For some good sources of information on these topics:
This documentary is what finally caused us to make this leap. Thanks to Michael Durham for recommending it. It’s available on Netflix.
This article: Livestock and Climate Change — an explanation of why livestock accounts for 51% of man’s contribution to climate change (they explain why the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report that attributes only 18% of global warming to livestock is wrong).
Some hopeful info: Methane, while more harmful than C02, has a relatively quick atmospheric life (around 12 years, compared to carbon’s 50-200). By reducing livestock populations now, there can be rapid improvements. All it takes is a lifestyle change. Well, a single lifestyle change for lots and lots of individuals.
But it’s happening. While global meat consumption is up, mostly in the developing world, consumption in much of the developed world is declining, rapidly. Read: We’re Eating Less Meat: Why?
There is every reason to be hopeful about the future of our planet (just as there are also lots of reasons to be freaked). We are facing a lot of hurdles to get ourselves on the right path towards a sustainable (or as specified in Cowspiracy, “thrive-able”) planet, but it is possible.
And I want to see it in my lifetime.