Land, Topsoil and Trees — livestock damage (Sound Bites)

The third edition of our Sound Bite Series…

The UN report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, came out in late 2006 and reported how the livestock industry is seriously damaging our environment in four separate categories: Land and Trees, Water, Climate Change and Biodiversity. All four were covered in Chapter 4 of our book; for your convenience, a few sound bites are presented here for the first one: Land Degradation and Deforestation.

Our precious topsoil is being squandered around the world to grow livestock for us to eat.

Bite #1. In 1987, the U.S. Soil Conservation Service reported that over 4 million acres (an area about the size of Connecticut) of cropland were being lost to erosion in the USA each year, equating to an annual topsoil loss of 7 billion tons.

Of this staggering loss, 85 percent was associated with the raising of livestock. And, as you can see from the more recent data, many parts of the world are doing a lot worse then twe are in the United States when it comes to taking care of our land. We are rapidly squandering our precious topsoil around the globe and have no idea what kind of havoc we are wreaking for future generations of humans.

Bite #2. As a result of erosion (caused primarily by our farming practices) over the past 40 years, 30 percent of the world’s arable land has become unproductive. 

Dr. David Piementel of Cornell University reports: “The United States is losing soil 10 times faster—and China and India are losing soil 30 to 40 times faster—than the natural replenishment rate.”

Former Amazon forest; now being used to grow soybeans to feed to pigs in China

Bite #3. Seventy percent of previously forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feed crops cover a large part of the remainder. 

In a recent post, we reported how they are now burning trees in the Amazon to provide land to grow feed for pigs in China. And the people in China and India are just now beginning to adopt our environmentally-destructive Western diet-style in a big way. At the current rate, the environment is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.


By promoting your own health, you will also be doing your part to conserve our land, our topsoil and our trees.

All of the above is based on well-referenced information that appears in Chapter 4 of our book. While the U.N. Report was compelling in its findings, it offered precious little in terms of a recommended solution.

That’s because, it is very likely that a very large percentage, if not ALL, of the scientists working on the study still believe that we humans “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy. Until these great minds understand the complete truth about nutrition, they are not likely to recommend the obvious solution — a return to the natural diet for our species.

Sound bite series…

  1. Big Picture — First edition (7-21-11)
  2. Wasteful, Harmful and Cruel (7-26-11)
  3. Environment — Land & trees (7-27-11)
  4. Environment — Water (7-28-11)
  5. Environment — Climate change (7-29-11)
  6. Environment — Biodiversity (7-30-11)

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Environment, Land, Trees & Forests, Sound Bites. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Land, Topsoil and Trees — livestock damage (Sound Bites)

  1. Topsoil says:

    Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) was created 75 years ago and main point is that to take up necessary steps that are helpful to check soil erosion. .

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