If like several of us in Marcellus, you are a meat eater, this article from Vox will make for very uncomfortable reading. The article focuses on the US beef industry and just how much land that industry needs (for cattle grazing) and how environmentally and ecologically destructive that cattle grazing is:

“Almost half of America’s land is used to make meat. The federal government’s livestock grazing program is just one part of America’s agricultural land use story. The other part is all the land used to grow crops to feed farmed cattle, chickens, pigs, and fish, which comes in at 127 million acres.

All told, a staggering 41 percent of land in the continental US is used for meat, dairy, and egg production. Globally, it’s more than one-third of habitable land. Much of it was once forest that’s since been cut down to graze livestock and grow the corn and soy that feeds them.

The demand for meat is the leading cause of deforestation.

Meat-heavy diets require far more land than low-meat and vegetarian diets.”

The article then goes on to explain that if land used for cattle grazing reverts back to its original wild state then its vegetation can be used to ‘sequester carbon dioxide’: “A 2020 study published in the journal Nature Sustainability highlights the immense environmental potential of changing how we farm and eat. Researchers found that if all high-income countries shifted to a plant-based diet from 2015 to 2050, they’d free up enough land to sequester 32 gigatons of carbon dioxide — the equivalent of removing nine years of all those countries’ fossil fuel emissions from the atmosphere. Globally, if we shifted to plant-based diets over that same time period, the land saved could sequester the equivalent of 16 years of global fossil fuel emissions.”

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