I get this a lot: “Why would you give up meat? Why would you do that to yourself? Man, I can’t imagine!” so I would like to debunk this mystery of why vegetarians would want to subject themselves to a meatless life.
To start off, to any vegetarians reading this, I applaud your life choices, willpower and perseverance. To any non-vegetarians, I’m glad that you are taking 3-minutes out of your day to be open-minded.
It’s difficult to be a vegetarian in today’s society, especially being American where turkey is the center of Thanksgiving every year and hamburgers and hot dogs are a way of life.
Even so, an increasing amount of people are trying to reduce the amount of meat in their household, and the simple question is, why?
Well, firstly, pollution! Our Earth is not doing great right now, whether you think climate change is a real issue or a ‘Chinese hoax’, there have been some abnormalities lately, with frequent natural disasters harming societies. A large part of the Earth’s pollution comes from agriculture as raising and then transporting millions of animals causes more pollution than all transportation systems in the world combined. Also, animal waste can get into groundwater or the air, and harmful toxins can be released into nature harming all kinds of species – including humans who eat the fish in polluted rivers or just breathe air in these areas.
Secondly, resources: raising animals requires millions of gallons of water which could be used for different things, such as helping with increasingly frequent droughts. Also, raising a whole lot of animals for billions of people to eat takes up a lot of valuable land which could be used for so many other things! Since most land is being used for agriculture, the need for viable land leads to deforestation and other forms of destruction of nature which is leading to many entire ecosystems being destroyed and species continuing to face extinction.
Thirdly, health: most animals are not given proper and humane treatment or a healthy diet. Companies find all kinds of loopholes to exploit just to make more money, so you have to be careful at the store. “Cage-free” can still mean cramped in a tight space, just not technically in a cage. And, to save money, animals can be fed a cheap GMO-filled diet, which is not healthy for humans to consume. Being a vegetarian can lead to a lower risk of having many health conditions as well, such as high total cholesterol, high blood pressure, high body mass index (BMI), and more. These can all lead to life-threatening problems in the future, such as heart disease, cancer, and type-2 diabetes.
To begin to help with all of this can mean even small steps – perhaps try to implement “Meatless Mondays” in your household, where just once a week, you eat no meat. It can make a HUGE impact:
According to “The Environmental Impacts of Going Vegetarian for One Day” by VegNews.com, if the whole country ate vegetarian for only one day every week, we would save –
- 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost four months
- 1.5 billion pounds of crops that would otherwise be fed to livestock—enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year
- 70 million gallons of gas, enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico with plenty to spare
- 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware
- 33 tons of antibiotics
- 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages
- 4.5 million tons of animal excrement, which would eliminate almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant
Overall, even just trying to implement a more aware lifestyle, choosing organic and pasteurized animal products, can make a big difference for your health, your family’s health and the health of the entire planet.
To view some great vegetarian recipes (like the awesome veggie burger in the photo), see https://vegnews.com/recipes