Are there vegan principles regarding global environment? As a long-term vegan, I’m trying to figure out my motivations as well as those of other vegans. I find, however, that the issue is more complicated that one might assume.
There are many kinds of vegans and some even call themselves vegetarian vegans. We adopt such a diet for varied reasons. Lots of us, however, really care about the planet. We believe that eating meat contributes to the destruction of the rainforest globally. We also know that overfishing is likely eventually to lead to a dearth of edible seafood.
I’m very concerned that the destruction of the rainforest is helping to disrupt our climate globally. It seems to me also that the release of carbon emissions is increased by the consumption of animal products. This means more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, differences in temperatures around the world, and less predictability in our climate.
Animal excrement is often, it itself, a source of pollution. Many vegans believe that the warming of the climate and other environmental effects can be decreased perhaps as much as 80 percent if people stop eating animals.
In 2006, a United Nations report assessed the degradation of the land, the increase in air pollution, negative changes to the climate, pollution of water, shortage of water, and the decrease in diversity of species that result from the meat industry.
The paper was entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options. In it, a senior United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization official, Dr. Henning Steinfeld, described the meat industry as a very major contributor to the world’s worst environmental problems. He urged immediate action to achieve a remedy.
I think that there is a remedy. I believe that many other vegans agree. We can give a lot of land back to more natural usage, letting the planet heal. We can perhaps even recover some species that have been robbed of their habitats by human greed for meat.
With a plant-based diet, we can free land also for more responsible cultivation techniques. I would like to see a decrease in the reliance upon chemicals to control pests and to develop foods that resist spoilage. Why would I want food to show it’s not fresh? I want to know. Such changes in cultivation practices can allow more space for planting organic produce as it can free farmers to rotate their crops more efficiently.
Not everyone who is vegan necessarily agrees with me. There are those who concern themselves only with their own diet and its implications for their health. That is a very legitimate focus and motivation. I can only think that all vegans would experience a positive result if meat production were stopped. If the planet were freed of the burden of the meat industry, the plant-based foods of all vegans would likely be even purer and healthier to consume. Costs might even come down.
Vegan principles regarding global environment are many. We want healthy food, cleaner air, and a return to a more predictable climate. In recent years, Americans have been subjected to years of extreme drought, deluges of rain and ensuing floods, tornadoes, and all kinds of completely unseasonable weather. Nobody can persuade me that we have not fouled our own nest.
A big part of veganism is doing no harm to animals and protecting the environment we all share. Read more about these vegan subject as well as others in my newest book that’s found at Amazon.com. It’s surprisingly easy to download directly into any Kindle or iPad or even PC and it is now available at a promotional price.
Filed under: Vegan Aspects in Daily Life
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