You Don't Need to be Vegan to Save The Planet
We are what we eat has never been truer than today.
The vegan lifestyle is on trend since years already, but putting all the jokes and the disputes with meat-lovers aside, we want to focus on which are the reasons why a different diet is not just preferable but also very much desirable for our future and the one of our planet.
Today we don't concentrate on the ethical dilemma of whether eating animals is cruel or inhuman; we leave it to the personal judgment of each one of us.
The main question we want to raise here is what is the actual cost of being carnivores.
To start, we need to acknowledge that food doesn't magically appear on our tables. Everything we eat comes with a price that is not just the simple purchasing one.
We are used to addressing global warming and greenhouse gas to cars and industries, but if you look closer to what livestock and agriculture became to support the quantity of food we require, you can see where the point is.
Let's make it real and think about a great bbq night with our friends.
The production of all that meat includes how much animals eat and drink, the space they use, and, surprisingly, their digestive system (yes, animals do fart too!).
Right after, it's the turn for the post-production, which includes processing, transportation, eventual packaging, retail, cooking and then, finally, it comes to you and your eventual waste.
As you can see, all those costs aren't just economically expensive for you when you buy the final product, but also pricey for the Earth.
There is a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, that analyzed the carbon footprint of what we eat every day.
The result is the interesting graphic below, showing the environmental impact of what we eat on a daily basis. Meat and dairy hold a sad top-ranking position for greenhouse gas production.
Cows and lambs, together with milk-based products, require an incredibly high consumption of energy and resources that we can no longer afford.
In the last few years indeed, multiple scientific studies and organization highlighted that our current lifestyle it's not sustainable in the medium-long term. The increasing of the population in the following decades will tremendously boost the demand for food, and we have just one planet to provide everything we need. Around half of our wildlife has been decimated, however, the space for livestock increased more than the 25%, just to keep up with our request. If this sounds a little bit apocalyptic, it will be partially true if we don't apply some changes in our daily diet.
Early this year, a Greenpeace statement, just to mention one, reported that by 2050 the consumption of meat and dairy must be cut in half to avoid tragic consequences on our climate and for our health.
Has been proven already that eating massive quantities of red meat can lead to several health conditions, from the most common heart diseases and diabetes to cancer.
Yet, an even more severe consideration is expressed by the World Health Organization that is warning against the general use of antibiotics in healthy animals, causing an antimicrobial resistance dangerous to our immune system.
The food chain is one of the most delicate matters on our planet, a fragile balance that is threatened every day, from our oceans and soils pollution to our wasteful food habits; a threat not just against the entire ecosystem but also against our own health.
In the part of the world we are living in, eating is a simple matter of choice.
We have to start to be mindful on what we give to our body as nourishment, we have the duty to question more about what we eat, how it is made, where does it come from.
To quote the great words of the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Bunny MacDiarmid:
"What we decide to eat, as individuals and as a global society, is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against climate change and environmental destruction."
Although being a vegan will be the ultimate solution, we understand that not everyone might be ready to make such a radical change. Nevertheless, we can all do our part.
Here 3 easy steps to become more environmentally friendly in our diet:
Do you have any tips you want to share with us?
What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian recipe?