutting such a resource-heavy product out of your diet would be beneficial to the environment. Thirty percent of the earth’s land is used for the rearing of livestock, and that doesn’t even take into account the land used to farm the grain necessary to support the livestock.

Global agriculture accounts for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 18 percent of which is directly contributed by livestock production. According to Scientific American, switching to a vegetarian diet can cut your contribution greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent. Not only does animal agriculture contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, but it is also the leading cause (90 percent) of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest according to the Stanford Environmental Law Journal. By cutting meat out of your diet, you can make an enormous contribution to help save the environment.