There’s a symphony of life that we’re not listening to — we’re only hearing our own voices. We’re not listening to the welfare of animals or the environment that we share in. In our globalized society, it’s hard to really pinpoint where our food comes from and the impact of one meal. Changing how we eat can significantly impact who and what we support. Here's a case for why eating more vegetarian or vegan meals is a step in the right direction.
In the U.S. alone, ten billion land animals are raised and killed for our consumption and it’s become too expensive. The expense goes beyond price you pay at the super market, the real toll is on the environment.
So much energy goes into the factory farms, and out comes waste like greenhouse gases, topsoil depletion and polluted water from animal waste. Thousands of acres of forests are chopped down for grazing animals. As a result, the potential benefits from the vast diversity of plants and animals in the Brazil's rainforest, not to metion the carbon sequestration from the "Earth's Lungs", are slipping through our fingers.
There’s also a lot of energy spent in the form of food that goes into the feeding of animals. Grains such as soy and corn are fed to factory-raised animals, with less food being produced in return. This is food that could easily feed the hungry people of our world.
Eating more vegetarian or vegan meals is not only less likely to feed these dynamics of waste, but also avoids the problem of the often times inhumane and exploitative treatment of animals. Whenever we hear of terrible abuse towards farm animals we think it must be the exception. In fact, the poor treatment of animals in factory farms is the norm.
Incorporating more vegetarian and vegan meals is a step away in the right direction, and it can be healthy and fun to boot.
Contrary to popular belieft, eating vegan doesn’t have to be expensive. This is especially true when you consider the reduction in health costs as a result of lower cholesterol, reduced salt and saturated fat intake, and avoiding the ill-effects of hormones, antibiotics, and pathogens that may lead to obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
Be conscious of some of the politics of your food. Start by having more veggie dinners this week with your friends and family!
Chris Daly is the Promotions Intern at Earth Action. After high school his passion for social justice began with the two gap years he took before college. He worked for the AmeriCorps program City Year in Boston and New York City where he did community organizing and civic engagement work. It was this work that made him realize this was what he wanted to do with his life but felt limited without furthering his education. His focus is on Latin American studies, anthropology, and human rights work while also enjoying interests including bicycling, blacksmithing, street art, and cooking.