May 23rd, 2007
One of the single most convincing reasons to adopt a vegetarian diet has just recently popped up. Now, obviously this reason has been around for awhile, but it is just now being publicized. What I‘m talking about is the environmental impact of an animal-based diet. The first time I heard the connection between animal agriculture and global warming was in the report issued by the UN called "Livestock’s Long Shadow." This one report sent the blogosphere (myself included) and news agencies into a writing fury about the environmental benefits of going veg. Its message is extremely simple. Going veg can help save the planet.
When I decided to become a vegetarian in 1995, there were really only two widely stated reasons people chose this diet. There was the animal welfare reason and the health reason, and it pretty much stopped there. I imagine that there were more, but when people would ask why I went veg, they would only cover those two, and I didn’t really stop to investigate or explain any further.
Things have changed. Today, with the global warming frenzy in full swing (it’s for good reason, but still a frenzy) the animal-based diet has come under scrutiny by many, including a number of environmentalists. Now, there is a widely recognized third reason to go veg, because you care about the environment. The first two reasons alone are a compelling enough to make the change, but in the "Global Warming Age," vegetarianism has become much more socially accepted and encouraged, and just as importantly, its benefits are measurable on the local and global scale.
Each time we choose to go veg, we consciously make the decision to eat lower on the food chain, and therefore, more environmentally friendly, so going veg, mostly veg, partly veg or even one day a week can help. Preserving the environment and the world we live in is not about deprivation. It is about moderation and cutting back where we can instead of consuming where we shouldn’t. It is about raising awareness as to how our behaviors impact the world around us and how simple actions can and do have major results. So tell your friends, spread the word…host a vegetarian dinner at your home. In most cases, no one will miss the meat, and the impact of your action will be part of the solution instead of a contribution to part of the problem.