“We don’t seem to realize that our economy would be far healthier if we switched to eating plant-based meals. If we all ate a plant-based diet, we could feed ourselves on a small fraction of the land and grains that eating an animal-based diet requires. For example, researchers estimate that 2.5 acres of land can meet the food energy needs of twenty-two people eating potatoes, nineteen people eating corn, twenty-three people eating cabbage, fifteen people eating wheat, or two people eating chicken or dairy products, and only one person eating beef or eggs. Everyone on earth could be fed easily because we currently grow more than enough grain to feed ten billion people; our current practice of feeding this grain to untold billions of animals and eating them forces over a billion of us to endure chronic malnutrition and starvation while another billion suffer from the obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer linked with eating diets high in animal foods.
The drugs we take to combat these diseases are discharged through the urine, flow into the water and become yet another major stream that adds to the pollution of our earth. This is an especially serious problem surrounding some of the larger cities of the industrialized world. Toxins–like other negative consequences of animal foods–don’t just disappear once we swallow them. They are excreted right into our ecosystems, although large traces accumulate in the fatty tissues of our bodies as well. Thus, by eating a more plant-based diet we could reduce our pollution of the earth, and our own bodies could become less polluted and diseased, saving us from the vicious cycle of dousing the earth and ourselves with increasingly toxic chemicals, which is part of our unwinnable war against nature.
Switching to a plant-based diet, we could reduce petroleum usage and imports enormously, and slash the amount of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide that contribute to air pollution and global warming. We could save hundreds of billions of dollars per year in medical, drug, and insurance expenses, which would boost personal savings and thus reinvigorate the economy, providing fresh funds for creative projects and environmental restoration. Desolate monocropped fields devoted to livestock feed could be planted with trees, bringing back forests, streams, and wildlife. Marine ecosystems could rebuild, rain forests could begin healing, and with our demand for resources of all kinds dramatically reduced, environmental and military tension could ease. Grain that is now fed to the livestock of the world’s wealthy could feed the starving poor.
If we ceased the practice that creates the spiritual, psychological, social, and economical force behind human war and violence, the military budget, which saps economic vitality, could be reduced considerably. U.S. military spending is obscene, with over half of the entire federal discretionary budget going to the military. It’s well known that military spending, when compared with spending on education, environmental restoration, human services, health care, construction, and so forth, creates the fewest number of jobs and results in non-consumable products, like bombs, mines, weapons, and weapons tests, that also create enormous pollution and destruction.” (191-192)