To Eat Meat…

March 31, 2013

As some of you may already know, I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a vegan for quite some time now. Partially because I am concerned for the environmental impacts of large-scale livestock production, partially to become healthier, absolutely because of the harm put onto innocent animals, etc. All of these factors that have made me want to follow this path of vegetables mainly came about from Netflix documentaries, books, and my recent environmental sustainability minor declaration. A couple of weeks ago in Global Environmental Problems we watched the film Food Inc. I have probably seen this movie five times, but every time I watch it I feel like I learn something new. One of the contributors to the film and author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan believes that when it comes to our food choices “the best choice for your pleasure, the best choice for your health, the best choice for the environment are all the same. I think that’s a very positive thing” (Website Here). Here are some statistics for the environmental impact a meat-eating diet has on the environment.

carbon-footprint-diet-vegan-vegetarian-omnivore energy-required-to-produce-one-pound1

 

These charts indicate that the energy needed and greenhouse gases that are emitted to produce food for a person on a vegan diet is far better for the environment than that of a meat-eaters. You can learn more about the facts on this website. Although the choice to forgo meat from one’s diet is pretty obvious, there are some major set backs tot his lifestyle change. The one that has been the most frustrating for me to deal also happens to be brought up in Food Inc.

It’s safe to say that Monsanto basically controls the soybean industry in the U.S. In a nutshell, “Monsanto’s actions are designed to maximize its corporate profits, not to serve the people. Its entire seed-and-herbicide business model is designed to trap farmers in a system of economic dependence… to turn farmers into indentured servants who can never return to traditional farming after their soil has been destroyed with Roundup” (Learn more here). In my previous attempts at “veganism” I have relied a bit on protein sources like tofu, tempeh, and other soy-based products…we have a moral dilemma on our hands! Do I put the suffering of innocent animals in front of the fact that farmers around the country are being controlled by major corporations? Or I could buy strictly plant based, organic, GMO free, whole foods, but let’s be honest, I don’t have the means for that yet. While Food Inc. and other media like it make me want to change the modern food system as we know it, I know it’ll take a lot of efforts by me and others to really make a change in how Americans eat. As for now, my plan is to eat vegan within my means and hopefully be able to stick with it as a lifestyle that will not only benefit my health, the well being of others, including animals, but also the environment!

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