Why Being A Veggie Doesn’t Make You a Hippy
… it Makes You Badass and quite the Environmentalist!
[dropcap letter=”W”]hen you think of vegetarians, “veggie”, it’s natural to think, “hippy“, but seems they’re on to something. Eating fresh produce and greens have a gazillion benefits (yes, gazillion is legit) – though I’m not advocating eating meatless meats either – those are equally harmful if you’re not careful. I’m also not advocating being vegan, it’s a bit too extreme for me. That said, eating a plant-based diet can be life changing. I recently decided to completely change my eating habits, going primarily vegetarian, as well as cutting out most carbs and meats. Granted I stopped eating any poultry years ago (I’ve had salmonella a whopping 6 times) and turns out, that’s a good thing. It’s my body’s way of refusing something it really didn’t need. So, vegetarianism (almost) it is. Living in California has made me acutely aware of how food and waste impact us. While we have the water shortage issue facing us, as well as a continual shift in environmental health, it’s irresponsible not to take a look at what we can do as individuals to have a larger impact on the ONLY planet we inhabit (that we know of).
WHY? Thanks to I F***ing Love Science who shared an article from The Conversation, my lifestyle change to just eating my greens is actually saving the fate of our furry friends, saving millions of lives, and helping rescue the planet! (Ok, so I may still have meat once a month but honestly, this newfound information was precisely the fact-based intel I was looking for.)
Today, there are more than 17 billion livestock in the world; that’s about triple the number of people. Raising these animals requires huge amounts of water, most of it used to irrigate the grains and hay fed to the animals.
According to the Water Education Foundation, it takes 2,464 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef in California. This is the same amount of water you would use if you took a seven-minute shower every day for six entire months. In contrast, only 25 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of wheat.
Present human water consumption drains aquifers around the world. Water tables are dropping drastically and wells are going dry. The United States Geological Survey says that 40 percent of fresh water used in the U.S. in 2000 went to irrigate feed crops for livestock. Only 13 percent was used for domestic purposes including showers, flushing toilets, washing cars and watering lawns. Switching to a plant-based diet or reducing the amount of meat in your diet is by far the most important choice you can make to save water.
Food-related greenhouse gas emissions would also be cut by more than two thirds. In all, these dietary changes would have a value to society of more than US$1 trillion – even as much as US$30 trillion. That’s up to a tenth of the likely global GDP in 2050. Our results are published in the journal PNAS.
4 Different Diet Comparisons
How much money does it save?
So while I say things like: plant-based and vegetarian, it’s not to shame you meat-loving humans (heck, I’m one of you!). It’s to remind you that one person can make a difference and so I’m asking you to challenge yourself to be one of the difference makers. Today is Earth Day … and that should mean something. Sure it’s nice to sing Jack Johnson’s whimsical tune, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” but singing the song and cleaning up for a day isn’t going to do it. It’s time to really buckle down and open yourself up to the possibility that eating hot dogs and enriched white flour isn’t going to do you any favors. (But don’t eat vegetarian hot dogs either, they just found traces of human DNA in a batch!) My point is, be smart about what you’re putting into your body. It’s the most valuable thing you’ll ever own. It deserves to be treated like luxury … plus, with all of the spacey discoveries happening, if you stay alive even longer? Chances are, we’re all totally going to hang on Mars.
In seriousness, the earth is this beautiful, glorious, abounding place that we dwell in that not only deserves our respect but our admiration. It grows even when it’s burned to the ground. It thrives even when we mistreat it. Today, as you sit down enthralled by the enveloping world of technology, remember this extraordinary place we live. It is worthy of love, nurturing, and saving …