To Vegan or Not to Vegan?

All you need is love...and vegetables.

So you say, that you want to start a revolution? Well, your not the only one. Paul McCartney one of the two remaining mop tops from Liverpool, is a champion of the vegetarian diet as a means of defeating the climate crisis: ” If anyone wants wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat.” The numbers and mounting evidence that PETA presents on its website help prove Sir Paul’s assertion. Under the campaign slogan Meat’s Not Green, visitors to the organization’s website will soon discover that, according to statistics provided to PETA by the United Nations: “[the] number # 1 cause of global warming is raising animals for food,” which “causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, trains and ships combined.” This statement by the UN and PETA makes perfect sense, in the context of all the land use changes, that have happened over the past fifty years, to accommodate our insatiable desire for more meat.

If Paul eats his veggies, so should you!

So where is the beef? It is in the habitat destruction, land degradation and increased water pollution that are all a result of ensuring that cheap and plentiful meat is available year round. In many cultures and societies around the world, eating meat used to be a special treat whereas it has now become a daily occurrence, to the determent of our planet. PETA estimates that it can take up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of meat, which is grossly inefficient, which helps to explain why on their website they state that: “more than 90% of the Amazon Rain Forest cleared since 1970 is used for global meat production.” I took their online meat consumption quiz and I was shocked to find out the results. Based upon the data I provided, if I was to go vegan during my lifetime [starting at age 25 until I kick the bucket] I will save an estimated: “14,000 animals from dying,” which equals a gross savings of “165,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions”.

There really is nothing better than a farm fresh carrot, this one is from Madrona Farm.

So if giving up meat is good enough for a Beatle then it’s good enough for a wanna-be hippie, like me. So coming up tomorrow morning, check back to read about my experience speaking with Dr. Anke R. Zimmerman, a Naturopathic Physican in Cadboro Bay who specializes in homeopathy. We chatted, so that I can become well prepared to make a month long commitment to living without meat. One thing is for sure, I am in for an uphill battle. At present I tend to eat meat with almost every meal. My zero meat challenge starts on Wednesday July 7th and ends on Saturday August 7th; unless my girlfriend doesn’t kill me before the challenge is over [just kidding, but seriously she loves meat as much as I do, so it will be a real challenge in the Jakumeit & Richter  household]. If you want too, I encourage you to take the vegan/vegetarian challenge with me by sharing your receipes and thoughts with myself and your fellow small carbon footprinters who frequent this blog. Until tomorrow morning, may you tread lightly. Also if your not too busy tonight, go onto ITUNES and download some music by Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings; you’ll be glad you did plus you’ll have some soulful tunes to cook dinner to tonight as well.

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4 thoughts on “To Vegan or Not to Vegan?

  1. Yep, it’s the sad truth. A while back I calculated my carbon footprint. Roughly 3/4 of my footprint comes from my meat consumption. It was a sad revelation.

    Btw, I wouldn’t get all my meat info from Peta. Since their goal is to convince you not to eat meat, they will inflate stats and exaggerate information to help make their case.

    If you switch to meats like Chicken and Pork, it’s more like 4 pounds of grain to produce a pound of meat. Eggs will still give you animal protein at even lower grain inputs. Obviously not perfect solutions but better than the alternatives.

    Do a quick google search ‘soy health risks’, and you’ll discover that it’s not the “health food” the soy industry wants us to believe.

    • Good point Andrew A; I do have to be more mindful of the sources that I am using in this blog. PETA obviously does have a bias, because they want you to subscribe to their point of view. This being said thought, it is really difficult to find an objective truth, when it comes to the exact number of Co2e that we are pumping into the atmosphere because of our North American diets. I guess the take home message , is too be mindful of what you eat as you are doing with your diet now. Kudos man.

  2. I agree that finding objective information can be difficult. Most individuals or groups that bother to publish statistics on these topics probably have a bias towards convincing you one way or another.

    I just found this interesting set of stats (http://timeforchange.org/what-is-a-carbon-footprint-definition):

    Each of the following activities add 1 kg of CO2 to your personal carbon footprint:
    Drive with your car a distance of 6 km or 3.75 miles (assuming 7.3 litres petrol per 100 km or 39 mpg)
    Production of 5 plastic bags
    Production of 2 plastic bottles
    Production of 1/3 of an American cheeseburger (yes, the production of each cheeseburger emits 3.1 kg of CO2!)

    We focus a lot in North America on blaming vehicles for a lot of our emissions problems (and we can make significant improvements), but this goes to show that some seemingly small lifestyle decisions can have just as much impact.

  3. How is your challenge going Stafford-I like your blog !

    After being vegitarian for 14 years, I decided to incorporate meat into my diet for various reasons. One of which is that my boyfriend is aboriginal, and fishing was going to be a regular weekend activity!
    One thing I bring up to newly inspired vegetarians, is whether or not because it’s deemed “vegetarian” means it’s actually a positive impact for your health and/or your community. For example an article from http://www.greenlivingonline.com asks, ” is it organic soy or genetically modified soy? In North America between 75 percent to 89 percent of the soy beans grown are genetically modified (GM) soy. The whole debate over GMO foods is becoming controversial as more scientists report their findings of toxicity and cancer-promoting properties in GM food products on the market.” So, while starving one demon another ins getting fed, so-to-speak. Now the options are diverse for the consumer; do they buy the free-range, the free-run, the organic, the vegetarian-fed, or locally grown eggs?

    I believe it is the holistic lifestyle approach that many vegetarian-inclined are attracted to that make it a green choice. It’s more that just “being vegetarian”. By taking away the meat in a diet, it must be met with a conscious-driven replacement in effort. That means taking responsibility and putting effort back into our communities. Buying local, unprocessed, unrefined, chemical-free products is a good start. If one goes veggie for political reasons I’d like to see them making their own vegetarian burgers from the organic beans they bought from the bulk-foods section at their local healthfood store, that they scooped into the reused bread bag they brought with them on their bikeride there, rather than buying the conventional “yves” packaged & preserved crap that came from halfway across the continent. And while your bringing consciousness to your diet- apply the same conscioussness to your daily life. Everything you purchase, from the left-over packaging , the chemicals used in production, the transportation required to get that product to your home- should all bethoughtfully considered. If making a difference to our planet is a goal, people must start with building and strengthening their own homes and communities. Plant a garden. But might as well start small with dinner tonight, and while you’re at it- make a couple veggie burgers to give to your hungry friends for lunch tomorrow.

    Lentil Burgers from “The Natural Foods Cookbook” by Jean Hewitt

    2 cups cooked Lentils
    1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (or substitute about 3/4c flour wheat, spelt, rye or whatever you’re game to try 🙂
    1/2 wheat germ (optional)
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 onion grated (go organic!)
    1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
    Whole wheat flour
    3 tablespoons oil.

    1. Mash the lentils slightly. Add bread crumbs, wheat germ, slat onion and celery seeds. Mix well.
    2. Form the mixture into eight patties, and coat with flour.
    3. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry patties on both sided until browned….or
    place try putting them on the BBQ….yum!

    With Love,

    -Chandra

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