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Eating and Living…

After watching the “Earthlings” documentary my wife and I have been taking stock of what we eat and how we live again.

I bought a Moby CD over ten years ago, that included the facts below in the liner notes. For some reason they actually mean something to me now.

In the past 20 years approximately 1 million species have disappeared from the world’s tropical forests.
From 1960-1985 over 40% of the central american rainforests were destroyed to create grazing land for cattle.
The united states imports over 100,000 tons of beef from central america each year.
It takes 23 gallons of water to produce a pound of tomatoes.
It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef.
One acre of land can produce 20,000 pounds of potatoes.
One acre of land can produce 165 pounds of beef.
The u.s. cattle industry produces 158 million tons of waste per year.
Livestock production is the #1 cause of water pollution in the u.s.
22 million acres of land have become unusable due to desertification.
85% of the topsoil loss in t he u.s. is the result of livestock production.
In the u.s. 33% of ALL raw material consumption is used solely in the production of meat, egg, and dairy products.
It takes 1 pound of grain to make 1 pound of bread.
It takes 20 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of beef.
75% of the grain sent to third world nations goes to livestock production.
The countries with the diets highest in animal products are also the countries with the highest rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.
50 percent of men who eat meat regularly die of heart disease.
80% of usda chicken inspectors no longer eat chicken.
If the average commuter passenger load in the u.s. were increased by just 1 person per day we would save 33 million gallons of gas each day.
Americans spend over 1 billion hours stuck in traffic each year.
30% of u.s. greenhouse gas emissions come from cars.
Air is sold in mexico city for $1.15 a minute by sidewalk vendors.
What greenpeace spends in a year general motors spends in 4 hours.
million children under the age of 6 suffer from lead poisoning.
in europe 50% of the cars still use leaded gas.
2 million gallons of motor oil are dumped in american waterways each year.
over 8 million tons of oil are spilled in the world’s oceans every year.
5 billion gallons of water are flushed each day in the united states.
Sewage treatment facilities in the u.s. discharge 5.9 trillion gallons of sewage wastewater into coastal waters every year.
u.s. tuna fisherman are permitted to kill over 20,000 dolphins every year.
2 million sharks die in driftnets in the north pacific every year.
Only 1 in 10 baby chimpanzees survive the trip form the jungle to the zoo.
1 billion animals are killed each year in experiments.
17 million animals are trapped in the u.s. each year for fur.
Many traps are so painful that animals check through their own limbs to escape.
For every fur animal trapped two other animals (dogs, cats, deer, etc.) are trapped and killed.
In 1997 450,000 minks died on fur farms from heat exhaustion.
1 ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and enough energy to heat the average home for 6 months.
Enough wood and paper is thrown away each year in america to heat 1 billion houses for a year.
Six times more jobs are created by recycling as opposed to landfill operations.
The amount of money spent on trash disposal in american schools is equal to that spent on new textbooks.
Out of every $10 that americans spend on food, $1 pays for packaging.
65% of garbage in the u.s. is packaging.
50% of all trash thrown away could be recycled into new products.
500 new dumps are built each year in the united states.
Over 1 billion trees are used to make disposable diapers every year.
Americans throw away 20 billion disposable diapers each year.
Americans dump the equivalent of 21 million shopping bags full of food into landfills every year.
billion batteries are thrown away each year by americans.
over 700,000 tons of hazardous waste is produced in the u.s. every day.
americans throw away 10 million cigarette lighters every week.
500,000 people die of cigarette related diseases in the u.s. each year.
pesticides that are banned in the u.s. (such as ddt) are regularly sold to third world countries.
90% of all food borne pesticides are found in meat and dairy products.
10% of nursing mothers who were vegetarians had ddt in their breast milk.
90% of nursing mothers who were meat eaters had ddt in their breast milk.
In 1945, before widespread pesticide use, u.s. corn growers lost 3% of their crops to insects.
Last year they lost over 12%.
74 different kinds of pesticides have been found in drinking water.
Over 100 chemical contaminants have been found in the breast milk of nursing mothers in the u.s.
of the 34 chemicals most widely used on lawns, 25% are widely believed to cause birth defects, genetic mutation, and cancer.
Americans spend 6 billion dollars on their lawns each year.
25% of u.s. nuclear reactors would not be able to contain a core breach meltdown.
A 1985 study predicted a 45% chance of core breach meltdown in the u.s. before 2005.
In 1992, 430,000 people in the world died from cancers resulting from nuclear testing radiation.
More money is spent in the u.s. on nuclear weaponry in one year than was spent on housing from 1980-1992.
To date cleaning up storage facilities for nuclear debris has cost taxpayers 200 billion dollars.
In 1989 the u.s. military used 200 billion barrels of oil, enough to keep all american public transit systems running for 22 years. 1 ton of toxic waste is produced by the u.s. every minute. (Source)

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Kay September 15, 2007, 6:29 am

    What’s so sad is I know all of this. I’ve worked in a health food store for 15 years. I make a commitment to be a vegetarian and to live more lightly on the planet, but eventually I cave. At first it’s just a bit of chicken. Then it’s a small burger. Next thing ya know I’m at my parents for a barbecue.


    I’m going to borrow those statistics and put them on my blog too. I hope you and Moby don’t mind. 🙂

  • Lon September 15, 2007, 7:33 pm

    Hey Kay, thanks for commenting, it’s crazy how we humans can know one thing and do another isn’t it?!

    totally feel free to spread it around… it’s all moby’s, though i’m sure you can find similar stats all over the web.

  • Claudia January 26, 2008, 9:33 am

    I found the video in the link below helpful in reminding me why I don’t want to eat meat. As well as the facts listed above. I cannot believe that info is about 15 years old. I cannot imagine that our situation has gotten any better. Good luck staying veggie.


    “i have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race in its gradual improvement to leave off eating animals.” -henry david thoreau

    “nothing will benefit human health an increase the chances for survival on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet” -albert einstein

  • Lon January 29, 2008, 10:13 am

    Hey Claudia, thanks for visiting, unfortunately i’m not vegan yet, but i’m working on it. thanks for the link and quotes as well!

    i get the sense that things are slowly slowly changing in our culture though, and as healthier living/eating becomes the norm, it’ll be easier for the rest of us too!

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