Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eat your veggies …

“If 10,000 people replaced a beef meal with a vegetarian option just once a week for a year, we’d save enough water to fill roughly 605 Olympic-sized swimming pools” … Body + Soul Magazine, 2008

Did you know that your diet is one of the most effective tools you have for saving our planet? Following a vegetarian/vegan diet has the power to save water, reduce pollution and reduce global warming. Even replacing one or two meat meals a week has a positive affect on our world.

Today, livestock produce more greenhouse gases than all the cars in the world … put together. We talk a lot about cars and emission controls … when in reality; we’d get better results by giving up meat.

Livestock also use up tremendous amounts of water. Just to produce 1 lb. of feedlot beef requires 7-16 lbs. of feed grain, which takes at least 7,000 lbs. of water to grow. Pass up one hamburger, and you'll save as much water as you save by taking 40 showers with a low-flow nozzle.

And speaking of growing grain … did you know that the majority of wheat and corn grown … in excess of 70% … goes towards feeding livestock rather than going directly to feeding us? And since they require a lot more grain than we do … that’s a huge impact on the land. Now, go one step further and think about what growing the same crop, over and over and over again, does to the land. It ruins it. If you’ve watched any of the reports on growing corn lately, you quickly see that farmers can’t afford to grow anything but corn … and that is depleting the land. It’s just a thought but … wouldn’t we solve a lot of the world hunger problems by growing more food for our direct consumption as opposed to growing it for feed?

Livestock are also one of the largest sources of water pollution, contributing to “dead” zones in coastal areas and the degradation of coral reefs. How can this be? Pollution from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures gets into streams, rivers and eventually the oceans. Whether it’s ammonia from animal waste killing fish or algae blooms as a result of nitrogen and phosphorus runoff, the affects are the same: devastation to the entire aquatic food chain.

It’s a well known fact that we, especially in this country, are big time consumers. Go to any fast food restaurant and you’ll see not a simple hamburger, but a double and triple burger. We aren’t content with a “normal” portion … most of us don’t even know what that is any longer. And the industry keeps up with us … producing more and more. The cost is not only our health, but the very world we live in.

So … it’s simple … eat less meat and save the world.

As always, I would love to hear your ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling. Just click on the comments link, located at the bottom of each post, and let me know what you think and how you conserve.