Environmental protection

When environmental protection and climate change are discussed, it is often about shutting down coal-fired power plants, sustainable mobility and energy-efficient construction. But the way we feed ourselves has a much greater impact in many areas, for example on greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of entire ecosystems. For example, meat and milk consumption is mainly responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon forest in Brazil and the pollution of drinking water here in Germany. On This website we will therefore show how you can reduce your personal CO2-footprint.

Land use

Due to extreme physiogeographic conditions (deserts, ice sheets), only about two thirds of the world's land surface can be used. The majority (68 %) of the agricultural area is pasture land on which, for example, cattle, sheep and goats are raised. But even 65 % of the arable land is used for animal farming and the production of animal fodder. By switching to a plant-based diet, the area-footprint of the average citizen – about 2000 m2 – would be reduced by more than two thirds. [1]

Graphic: Share of usable area (2008)
  • Agricultural land (pasture and arable land) 56% 56%
  • Forest area 42% 42%
  • Cities, infrastructure etc. 2% 2%

Greenhouse gases

Around 60 % of methane emissions and 80 % nitrous oxide emissions in Germany come from agriculture. Livestock farming is the main source of these emissions, because cattle breeding in particular emits vast quantities of methane - a gas that warms the atmosphere significantly (25 times) more than CO2. However, the residence time (half-life) is shorter, so that a sharp decline in cattle farming would be measurable after only 8 to 15 years. But if we continue to live as we are doing now, greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 80 % by 2050. [2]

Graphic: Methane emissions in Germany (2017
  • Agriculture 60% 60%
  • Waste and waste water 18% 18%
  • Emissions from fuels 14% 14%

Water consumption

Agriculture consumes 70 % of the world's drinking water resources. On the one hand, the breeding animals drink a lot of water - a cow up to 80 litres per day - but even the cultivation of fodder (soya, corn, wheat etc.) cannot be covered by green water (rain) alone. Artificial irrigation is used here, which has already led to water shortages in recent summers, even in a less severely affected country like Germany. This trend is likely to be exacerbated by climate change. [3]

Graphic: Water consumption worldwide (2008)
  • Agriculture 70% 70%
  • Industry 20% 20%
  • Private consumption 10% 10%



on Netflix, PrimeVideo, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, DVD, Download DVD, Download

Industrial livestock breeding and agriculture are the main reasons for the immense water consumption and the high level of environmental pollution. In order to find out why so little attention is paid to this fact, the filmmakers confront well-known environmental organisations with uncomfortable questions, but also set out to find sustainable alternatives in order to offer solutions for better environmental protection. The documentary is also available in many languages.

watch the trailer | visit website

The End of Meat

on PrimeVideo, GooglePlay, YouTube, iTunes, Vimeo, DVD, Maxdome, Microsoft, Videoload, Freenet

The documentary explores what a world would look like without eating meat. Philosophers, scientists, artists and activists, among others, have their say. The End of Meat focuses primarily on the role of animals in society. It examines the benefits of a plant-based diet and the effects of our consumption on the environment. The documentary is available in English (original title: Eine Welt ohne Fleisch).

watch the trailer | visit website


for free on YouTube, German title: Verschwörung gegen die Weltmeere

Seaspiracy is a short, eye-opening documentary packed with facts and figures about fishing and how eating fish not only ruins our planet and oceans, but is also incredibly harmful to our health. It also deals with the forgotten victims, the fish that are sentient beings and suffer from pain and stress, when they are suddenly taken away from their natural environment. 

watch for free

Cow's milk vs. plant milk

In the debate about the negative effects of meat consumption on the climate, one foodstuff is often neglected: cow's milk. Swedish oat milk producer Oatly commissioned a study showing that oat milk is 69 % less harmful to the climate than half-fat cow's milk, requires only 39% of the energy to produce and uses 82 % less land for cultivation. [4]


Is organic animal farming more ecological?

