Corporate Agriculture, Polluted Water & The Future Well Being Of Our Children

First off, I would like to wish all of my readers a very happy “Blog Action Day 2010″. Today thousands of bloggers of all different types, are writing about one common subject…. WATER. One might think, “water”….. what would thousands of bloggers write about… “WATER”???? It’s wet, we drink it, we bathe in it, it fills our oceans… what more can you say?

A LOT!

In the United States, over half of our water is used to raise animals for food, according to the Audubon Society. The EPA reports that all of the nation’s industries combined, do not pollute our water sources nearly as much as Factory Farms alone. A U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture states that livestock produces 130 times more urine & feces than the United States human population. Factory Farming produces more than 500 million tons of animal waste each year, which includes antibiotics, ammonia, fertilizers, hormones and countless dangerous chemicals. This waste ends up polluting our ground water, lakes, rivers and streams. The Sierra Club reports, “America’s drinking water, rivers, and lakes are at risk from giant, corporate owned factory farms….. waste leaks into our rivers and streams, fouling our air, contaminating our drinking water, and spreading disease.”  We currently have a 7,700 square mile “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi River flows into it, due to agriculture runoff. The EPA states that in the United States, 40% of rivers, lakes and coastal waters are so contaminated that they are unfit for humans to fish in, swim in or drink.

If one thinks that our water problem in the United States is cause for concern, it is nothing compared to what is happening in other parts of the world. Not to mention, what is still to come.

Is it surprising to learn that more people on this planet own a cell phone, than have access to a toilet? How about that THOUSANDS of people die every day, due to a lack of clean water? The World Health Organization reports that 3.575 million people die each year due to water related disease, and 1.4 million of these people are children. UNICEF reports that Dirrahoea is the second leading cause of death among children under five globally & kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Dirrahoea is largely due to lack of safe drinking water, sanitation & hygiene. Children in poor environments who lack clean drinking water, often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at one time and millions of children spend hours each day, trying to collect water from distant & often polluted sources, states the 2006 United Nations Human Development Report.

These statistics are foreseen to become worse into the not so distant future. The future well being of ALL children are at risk for lack of clean drinking water, as our world population increases. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has stated that food production would have to increase globally by 70% by the year 2050, as the world population is estimated to reach over 9 billion! And impacts from factory farming will increase substantially.

Livestock now uses 30% of the earths entire land surface, according to the FAO. The USDA states, 80% of the agricultural land in this country is used for raising livestock. If my math is correct, that seems to leave only 20% of our nations agricultural land devoted to plants, meant for human consumption. Time magazine reports that 70% of the grains and cereals grown in the U.S. are fed to livestock. Unfortunately, most animal feed gets wasted and only a small amount of the plant protein is converted to flesh. Animals must consume many times more calories, from plant foods, than they give back in the form of meat.

In my mind, this seems like a lot of wasted land, which could be used for growing plant foods, that would feed countless more human beings. Many feel, that if the entire world came to this conclusion, and became Vegan, we would actually be able to feed every person on this planet. We could also clean up our polluted water and save millions of lives each year.

This past June, The United Nations issued a statement, urging humanity to make a shift towards a Vegan diet, in order to protect the future well being of our planet and people. “Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.” The report also stated “A global shift towards a Vegan diet, is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty, and the worst impacts of climate change.”

As a Vegan mother, raising a Vegan family, it bothers me that more people don’t understand how obvious it is, that we have no choice, but to shift away from an animal based diet. It is absolutely vital, that we begin to live off the land, and not the creatures who we share the land with. My children deserve to live a long and healthy life, without fear from water scarcity and waterborne disease. Your children deserve the same. Every child on the planet deserves this. Don’t you agree?

A really smart man once said “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Albert Einstein

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