Vegetarian Lifestyle – Environmental Issues
By Coventry City Council on 2012-10-13 10:06:14
Some people think eating a vegetarian diet is stupid. They think animals are put here on the planet for us to eat. And that’s as far as their thinking goes.
Many in our Western culture are influenced by our short-term focus on immediate gratification and our right to have what we want. Advertisers tell us more is better, bigger is better, and even we’re better.
Those who live this way call those who look to the future alarmists. After all, the world has survived all the calamities and struggles of the past. It will continue to survive without further attention given to shortages or consequences of present behaviors.
It’s uncomfortable and some say plain unnecessary to make a big deal about what may never happen. Their perspective seems to be that scientists have been warning about the ozone hole getting bigger for years, but we’re still alive. Pollution from cars was a big deal, but now it’s been decreased with legislation. So the oceans are a dumping ground for pollutants. Oceans are big. And over-fishing? Well, they’re still selling fish, aren’t they?
Marketing ads show cattle grazing in green pastures and milk cows admired by bulls. Milk and milk products are promoted as necessary to our health. It’s a status symbol to appear in an ad with a milk mustache.
The American public isn’t shown the factory farms or the slaughter houses. We don’t hear about the antibiotics and hormones unless we search the information out. It isn’t big news that our rivers are being polluted by animal waste from hog farms. Or that there is much more animal waste than human waste but no effective means to dispose of it. Or that methane gas from cattle is a significant pollutant of the air we breathe.
If each person ate just one less meat-based meal each day, or skipped meat just one day each week, that alone would positively impact our environment. The land used to raise feed for animals prior to slaughter is far more efficiently utilized to produce food for people. Many people can be fed from crops raised on the land required to feed just one steer.
The rainforests of South America supply our air with oxygen. That supply is lost when they are burned or cut down to provide grazing land for cattle to feed North American appetites.
Every day we have more people using fewer resources. The Native American view that each of our decisions affects the next seven generations continues to be of value. The choices we make today will impact the future of our children and our childrens’ children.