Happy 45th Earth Day, a wonderful day to be grateful for our home and reflect on how we might change our habits to preserve and protect the Earth and all the lives it contains. As Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day stated, “Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”
How can we achieve this "environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures"? Well, we can start by treating everyday like Earth Day! The simplest and most effective way to do this is adopting a plant-based diet! If you decide to ditch dairy, eggs, and meat, your impact will be tremendous. Not only will you help the environment and all those that live on this Earth, but with by focusing on a plant-based or vegan diet, you will also improve your own health and help save animals from unimaginable cruelties.
What we do every single day makes a difference, and the choice of what we eat has a huuuuuge impact, an impact that most people underestimate. If you choose vegan, you are treating everyday like Earth Day, because not only are you valuing the life of all the creatures on this Earth, but by not eating animals or animal products you are also saving the environment.
By going vegan, you make a significant impact by:
- Conserving water - A study at Cornell University found that producing one pound of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing one pound of grain protein. Another study adds to the overflow of evidence finding that the amount of water needed to produce one pound of beef is almost 1,600 gallons, compared to just 102 gallons for a pound of wheat. - via One Green Planet
- Conserving natural spaces and wildlife - More than 260 million acres of forest in the U.S. have been cleared in order to grow more grain for factory farm animals, not to mention the clearcutting of rainforests that is occurring in other countries in order to grow food to feed animals that are then slaughtered to feed people. All this depletion of land often results in eco-systems being destroyed and even extinction of species,
- Reducing pollution - Factory farming is a major pollutant of the air and a major contributor of climate change, with at least 18% of greenhouse gas emissions being attributed to livestock. Not only does it pollute the air, but the run-off from factor farming also poisons ground water (ahem, where do you think all the poop and pee from these poor animals goes? That's right, it seeps into the ground polluting our water supply. Ick). This run-off also contains dangerous levels of hormones, antibiotics, as well as other nasties they are pumping livestock with - scary stuff, considering it ultimately ends up in the water supply.
- Reducing waste - Feeding animals nutrients (plants) just so we can consume them and get those nutrients is so wasteful. As Colleen Patrick Goudreau states in her article "5 Things You Can Do For Earth Day Everyday", "The amount of resources it takes to bring animals into the world only to kill them is obscene and wasteful. Right now, we’re going through the animals to get to the nutrients that the animals take in because they eat plants. By skipping the middle animals and getting our nutrients directly from the source (plants), we substantially reduce resources, demonstrate our compassion for animals, and tread more softly on this earth."
If that isn't enough to convince you, even the Federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee decided to factor environmental sustainability into its recommendations this year and concluded that a diet lower in animal-based products is both healthy and better for the environment!
If you're not sure about going vegan, even small steps towards a more plant-based diet can help - participate in Meatless Monday and see how easy it is to go meat-free, cut out certain animal products one-by-one, stop buying dairy milk and switch to a plant-based milk (there are so many choices out there now, from soy, almond, oat, hazelnut, cashew, and on and on, that replacing dairy is easy!), stop eating eggs, or just reduce your overall consumption of animal products. You'll see how easy (and delicious) it is to live cruelty-free and you'll fully transition to veganism in no time!
If you care about the planet, the animals, your health, consider making everyday Earth Day by going vegan!
Some helpful links, for newbies as well as seasoned vegans:
The devastation factory farming has on the environment is documented in the important film Cowspiracy, available to view now for only a $1 in honor of Earth Day!
It's US Veg Week! It's never too late to take the pledge and go veg with Compassion Over Killing!
Vegan.com's Guide on How to Go Vegan
PETA's How to Go Vegan Guide
The Vegan Society's How to Go Vegan Page
Get a FREE Veg Starter Guide on TryVeg
There are TONS of other resources available as well, and many vegan recipe, food review, lifestyle blogs and groups out there! You can even find local meet-up groups or vegan Facebook groups that will provide support and inspiration!
Kudos to you that are already plant-based or vegan, and much love to those considering a transition!
Happy Earth Day!