Organic farmers who produce plant products use more natural pesticides, more robust varieties and a variety of crop rotations, and thus have less impact on the environment. But how does organic livestock farming compare? Of course, the consumption certified "organic" animals bred in Germany has a better climate footprint than imported beef from South America. But it is remarkable that organic meat often performs worse than meat from conventional production. There are simple reasons for this: "The animals [...] live longer, eat more and emit more", says Julia Weiß from the Institute for Ecological Economy Research. Compared to the plant-based alternatives, regional organic animal products perform poorly, as can be seen in the table. [5]

Table: CO2-emissions of selected products (per kg)

Product (1 kg) Conventional Organic
Beef 23,6 kg 20,2 kg
Pork 6,35 kg 5,64 kg
Chicken meat 4,2 kg 6,7 kg
Tofu (soya) 1,66 kg 0,79 kg
Millet bratling 0,52 kg no data
Wheat (seitan) 0,3 kg 0,19 kg
  • Rindfleisch (konventionell): 23,6 kg
  • Rindfleisch (Bio): 20,2 kg
  • Schweinefleisch (konventionell): 6,35 kg
  • Schweinefleisch (Bio): 5,64 kg
  • Hühnchenfleisch (konventionell): 4,2 kg
  • Hühnchenfleisch (Bio): 6,7 kg
  • Tofu (konventionell): 1,66 kg
  • Hirse-Bratlinge (konventionell): 0,52 kg
  • Weizen/Seitan (konventionell): 0,3 kg


More than two-thirds of the world's fish stocks are acutely threatened or depleted – if we continue to fish as much as we do now, we could see fish-free oceans by 2048, with drastic consequences for the entire ecosystem. Currently, 2.7 trillion animals are pulled out of the sea every year, and for every fish, shrimp or whale caught, an average of up to 5 marine animals are accidentally caught and thrown back into the sea as by-catch. Aquacultures are not an ecological alternative, because for 1 kg of farmed salmon, for example, several kilos of wild-caught fish have to be fed – in the case of tuna farming even considerably more. [6]

Graphic: Commercially exploited fish stocks (2015)
  • at the breaking point 60% 60%
  • overfished 33% 33%
  • moderately fished 7% 7%

Groundwater pollution

Another problem of animal farming is the contamination of drinking water with liquid manure (as nitrate fertiliser). In Germany, 190 million tons are dumped on the fields every year, but the plants cannot absorb everything, so that a lot ends up in groundwater, rivers or lakes. Nitrate levels are particularly high in many regions with intensive livestock farming, such as Lower Saxony. This can be life-threatening for infants, but even for adults too much converted nitrite in the body can lead to a restriction of oxygen transport. With the liquid manure, the antibiotics injected into the animals can contaminate the groundwater, as the pesticides from the intensive cultivation of cattle feed. [7]

Graphic: Nitrate measurements in groundwater (Germany)
  • problematic values 35% 35%
  • slightly contaminated 22% 22%
  • significantly above limit 14% 14%

Rainforest logging

Agricultural animal farming is responsible for up to 91 % of the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Currently, 1 to 2 hectares per second are being destroyed, mainly for livestock breeding and the cultivation of soya, which is exported as animal fodder to the whole world. This is not only problematic for biodiversity (137 plant and animal species die there every day), but also for the global climate: the primeval forests are responsible for 40 % of the oxygen in the air and, when they are cleared (by burning), they release stored CO2 back into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. (Note: The soy used in plant-based products such as organic tofu is almost only produced regionally in Germany or the neighbouring EU countries). [8]

Graphic: Deforestation of the Amazon in hectares (1970-2014)
  • 2014: 30 Mio. hectares
  • 1990: 11,5 Mio. hectares
  • 1970: 1 Mio. hectares

1. Landnutzung

2. Treibhausgase

3. Wasserverbrauch

4. Kuhmilch vs. Pflanzenmilch

5. Bio-Tierhaltung

6. Überfischung

7. Grundwasser-Verschmutzung

8. Urwald-Abholzung