Written by: Morgan Kravarik
Recycle your plastic, turn off the water and lights when not in use, and buy used clothes – these are among the most common tips taught to us to help conserve energy and protect the environment without having to disrupt our everyday lives.
But what if I told you there are other, possibly even more fulfilling ways to do your part for the environment? Ways that could help not only the environment, but also your body? Believe it or not, what you eat and how you eat it can have a huge impact on the environment.
Livestock farming, for example, is one of the most environmentally devastating industries in the world. It is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the deforestation of over 130 million acres of rainforest every year. Eighty-two percent of starving people live in countries where crops are fed to livestock whose meat goes on to feed people in western countries.
To make matters worse, most of the crops grown to feed livestock are sprayed with pesticides. When crops are sprayed with pesticides, runoff can leak into the soil and nearby water sources, poisoning marine life and damaging surrounding ecosystems. The energy used to operate livestock facilities is also astronomical, not to mention the energy required to transport the livestock, feed and meat around the world. Considering the huge demand there is for meat (the average American consumes about 209 pounds of it every year), the negative impacts are only going to get worse.
What Can You Do?
Luckily there are many ways we can help! First, you can try to avoid eating meat altogether and go vegetarian or vegan. Adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet can be a huge step toward helping the planet by reducing the demand for meat, but it isn’t for everyone.
You can also buy locally grown produce whenever possible. Local food generates fewer emissions because it doesn’t have to be shipped long distances, and there is usually very little packaging. After you’ve finished consuming your food, you can even compost the remaining scraps.
Finally, use reusable to-go containers and utensils whenever possible. Bamboo utensils, for example, are a great and more sustainable alternative to disposable plastic utensils, as bamboo grows quickly and easily in many parts of the world.
So before your next meal, consciously decide what you’re going to eat and how you’re going to eat it. Lift up the curtain that shrouds our food industry and eat earth-consciously whenever possible. Reduce excess waste, eat healthy, feel incredible, and do incredible things. Make your mark on this world a greener one.
Facts were collected from Cowspiracy, a documentary that lays out the facts of the food industry and how destructive it is. Other main resource was For Your Liberation, an online blog dedicated to a plant-based diet and altogether well-being of self.