Imagine the next time you try surf or build sand castles, the beach is closed due to water contamination; or no shredding on the slopes next year because there is not enough snow.
No matter what age you are, it’s a joy to get out in in nature for vacations, workouts and exploring, by yourself, with friends or with your family. There is no better way to spend time with those you love than having adventures than checking out hikes, trails and national parks. Unfortunately, your favorite adventure spots may not be around much longer if we don’t take action now. When it comes to preserving nature it is up to us to make conscious choices on a local and global scale to protect these areas.
There are lots of ways to do this like recycling, not running water excessively, carpooling, using public transit or biking around town, volunteering for beach or neighborhood clean-ups, buying local foods, shopping with reusable bags and even donating to environmental non-profits like 1to1 Movement.
But the easiest and most consistent way to make an impact on a daily basis is by consuming more plant-based foods.
Not to downplay the other ways you can do your part to help the earth, but the fact is that animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors to environmental problems, desertification, overuse of freshwater, inefficient use of energy, diverting food for use as feed and emission of greenhouse gases.[annotation]”Growing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Due to Meat Production.” Environmental Development 5 (2013): 156-63. Retrieved from: http://www.unep.org/pdf/UNEP-GEAS_OCT_2012.pdf[/annotation]
A plant-based diet can help reduce your carbon footprint by:
- Reducing Food Resources: Plant-based diets require less land and resources to produce. If we used that land for growing plants for human consumption we’d have a great impact on reducing the global and local carbon footprint.
- Cleaner Water: Runoff from land application of animal manure pollute ground water, a resource which at least 53% of the population depends on for drinking.[annotation]Greger, M, Koneswaran G. (2010). The Public Health Impacts of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations on Local Communities.”Family & Community Health. 11-20. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/Docs/Understanding_CAFOs_NALBOH.pdf[/annotation]
- Saving Water: The production of animal protein requires significantly more water than the production of plant protein. Less water is necessary for plant agriculture, creating more food resources and conserving water for human consumption. The United Nations points out that “the livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources.”[annotation]Pimentel, D, et al. (2004). Water Resources: Agricultural and Environmental Issues. BioScience: 909. Retrieved from: http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/10/909.full#ref-39[/annotation][annotation]United Nations. (2006). Rearing Cattle Produces More Greenhouse Gases than Driving Cars, UN Report Warns. 29 Nov. 2006. Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772#.VtTVJfkrLIU[/annotation]
- Reducing CO2 emissions: You can do more for the planet by eating plants than driving a hybrid vehicle. Animal agriculture contributes more CO2 emissions than all of the forms of transportation combined, including but not limited to, cars, motorcycles, trains, and airplanes.[annotation]United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. (2006). Livestock’s long shadow: environmental issues and options. Accessed on 4/5/16 from: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/A0701E/A0701E00.pdf[/annotation]
The most effective, cheapest and easiest action you can take in protecting the planet for your adventures for years to come is consuming more plant-based foods. It is as easy as ordering something new on the menu.
Comment below and tell us how you help out our planet during Earth Month.