Happy Earth Day, although, I have to admit I’m with Grist on this one, one day is for amateurs, and a lifetime of excess can’t be made up for in a day any more than we can save the planet by turning the lights off for an hour.
That being said, we can’t have an Earth Day without stopping to consider how significantly industrialized farming and our diets are affecting the planet and animal welfare, in addition to the simple things we can do to change the direction things are going.
The article Vegetarian is the New Prius appeared some time ago in the Huffington Post, and begs the question, could it be so? Considering what we know about the effects of industrialized farming on the environment it may just be, and while the article is fairly old, the material is no less relevant today.
Taking into account that agriculture is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses, along with being a major cause of habitat loss, water usage and pollution, and of course an insane amount of antibiotic use, which could be making us sick, it seems that drastic and immediate change is called for. Not to mention, it’s the cause of suffering of millions of animals who are slaughtered each year.
From the article, “…feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we’d need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels–and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide–as does a calorie of plant protein. …researchers found that, when it’s all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.”
And if vegetarian is good, vegan is obviously an even better solution, and both are much simpler, and more cost effective, than buying a prius, solar panels and a composting toilet, with of course the ever so important benefit of alleviating the pain and anguish of farm animals.
If you need some inspiration, check out Farm Sanctuary’s new virtual tour that depicts the lives of farm animals and their Veg for Life campaign that includes lots of helpful tips for a veg lifestyle.