Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

This New Year's Resolution Makes a Difference to Your Body and the Planet

Food
This New Year's Resolution Makes a Difference to Your Body and the Planet

By Nathan Runkle

This year has been nothing short of chaotic. Wildfires and hurricanes have wreaked untold destruction, while society seems increasingly heated and out of control. No matter one's political affiliation, the mere act of reading the news can induce anxiety and arouse confusion about how one person can actually make a difference. As we draft our New Year's resolutions––to improve ourselves and our communities––one item we can all add that will indeed make a difference is simply to go vegan. Hear me out.


By going vegan, you'll adopt the diet with the smallest carbon footprint—smaller by more than 50 percent compared to a meat-eater's diet. That's because animal agriculture is a very resource-intensive way to produce food. Raising chickens, pigs and cows requires far more land and water than growing legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables. According to the United Nations, animal agriculture is the leading contributor to climate change.

So next time you despair over shrinking public lands or our withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, know that reducing or eliminating our consumption of meat, milk and eggs is perhaps the most effective action we can take in our daily lives to fight climate change.

Each year we spend nearly $70 billion on our cats, dogs and other companion animals, and a 2015 Gallup poll found that one-third of all Americans believe animals should have the same basic rights as people. But for most of us, our behavior doesn't fully align with our values. Despite our love for animals, more than 9 billion land animals per year are slaughtered for food in the U.S. alone, and they suffer immensely.

The vast majority of hens in the egg industry spend their lives in cages so small they can't spread their wings; mother pigs are confined in crates so narrow they can't turn around; and chickens raised for meat are bred to grow so large, so fast that many cannot even walk without pain. The Animal Welfare Act doesn't protect animals raised for food, which means farmers can legally subject them to a range of abuses, from castration without anesthesia to grueling transport.

And while the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act affords some protection at slaughter, the law excludes birds, so chickens can have their heads dragged through electrified water and their throats slit while the birds are fully conscious. If you go vegan, you will personally spare dozens of chickens, pigs, fish and cows abhorrent cruelty in 2018.

Finally, let's talk about the reasons this is also the best resolution for your health. If your goal is to shed some pounds in 2018, you should know that eating vegan has proved at least twice as effective for weight loss than a meat-eater's diet. On average, vegans weigh less and have lower rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer. And you'll likely enjoy not only outward benefits like clearer skin and less bloating; you'll also feel more beautiful on the inside.

We can't know what 2018 will bring, but we do know that reducing or eliminating our consumption of animal products will help fight climate change, reduce animal cruelty and improve our health. In a world that feels increasingly nasty and cynical, eating vegan is casting a vote for progress, compassion, and hope, every single day.

Nathan Runkle is founder and president of Mercy For Animals. His new book is Mercy For Animals: One Man's Quest to Inspire Compassion and Improve the Lives of Farm Animals.

Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch