While it takes 25 gallons of water to produce wheat, it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat. PETA also writes that the meat industry is «directly responsible for 85% of all soil erosion» in the United States.
Meanwhile, many have long regarded animal-derived meat production as cruel and unethical. Meat corporations do take a capitalistic approach, aiming to minimize costs while maximizing output, which makes them unethical toward both animals and underpaid workers.
Ever since consumers began to recognize all the bad things that come with the steak that they are eating, many have adopted a vegan or vegetarian diet. Yet, a meat-free lifestyle could be challenging, especially because the sources of high-quality protein become more limited. Although there exist plenty of substitutes, including chickpeas, lentils, etc., tofu and quinoa are the only non-animal-based products that contain all nine essential amino acids.
Another potential challenge of giving up animal protein is a lack of feeling of satiety. As such, vegans and vegetarians often turn to mono and/or polyunsaturated fats like nuts to keep them full, almonds being the most popular nut choice of all. Harvard Medical Schools emphasized the fact that a 4 oz chicken breast provides 30g of protein, while 4 oz of almonds provide 24g of protein, making nuts a fantastic substitute.
But here is the dilemma: according to the Water Footprint Network, it takes 34 liters of water to produce 1g of chicken meat, while it takes 139 liters to produce 1g of nuts.
But the plight does not end there. Back in 2014 Quartz reported that California’s almond industry is «completely reliant on honeybees to pollinate its almond trees. The industry requires 1.4 million bee colonies». If these colossal numbers were a reality six years ago, one can only wonder about how much almond production is affecting bees today. Beyond that, Quartz also highlighted that «many of the mercenary pollinating bees brought to California died due to exposure to pesticides».
Of course, the almond industry goes beyond the nuts themselves, cultivating another environmentally harmful movement: alternative milk. According to the Guardian, it takes «1,611 US gallons (6,098 liters) to produce 1 liter of almond milk». This statistic is highly problematic, considering that alternative milk sales have been surging. The numbers show it all. The almond industry might be crueltry-free, however, it certainly isn't the eco-friendly product that it was once deemed to be.
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