It is fair to say that our planet is not in the best state that it has ever been in – the icecaps are melting from global climate warming, over deforestation is destroying habitats and removing natural CO2 sinks, and seafloor life and the natural biochemistry of our oceans is being destroyed from over fishing and pollution. Its all very depressing, and nobody likes reading about it. However, there are so many ways we can make small changes in our lifestyle to help Mother Earth take the reigns back and revive to better health; and one of these ways is by turning vegetarian (or at least mostly) and being environmentally friendly.
Now I know how annoying it is when you come across a preachy dieter who pushes you to stick to a strict regime, and who makes you feel utterly guilty for eating that strip of bacon earlier in the morning – but in some ways, they do have the right idea. Without those preachers no change would come about, and that small amount of guilt is healthy for all of us to begin leading a positive change. On the other hand, nobody must stick to a strict diet because that kind of lifestyle is not healthy and can lead to eating disorders if you don’t maintain it properly. Its all about a good balance of what makes you happy, and what makes the planet happy; and that is why trying to move to a mostly meat-free (and ideally dairy free!) diet can contribute massively in the fight to saving our planet.
Renewable energy is fully on the home run, with more and more people turning to solar or wind power and switching their cars over to clean electric energy to avoid polluting our skies with anymore CO2 and methane. Still, many people cannot afford to change their car just like that and the gradual change to nationwide energy requires the resources and rare earth elements to create this – and mining enough of these can take years, if not decades.
Oxford University underwent research into just how we can save our planet efficiently and quickly, with results pointing directly at our dinner plates. They concluded that shifting away from meat and dairy is by far the single most effective way to regenerate out ecosystems to prevent further destruction and pollution. It is shown that meat and dairy provide only 18% of our calories and 37% of our protein, yet use up 83% of our farmland, and without this consumption farmland could be reduced by 75% and used to regenerate our healthy wild ecosystems.
Livestock production is the single largest contributor of emissions around the world, and fishing nets/equipment are the single largest contributor of micro/macro-plastics pollution in our oceans. With this reduction, we would not only be able to reduce the greenhouse effect upon our planet, but also save our ozone, and prevent further destruction of our water ecosystems.
It may seem daunting and a challenge to fully switch up your diet, and in all honesty it is unrealistic to assume that all meat eaters can switch to a vegan diet in just one day. What is very possible though is making small steps at a time to ensure a better lifestyle and change; for instance, eating meat just 2 days of the week, eating meat that has been locally butchered as opposed to supermarket meat to reduce your carbon footprint, switching your milk over to oat milk and using cheese sparingly. Many people suggest going from 0 to 100% committed to a diet is the best thing to do, but its less about restriction and more about reduction. If all of us became more aware of what we are eating and make a conscious effort to reduce how much dairy and meat we eat, then all our efforts will turn into real life-saving outcomes.