March 26, 2007

Green Like Veggies

At one of my favourite vegan restaurants, Native Foods, the manager always writes animal friendly quotes on the chalkboards that line the walls of the restaurant. The other night I sat under a sign that read, "According to a new UN report, the meat & dairy industry produce more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined." I sat under that sign pondering how powerful that statement is and finally asked the manager for more information. She had taken that quote from VegNews Magazine.
A quick search lead me to the UN report and this article relating to the report:

"Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions."
"Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing."

Why was this so shocking? I became vegetarian in 7th grade after researching a report on rainforests and was horrified by what the meat industry did to the land. I remember crying while reading about the deforestation. Now, 15 years later, I am surprised and horrified by the fact that this continues almost unnoticed.

Global warming and pollution are huge issues right now, as they should be, but the issue is always addressed in terms of cars and "industry" [in general]. It seems to me that people could have a larger effect on global warming if they gave up meat & dairy en masse. We need to reduce & rethink transportation methods in terms of CO2 emissions; doing so could have a huge effect but according to this report if meat & dairy consumption double by 2050, no hybrid car has a chance of making a dent in global warming. Scary.

So what can you do? Give up or reduce meat & dairy consumption. There are already a million health reasons to do so and more so, a billion amazing & delicious reasons.

Here is a list of some of my favourite vegan [don't let that word scare you; vegans have a wonderfully rich and varied diet and are not all "preachy" and righteous. Plus dark chocolate and most sugars are totally vegan, OK and french fries are as well.] recipe resources:

  1. Vegan Lunchbox
  2. Post Punk Kitchen [I have had amazing results with her recipes]
  3. Also check out her Vegan Cupcake book!
  4. The Vegan Chef
  5. Veg Web
  6. Vegan Food
  7. Becoming Vegan [first and best vegan health book I have owned]

More reason to eat your organic veggies!



Anonymous said...

It's a shame vegos don't have the same advertising dollar hey!

tracy said...

wow! startling and frightening! certainly "food for thought" here. thank you. and for the links too!

cally said...

Excellent post!

I've thinking about this a lot recently. You've done brilliantly to highlight it here as it is such an important thing on so so many levels.

I'm already veggie by choice and vegan due to allergies, but had the allergies not been an issue you'd have just converted me!

I'm looking forward to delving into your recipe links for some fresh inspiration.

ms. pea said...

So we all need to be less fat and greedy??? Dang, what a bummer. In all seriousness, I also read that UN report and was amazed that our food has such an enormous impact compared with transit. I am a veggie, but I sure could cut back on my dairy consumption...

Nichola said...

I've been thinking a lot about this recently and have reduced my families intake of meat, we maybe eat meat once or twice a week, it's also a cost thing for us too, meat can get pretty expensive. I try to make vegetarian meals when i can. We do however have a pretty big dairy intake, we use at least 12 litres of milk a week, a kilo of cheese and we make our own yoghurt using an Easy Yo maker and powdered milk.

lisa s said...

great information.... thanks....

i want to follow up w/ a post on meat industry alternatives... you've fired me up!

abby said...

amen. amen. amen.
thank you for giving me more resources to draw upon when friends and family are curious about and/or question my veg life.


emma said...

Reading your post I am even more glad for my 11 years of veganism. (see, it's not hard at all, and the food is great). I, too, initially came to veganism for the environmental reasons, although quickly discovered other reasons as well.

One great book to add to that list:
Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a non-Vegan World

It's a great resource for vegans starting out and really fun book to read for the seasoned veggie as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this blog has already been mentioned here, but I thought you would all find it very pertinent. It's authored by a guy who's doing a year-long experiment in trying to make as little impact on the environment as possible by radically changing his lifestyle.

Liz said...

Reducing your meat consumption is a great suggestion.

There are some good alternatives to the ultra-evil factory farm meat industry that are better for the environment and our bodies, like meat from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals from small, local farms. Check Eat Wild to find local farms near you.

samlamb said...

Wow - thanks for the links! I have been a Post Punk Kitchen recipe zealot for a while now; their Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies are so yummy and no one believes they are vegan. It's always reassuring to find ways to make great food with less impact on our resources.

ashb said...

wow! I had no idea that meat & dairy were so bad for the earth. Like you said, global warming is so focused around cars, so thank you for bringing this subject up!


c.lorraine said...

Wow, you are so great for posting this! I'm glad to see that someone else out there feels the same as I do! Well done!

shash said...

hi hayley, thanks for this great post. am going to look for a couple of these books for sure! i'm a veggie, but i'm sure i'd like a lot of vegan recipes.

cori said...

I'm so tired of having to justify why I don't eat meat, when really I'd love for meat-eaters (supposed animal lovers, environmentalists, etc) to explain to me why they still do - I can't think of one good reason! Thanks for this post, hopefully because of it there will be a few less people to explain why to. :)

momo said...

Great post. We are vegan for animal rights reason but even if I was not, I would have gone vegan for enviroment reason easily.

happy vegan life!!!!

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I don't get this. "As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing."" Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this.

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