No, this is no pro-vegan or pro-vegetarian propaganda, although those people are taking more care of the planet than those who consume animal meat/products. Beef, specifically, is the biggest “threat”.
Living organism produce methane, a natural, powerful greenhouse gas that is needed for the Earth to do its natural greenhouse effect. It’s a gas needed for the process, but no good in huge amounts. Cows produce methane when they are eating and digesting their food.
Let me put it this way: one single molecule of methane equals to twenty three carbon dioxide ones. Now, because we consume a lot of beef, there’s a very large amout of cows (1.5+ billion in the world, actually) which means there’s a lot of methane gas going around (65 gallons per cow a day, do the math). More cows, more methane; less cows, less methane. Too much methane, the greenhouse effect speeds up and global warming with it.
I’m not saying we should slaughter all the cows to protect to ozone layer, but over-farming is making an impact not only on the ground and soil but also on the atmosphere. Most of the land used for agricultural and farming purposes is used to raise cows that will later be killed for eating. You need 20% of that land for chicken or turkey, and only 1%-2% for vegetables and fruits. Imagine how the methane emissions would drop if we reduced the land used for cows.
This is an effort we all ought to make. I’m not telling you all to go vegan because that’s totally up to you, but finding alternatives is not that hard. It’s just a simple action, something you can do at home that could make all the difference. The numbers won’t drop unless we stop buying.
Yes, some people like roast beef a lot and won’t just give it up, but we cannot exist without our planet. Like Harrison Ford once said: the planet doesn’t need us to survive, we need it to survive. It would be selfish to think we get to do whatever we want to this planet because it doesn’t affect us, even in the long run.