One of the best things you can do for the environment and all who rely on it this Earth Day is something food-related. Can you guess what?
Well, it is Earth Day again. It is hard to know what to say on Earth Day when everyday is Earth Day in your world, but even for those of us who work in an environmentally related field, I think the opportunity to step back (one step further than normal) and reflect on things, re-evaluate our own lives a little more, is a good thing.
Since this is a food site, and since a certain food issue has been found to be one of the biggest factors (if not the biggest factors) influencing climate change as well as a whole host of other environmental issues, I’ve got an easy topic to write on.
As I’ve already written on Green Living Ideas and on our sister site Planetsave, I think Earth Day needs to be much more than a day when we donate some money to an environmental organization or engage in some environmental action or event (although, those are great things to do as well).
I think Earth Day needs to be a time when we look at what needs to change in our life and we commit ourselves to changing it (or them, I should probably say).
I think the evidence clearly shows that one of the best changes you can make to help conserve the healthy environment we all rely on to live in this world is become vegetarian.
As an introduction to why that is the case, I am re-posting an article titled “Vegetarianism and the Environment” that I previously wrote on Green Living Ideas here:
As a vegetarian who believes that living a vegetarian life is more of a moral or spiritual issue than anything else, it is something I don’t often bring up in discussion with others.
However, I have seen so many stories and studies about its link to widespread environmental problems lately, I felt impelled to write about it a bit myself.
Perhaps most notably, according to a recent study by NASA, eating meat is essentially the third largest net contributor to climate change pollution in the world (behind using motor vehicles and burning household biofuels — mostly wood and animal dung). Additionally, in total, a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) study from a couple years ago found that livestock production was responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas pollution globally and a more recent study by Worldwatch Institute found that it was responsible for as much as as 51%!
If you look at the issue of energy alone (table below via Lloyd Alter of Treehugger), you can see that the energy required to produce one pound of meat is drastically more than the energy required to produce one pound of fruits or veggies.
As Praveen Ghanta says, “The data above indicate the huge difference in energy required from one end of the food spectrum to the other. Roughly twenty-five times more energy is required to produce one calorie of beef than to produce one calorie of corn for human consumption.”
Image Credit: Hellebardius via flickr/CC license