The Vegan's Notebook

Environmental Impact

Being a vegetarian fits well with being an environmentalist. Many of the personal consumption patterns avoided by vegan and vegetarian behavior use many times the resources of their veg alternatives.

Reduced resource usage

Animal agriculture requires food for livestock. A lot of it. It needs fuel to transport that food. It needs water to feed the animals. It needs antibiotics and growth hormones. It needs materials and land space to house animals. All of which directly compete with other uses of the same resources. Per person, the single largest way to reduce oil consumption is to go vegan. An overview of overpopulation - Overpopulation is Not the Problem.


Animal waste is a significant form of pollution, according to an EPA study on the impact of animal feeding operations. Notably, this form of pollution travels into shellfish habitats. Runoff can cause bacterial contamination through Cryptosporidium, E. coli. The breakdown of the waste runoff also depletes the oxygen of water, and raises nitrogen, phosphorous, and trace mineral levels above the natural levels. Blooms of pfiesteria piscicida can occur, a dinoflagellate that releases a toxin at concentrations harmful to animals. This results in fish kills and contaminated water supplies. Land pollution leads to desertification, eventually rendering an ecology unfit for most uses. Additionally, the air pollution generated by animal farming may be substantial enough to harm local human health.