By Heather Faraid Drennan
If you're one of those people who need a deadline to take action, here's one for you: five years. That's how long analysts with the International Energy Agency give the world's governments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and reverse climate change "before it's too late." Governments have their role, but there's an important lifestyle change that every individual can make to ensure that our planet doesn't become a giant sauna: Go vegan.
A plant-based diet is not only healthier for you but also better for the entire planet. Consider the following statistics:
-- Producing a single pound of meat emits the same amount of greenhouse gasses as driving 40 miles in an SUV.
-- It takes 10 times as much fossil fuel to produce one calorie from animal protein as it does to produce one calorie from plant protein.
-- If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and opted for plant-based foods instead, the carbon-dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.
In addition, raising animals for food in the U.S. alone produces 89,000 pounds of waste per second. Much of that untreated waste ends up polluting our land and waterways.
There's no time to delay switching to a healthy, vegan diet. Check out PETA's vegetarian/vegan starter kit, and share it with friends and family. On behalf of everyone who's become rather fond of Earth's inhabitable qualities, thank you.