7 reasons to eat vegan on Earth Day
I grew up in an #ecofriendly family. We washed and reused all our ziplocks bags. (To this day, it still feels decadent to pull a shiny, sleek, new sandwich baggie out of the box.)
We composted all our food waste. We had family outings to the neighborhood recycling center to separate the glass, plastic, and metal.
And here's the best part: we had a toilet with a sink on top. The toilet-sink would recycle our hand-washing water to fill the toilet bowl. This magical contraption not only got us in the habit of washing our hands after using the restroom, but it taught us the principle of water conservation in one fell swoop. Genius parenting, IMHO.
And yet, while I carried the ideals of everyday environmentalism forward into adulthood, it never occurred to me that one of the biggest contributors to my ecological footprint was in fact my foodprint. I may have been saving 4 gallons of water every time I used the toilet-sink, but I was flushing away 660 gallons every time I ate a burger.
I wandered into veganism for health rather than environmental reasons, but once I made the switch, I realized that I had started living in much closer alignment with my environmental ideals (not to mention ethical ideals). With that, my plant-based trial period transformed from an experiment to a permanent lifestyle choice.
Eliminating meat, dairy, and egg consumption is one of the single most powerful things we can do to fight climate change. So what better day than Earth Day to try plant-based eating on for size? Here’s a teeny tiny taste of the many reasons our Planetary Mother would appreciate the effort:
Try eating only plants for a day. You may discover it's not so hard. You may choose to try it again tomorrow. And you may just inspire someone else to cut back on their meat consumption.
Every single reduction helps: if Americans cut a quarter pound of beef from their weekly diet, it would be the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing 10 million cars from our streets for a year! Stewardship of the planet starts with our food choices, so let's give Mother Nature a break this Earth Day.
1a. Plumer, Brad. “Going Vegetarian Can Cut Your Food Carbon Footprint in Half.” Vox, 2 July 2014, www.vox.com/2014/7/2/5865109/study-going-vegetarian-could-cut-your-food-carbon-footprint-in-half.
1b. "The carbon foodprint of 5 diets compared." Shrink That Footprint, http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/food-carbon-footprint-diet.
2. “Facts on Animal Farming and the Environment.” One Green Planet, 18 Dec. 2014, www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/facts-on-animal-farming-and-the-environment/.
3. Goodland, Robert, and Jeff Anhang. Livestock and Climate Change. Worldwatch.org, 2009,Livestock and Climate Change, www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf.
4. Tim Searchinger, Tim, et al. Creating a Sustainable Food Future. World Resource Institute, 2013, Creating a Sustainable Food Future, www.wri.org/sites/default/files/wri13_report_4c_wrr_online.pdf.
5. Boehrer, Katherine. “Which Of Your Favorite Foods Are Hiding A Massive Water Footprint?”The Huffington Post, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/13/food-water-footprint_n_5952862.html.
6. Martin, Michael J., et al. “Antibiotics Overuse in Animal Agriculture: A Call to Action for Health Care Providers.” American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, Dec. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4638249/.
7. Waters, Hannah. “Ocean Acidification.” Ocean Portal | Smithsonian, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, 28 Feb. 2018, ocean.si.edu/ocean-acidification.