Save The Cows! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Nuclear Waste? What can I do about that? They're cutting down the rainforests! That's much too big a problem for me to do anything about it! If you are anything like most teenagers, you are probably aware of these problems, but feel that there is nothing you can do, so you continue eating your hamburger and channel-surfing past those obnoxious Sally Struthers commercials. But there is something that you can do. You can put down that hamburger and pick up a vegetarian pita, because it's hot dogs and hamburgers that are destroying the earth.

So, how will skipping the pork chops and passing the gravy help the world? It can have more effect than you would think. To be able to put that bloody hunk of steak on your plate, a farmer has to feed and water that cow until it builds up enough body mass to send to the butcher. For every pound of usable meat, a cow has to eat 16 pounds of grain, which could otherwise be used for human consumption. And this grain isn't just laying around. A farmer has to grow and harvest it specially to feed cattle. The grain fed to cows in 1979 alone could have provided every person in the world with one cup of grain every day for a year. Growing this grain to feed cattle is causing overuse of the soil and severe loss of fertility. It is shrinking the amount of farmland we have so we can eat Happy Meals.

Growing this grain and raising the cattle also requires tremendous amounts of water. Over 2,500 gallons of water are needed to make every pound of meat, which is sucking our valuable water resources dry. Cattle also produce an incredible amount of organic waste (much more than industry) which is converted into ammonia and nitrates that can leak into fresh water and kill off fish and other organisms.

Consuming meat is wasting our farmland and squandering our fresh water, and once these resources are gone, we cannot replace them. So make the change and "Go Veggie!" Stop eating greasy, bacteria-carrying slabs of meat and start eating healthy, earth-friendly food like tofu, hummus and vegetables! You can make the change gradually by giving up one meat at a time, and substituting one new vegetarian food. Remember, every time you eat meat, you are eating the grain, the water, and the soil that went into producing it.

So make the change today! Become a vegetarian and save our soil, save our water, save your health, and SAVE THE COWS! ^

All the facts taken from: Lappe, Frances Moore. Diet For a Small Planet. New York: Ballantine Books, 1982.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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