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7 Reasons You May Want to Become a Vegetarian
By Ketura Persellin
Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.
If that weren't enough to make you think twice about your meat consumption, here are seven more reasons you might want to become a vegetarian — or at least move a little in that direction.
1. Environmental Damage
Industrial-scale meat and poultry production harms the environment — from the pesticides used to grow feed and the manure that runs off into waterways to the fertilizer that releases greenhouse gases and then pollutes rivers, lakes and oceans. You know that slime covering your favorite lake? You can blame that largely on industrial-scale agriculture.
2. Climate Change
Cow flatulence isn't just a laugh line; it's a significant contributor to climate change. Burps make an even bigger contribution. Your support of the meat industry helps fuel climate change, and eliminating or reducing meat from your diet is the biggest contribution an individual can make to fighting climate change.
3. Environmental Justice
Those who can least afford to escape the damage caused by industrial-scale meat production – the stench of manure in the factory farms and spread around nearby – are those most affected by it. When a factory farm floods, it's likely to be a minority neighborhood overtaken by runoff that includes manure, fertilizer and other debris.
4. Drug Resistance
The overcrowding of animals in factory farms increases their chance of getting sick. Farmers try to "solve" the problem by routinely dosing even healthy animals with antibiotics. But that's leading to antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," reducing the effectiveness of life-saving medications for people.
5. General Health
The hormones fed to animals produced in a conventional setting may increase the chance of cancer. What's more, red and processed meat have been linked to chronic disease. By contrast, a plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of cancerand lower the incidence of heart disease. One large study shows vegetarians are one-fourth less likely to die of heart disease. One more reason: Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index than meat eaters.
Animal-derived protein hogs resources. It uses grass-covered land in a way that's inefficient, and a tremendous amount of water, just for starters. Cutting it out entirely, or even reducing your consumption, will benefit the environment.
The cost of meat is coming down as demand for it grows. Still, a diet that doesn't include meat is easier on the wallet. For instance, as a source of protein, legumes are far less expensive than meat and poultry.
Not ready to eliminate meat from your diet entirely? Try this: Resolve simply to eat less. Consider it a meal's side show, for instance, instead of the star. Or make some meals completely meatless.
If you eat one less burger a week, it's as if you'd taken your car off the road for 320 miles or line-dried your clothes half the time. That's the thinking behind the New York school district's decision to institute Meatless Mondays, and it's a good rule of thumb: Small changes do add up.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?
For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.
By Mara Dolan
We see the effects of the climate crisis all around us in hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and rising sea levels, but our proximity to these things, and how deeply our lives are changed by them, are not the same for everyone. Frontline groups have been leading the fight for environmental and climate justice for centuries and understand the critical connections between the climate crisis and racial justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and gender justice. Our personal experiences with climate change are shaped by our experiences with race, gender, and class, as the climate crisis often intensifies these systems of oppression.