Monday, October 4, 2010

Go veg

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
- Albert Einstein

As may have been noted from past posts, I am a strict vegetarian. I do not eat the flesh or secretions of animals (i.e. no meat, dairy, eggs). Surprisingly enough, it was not environmentalism that led me to vegetarianism but vegetarianism that led me to environmentalism.

Nutrition was my personal reason for cutting animals out of my diet, I truly believe that a purely plant-based diet is the healthiest for my body. However, that is a different subject altogether. Today I want to talk about the environmental benefits of going vegetarian.

Fun facts:
  • Studies on world food security estimate that a diet containing meat requires up to 3 times as many resources as a vegetarian diet.
  • According to the Water Education Foundation, it takes 2,464 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of beef in California. This is the same amount of water you would use if you took a 7-minute shower every day for 6 months. In contrast, only 25 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 lb of wheat. 
  • According to the Rainforest Action Network, 55 square feet of tropical rainforest are destroyed to make every fast-food hamburger made from rainforest cattle.
  • The United Nations reported in 2006 that eating meat causes almost 40% more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined.
  • Farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population of the US. Since factory farms don't have sewage treatment systems as our cities and towns do, this concentrated slop ends up polluting our water, destroying our topsoil, and contaminating our air.
  • The average fossil fuel energy input for all the animal protein production systems is around 25 kilocalories (kcal) per 1 kcal of protein produced. That's more than 11 times greater than that for grain protein production.
  • A diet that is healthy, vegetarian, local and organic could reduce the UK food footprint by 44% per capita.

I have heard time and time again how people could never give up this or that, but the message that I really want to send out is not that everyone must become a vegetarian but instead to be more conscious of the choices that you are making. You don't need to be a vegetarian to enjoy a vegetarian meal, and the more of those that you eat, the less of an impact that you are making.

When you do choose to eat meat, eggs and/or dairy, buy from local, organic, grass-fed sources. Yes, it will be more expensive but hey, that may be enough of an incentive to eat fewer animal products!

1 comment:

  1. Good words to choose when describing meat as flesh better yet carcass, any words to help our society think.
    Go vegan for your health and the environment. Its very easy to do. I too made the choice for my health. Only then was I ready to learn of the suffering of animals. I learned that there is as much suffering with a glass of milk as in a piece of steak. For example I did not know that mother cow had to be impregnated over and over again to produce milk. Her babies are taken from her and she does not a natural death. In the end all animals we use for food end up in the slaughter house. That includes the humane meat, free range or what ever the meat and dairy institutions are marketing it as.

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

    May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.