This Sunday is Earth Day. You can celebrate Earth Day by recycling something, or perhaps by joining a group that’s picking up old cans and bottles in the woods, or you can take a reusable shopping bag to the supermarket …
… Or you can do the one thing that will really make a difference. (You can do all the others, too, but this one will really hit the spot.)
That one thing is: Quit eating animal foods. Do it just for the day, for a few days, once a day for a week or two, whatever works for you. But it’s the critical thing that any of us can do to protect the Earth, as well as the animals.
The science is very clear on this: Animal-based foods, including meat, cheese, fish and eggs, come with a carbon footprint that’s way higher that gasoline-powered vehicles. And they eat up enormous amounts of land, water and other resources.
On average, producing one quarter-pound hamburger puts more than seven pounds of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. The same amount of cheese “costs” another four pounds of those greenhouse gases.
According to the Pew Environment Group, the 523 million chickens raised and killed each year in Maryland and Delaware alone generate enough waste to fill the dome of the U.S. Capitol about 50 times, or almost once a week.
Thirty percent of the entire land surface of the planet is now being used to raise animals for food. More than half of the world’s crops are used to feed farmed animals. And the oceans are so depleted that eating fish, including “farmed” fish, is not a good option, either.
Bottom line: It takes 30 times as much land to raise animals industrially as it does to raise vegetables.
Whichever way you look at it, and with human population still ballooning around the planet, this is an entirely unsustainable situation. One way or another, it’s going to change. We can either start to make the change ourselves, or it will be thrust upon us.
We are what we eat. And a plant-based diet does wonders for our health.
If you want to be part of the change, start making change now. And on Earth Day, that begins in the kitchen.