Probably one of the largest shifts in the last two generations the world has ever seen. A complete change in diet – for whatever reason it may be – from personal health, animal welfare, or the environment. Either one you choose has positive impacts the other two.
Agriculture is a one of the biggest pollutants in the modern day, accounting to nearly 30% of all greenhouse emissions world wide. So if you’re an environmentalist, changing to a plant based diet is probably the best option to start off with if you’re looking for a quick fix in your daily routine.
Lets take eating a burger for example, something so innocent, pure and of course… tasty. Why would anyone in the world want to give up such a luxury that they are so blessed to have? Well, you don’t have to be an environmentalist to try veganism, or at least give up beef.
You just need a little conscience on water waste, or water that could be better used somewhere else rather than my burger that will be devoured in 10 minutes.
For the average burger, around 2,000 litres of water is needed. The contents of an Olympic-size swimming pool would only amount to 1,250 burgers. Let that sink in for a minute.
In the Western world, we talk about helping the poor and donations for better water facilities. However, we say this with a probable soon to be burger in our hand, were 2,000 litres of water could have been used elsewhere in the world. The attachment to our food is frankly non existent.
Agriculture accounts for the major share of human use of land. Pasture and crops alone took up 37 percent of the earth’s land area in 1999. Over two-thirds of human water use is for agriculture. In Asia the share is four-fifths.
The challenge with food these days and also an obstacle for the agriculture sector is to feed an increasing global population, while at the same time reducing its environmental impact. A seemingly impossible task.
*If you would like to get into the ethical side of being vegan – in regards to animal welfare, check out Earthling Ed, a great insight into the truth of an animal based diet.
But, the welfare of animals is an article for another day. If you wouldn’t eat a dog, why do you insist on eating a cow?…
Anyway, the list goes on for agriculture and it’s impacts on the environment. While negative impacts are serious, and can include pollution and degradation of soil, water, and air.
Cows are the main culprit, these are big animals we are talking about here. Just like any domesticated creature, we need to feed them, water them, shelter them, dispose of their waste and provide land for them. Luckily for the dogs and cats of this world, we don’t slit their throat at the end of the month.
As for the social impacts, it is probably frowned upon among the male community. Eating meat is linked with masculinity and if one wasn’t to eat meat, they are seen as weak. How do we shift from eating a cow, to a plant based meal and still have that same social impact that meat brings and in fact, food brings?
We have a giant turkey at Christmas, a hog roast at a wedding and a meat feast on a hot summers day. How do we have the same bond over an asparagus? Jokes apart, maybe we need to change the way in which food becomes part of the celebration, but this is something that has been engraved in us over the years.
Turkey is overrated anyway, too dry.
Being vegan is a tough road to venture down, you will get strange looks at you from family members, comments about your diet at a social event, if you happen to be a dude, your masculinity will be questioned. However, the positive impacts – if done right – will be ginormous.
It is a lonely road to go down, but it will only make you stronger when it comes to over things life throws at you. They say “If one can control the food they eat, they can control anything.”
So, would you dive down the vegan path? Or stick to a lamb roast on a Sunday? The best christmas dinner I had was a nut-roast from M&S, just leave that as ‘food’ for thought.
Credit: William Wand – The Figure Head