Can Vegetarianism Save the World?
One of the most effective and personal ways to get involved with protecting our environment is by changing your diet. Taking the steps necessary to eat a solely plant-based diet has a large impact on the nature of our world. When yearning to decrease your own carbon footprint, turning to vegetarianism or veganism is a great place to start.
A carnivorous diet means meat is eaten. In order to raise and sustain those animals we rely on huge portions of land for very specific purposes. Large expanses of land are necessary to grow crops to feed the animals, as well as provide a place for them to live. This clearing of the land leads to habitat loss and deforestation. Rainforests are cut down frequently in order to raise cattle. The article Why be a Vegetarian? on Mongabay.com reads that nearly 80% of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed in just 10 years in order to provide land for cattle, and every second one football field of rainforest is destroyed in order to produce 257 hamburgers.
Rainforests are a key part of helping to sustain our environment. They absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, provide medicine and food, and they help to regulate the water cycle. Instead, the factory farms where animals are kept produce tons of methane gas and the conditions of some are filthy. Fecal matter is everywhere, which is often times very polluting. Eating locally grown food is not only good for your community’s economy, but it also has less of an environmental impact. Knowing your food comes from the community in which you live is much more reassuring than wondering how many miles food has traveled to end up in your grocery store. The amount of land needed to feed vegetarians is much less compared to the land needed to feed a meat-eater.
Now, knowing how much of an impact your diet can have on the environment is one thing, but putting change into action can often be a little more difficult. While in college it’s very challenging to be in complete control of your own diet due to budget, schedules, and lack of resources. Meal plans can provide quite an obstacle for students when they want to be specific with their diet. Most schools offer vegetarian options for students; if yours doesn’t try to start a vegetarian program. Contact whoever is in charge and suggest that change be made. Busy schedules and limited resources also interfere with the way students nourish themselves. Making it to the store to buy fresh fruits or vegetable can be difficult, so opt for frozen or dried ones. This way they will keep longer and still be healthful. Salads are quick and healthy options for students in a hurry. Remember not to eat too much junk food and to eat foods high in protein. Because a meat-less diet means less protein, you must remember to be cautious of that. Nuts, beans, and tofu are good sources of protein. Taking multivitamins is also a good way to get all of the nutrients needed to keep a wholesome diet.
Becoming a vegetarian is a big step and isn’t always easy, but the environment will benefit greatly from it. Even taking small steps rather than changing your whole lifestyle completely is one way of contributing to our environment. Make a few days out of your week meat-less if you aren’t quite ready to make vegetarianism a lifestyle. Your carbon footprint will begin to shrink and our Earth’s environment will thrive off of that in an incredible way.
University of Tennessee ‘15
We are continuing to email the “Get Involved” packets for ISF College. In this packet you will find all the tools necessary to begin getting involved. If you are interested in receiving a packet please send an email to ISFCollegeProgram@gmail.com. Please include the school you are attending and what you are studying. If you have sent us an email but have not received a packet please check your Spam folder and if it is not there then send us another email and we will get right on it!
Even though we have a page instead of monthly newsletter, we still need article contributors! These are people just like you who are sharing their passions and raising awareness. Please keep those articles coming! Send your ideas or your article to ISFCollegeProgram@gmail.com.