Veganism getting more good press in mainstream media? Can you believe it? The Guardian recently published an article discussing the amazing benefits of a vegan lifestyle. They focused on the environment in particular.
Check it out below.
Choosing to live a life with less in an eco-friendly way goes far beyond what you consume, what you drive or whether you use plastic bags. It can also be drastically affected by what you choose to eat – or avoid eating, for that matter. Yep, you guessed it: I’m talking about meat.
In addition to being an unapologetic hippie, a toy denier and one step away from joining a commune and singing Kumbaya, I am also vegetarian – just like 4 million others in the UK, 7.3 million in the US, and 1.3 million in my home and native land of Canada.
As the rush of the Christmas season fades away and New Year’s Day rapidly looms, consider avoiding resolutions you won’t keep (are you really going to the gym five times a week?) and try a meatless (or even meat-reduced) diet instead. You may find that the benefits work for you, just like they work for millions of others around the globe.
Why? A meatless diet boasts improved overall health, reduces grocery bills and provides a helpful boost to our struggling ecosystem. I’ll readily admit, however, that turning my back on hot dogs and chicken breasts wasn’t initially an environmental choice for me, but an ethical one. As a curious 18-year-old, I researched how a pig becomes a pork chop and it turned my stomach. I couldn’t face the true cost of my diet – the unimaginable cruelty, suffering and loss of life simply so I could enjoy a hamburger.
The horrifying conditions endured by the animals we eat is still the biggest motivating factor in my choice to be a vegetarian, but in the past few years the effects of a meatless diet have been shown to benefit far more than the collective consciences of bleeding hearts like me.
It turns out that raising animals for slaughter isn’t just bad for the unlucky cows, pigs, chickens and lambs; studies are increasingly shown that it takes a drastic toll on the environment too. As a result, someone who eats a diet high in meat accounts for almost double the climate-killing carbon dioxide emissions of a typical vegetarian.
When you break it down further into environmental cost per calorie, the impact of beef, for example, is monstrous. Raising beef cattle requires 160 times more land and causes 11 times more greenhouse gas emissions when compared to crops like wheat, rice or potatoes.