Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

We celebrate Earth Day to honor our planet and to reflect on how we can better take care of it and preserve it for future generations. There are lots of things you can do this Earth Day (and every day) to make a difference - recycling, composting, reducing what you buy, volunteering to pick up trash along your local beach/parks, mindfully purchasing local products and food, and so on. However, the biggest impact you can make is to go vegan!

On past Earth Days (here and here), I've written about how going vegan can greatly reduce your footprint on the world, but I just like to reiterate the huge impact going vegan has on not just yourself, but our planet, and how it is the single biggest positive change you can make for the environment, for yourself, and for the animals!

If you are already vegan or moving towards a more plant-based diet, fantastic! Thank you for making the world a better place! If you are not yet vegan, you would be surprised at just how easy it is to eat plant-based and change your lifestyle so it is cruelty-free and more conscious and thoughtful. If you follow me on Instagram, you already see the wide array of food I eat and the cruelty-free products I purchase. It's gotten so easy, especially since veganism is resonating with so many more people and becoming more and more popular.

Why vegan? Well, by going vegan you stop supporting the incredibly wasteful (not to mention cruel) animal agriculture industry. The dairy, egg, and meat industries are the top pollutants, leaching toxic chemicals and waste into the soil, water, and air. Those industries are also extremely wasteful with water as well as corn, grain, etc. that is fed to the animals they are raising to slaughter. Instead of supporting those wasteful industries, go vegan!

If you go vegan, there are so many ways you will be making a significant and lasting impact on the environment. I've listed a few from my article back in 2015 below. By going vegan, you will be helping to:

  • Conserve 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
  • Conserve 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, 
  • Reduce 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. 
  • Reduce waste - Feeding animals nutrients (plants) just so we can consume them and get those nutrients is so wasteful. As Colleen Patrick Goudreau states, "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." 

Besides making the world a better place by going vegan and helping conserve water, natural spaces and wildlife, reducing pollution and waste, you'll also get all the personal benefits of going vegan! If you eat a balanced whole foods plant-based diet (even with some vegan junk food and treats mixed in), you will likely feel so much better than on a Standard American Diet (the acronym is SAD for a reason, people!). 

And perhaps the biggest positive impact would be saving our animal friends from having to endure so much abuse! As more and more people go vegan, dairy, egg, and meat production slows and the decrease in demand leads to fewer animals being bred and then killed for consumption. Can we just leave the animals alone, please?! They deserve to live at peace just as much as humans do, and my primary reason for going and staying vegan for so long is 99% for them, the animals! 

Of course, diet is a big part of being vegan, but you will also want to think about not supporting other products that may contain animal products and search for greener vegan alternatives. This would include household and clothing items, beauty products, makeup, and so on. It is actually really easy to find cruelty-free and vegan products nowadays, and there are many websites dedicated to listing brands/products that are vegan. For example, Logical Harmony is a wonderful beauty blog that maintains lists of all cruelty-free and vegan makeup and beauty brands and products. 

If you want to go vegan but don't know where to start, there are lots of resources out there. You can always reach out to me if you have any questions, look for vegans or vegan restaurants in your area, get ideas for recipes by seeking out vegans on Instagram or Pinterest, read more on other vegan sites like Vegan Outreach, Mercy for Animals, World of Vegan, etc., watch vegan documentaries (there are many you watch streaming on Netflix, like Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, etc.),  and so on. 

Make a positive and lasting impact this Earth Day - go vegan or at least start thinking about reducing your dependence on animal products. When you go vegan, every day is Earth Day! Go vegan and help save the planet!