Vegetarianism can be considered in two basic aspects. The first is diet. A vegetarian is a person who has eliminated meat or fish from their diet and does not eat dishes in which prepared animal products were used, including gelatin, or cheese ingredients. The second aspect is ethical and is related to the way of life and perception of animals and the desire to protect them. A vegetarian is aware of the suffering of animals, their right to free life, he is full of love and compassion, therefore he ceases to participate in the murderous practices of the meat industry. The vegetarian realizes this responsibility, and if there is a demand there is a supply. So if everyone gave up meat, there would be no one to produce it for.
In the past, many people believed that meat was the most important and valuable part of our diet. Traditions, habits, and statements made by medical authorities, formulated under the dictation of the all-powerful meat industry, remained dominant factors. Despite the fact that the myth of meat is still deeply embedded, the situation has changed over the last few years. A health pyramid places whole grain cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and other vegetables at the top, leaving meat at the bottom. Specialists, doctors, and nutritionists are recommending a diet that excludes meat foods more and more often. Hundreds of scientific reports, supported by hundreds of studies, confirm the superiority of a meatless diet, but, at the same time, they begin to prove that meat causes many diseases. An excessive amount of meat weakens our immune system, causes thyroid disease, hypertension, and hyperactivity in the nervous system. Although, vegans and vegetarians can be proud of how they make the world a better place. They save lives with every meal they eat. However, this is not all, as a diet based on plant-based foods protects the environment.
Vegetarianism protects the soil, you can get almost all the nutrients you need by eating only plant-based foods – all thanks to the minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients contained in the soil. Research has shown that livestock farming contributes to soil erosion and deforestation. As a result of these processes, about 1/3 of the arable land was lost in the United States alone. In the United States, more than 105 million hectares of forest have been cleared to be used for farmland. On average, a hectare of forest for pasture disappears every three seconds, apart from North America and Europe. Forests that are most valuable are also most vulnerable in this regard – tropical forests, which are gradually being transformed into vast pastures. Scientists estimate that in order to produce one hamburger, you need to cut as much as five square meters of rainforest. Whether it occurs inside or outside our country, the point must be made that it is a direct result of the ever-growing appetite for meat in developed societies.
Vegetarianism saves energy. As you know, the energy crisis is only a matter of time, because oil prices are extremely high and the whole world is trying to come up with other sources of energy for our cars and homes. Meanwhile, we are urged to save energy, and one of the best methods is to give up meat and dairy products. A Cornell’s University study found that producing animal protein requires 8 times more fossil fuels than producing the same amount of plant protein.
Vegetarianism saves water. Agriculture and livestock account for over 70% of the world’s drinking water consumption. Producing a kilogram of beef requires 100 to 200 times more water than producing a kilogram of plant-based food. The UN has recognized that livestock farming is the most likely responsible for water pollution. The rearing of animals for slaughter causes more water pollution in the United States than any other economy. These animals produce 130 times more feces than the entire human population – about 44 tons per second. More than half of the water consumed in the United States is used to raise animals for slaughter. The amount of water it takes to produce 2.2 lbs of meat is over 5.5 thousand gallons of water. In contrast, only 5.5 gallons of water are needed to produce 2.2 lbs of wheat. A completely vegetarian diet requires 290 gallons of water a day, while eating meat uses more than ten times as much water.
Vegetarianism protects the air. Industrial farming can be felt for a mile. Such places just stink, speaking! It’s not just about unpleasant odors – the air pollution they create is a serious problem. You’ve probably heard that cows emit large amounts of methane into the atmosphere through the gases and nitrous oxide that are in the fertilizer. These substances are largely responsible for climate change.
Vegetarianism reduces world hunger. Hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. In addition, 70% of the grain harvested in the United States is used as feed for slaughter farming. More than 700 million tons of food suitable for humans that could end hunger on earth once and for all are ending up in livestock. In addition, a large part of the grain crops is imported from Third World countries. More than 2 billion Americans consume enough soybeans and wheat to feed livestock. To show how much meat consumption contributes to the degradation of natural resources, the following table is presented. An area of 5 football fields can only feed 2 people eating meat, 10 people eating corn, 24 people eating grain or 64 people eating soy. Eliminating meat from the menu would directly reduce hunger in the world.I believe that meat consumption has a big impact on our environment. The food industry is so big that eliminating the above-mentioned problems and threats to the environment would be of great importance for nature, because we are all food consumers. However, we must realize that our choices matter to the general public. Nowadays, there are many meat substitutes that are not as great a challenge as they were years ago. Therefore, do not hesitate, take matters into your own hands.
In conclusion, I believe that eating meat has a huge impact on our environment, but also on our well-being. The food industry is so large that the elimination of the above-mentioned problems and threats to the environment would be of great importance for nature, because we are all food consumers, so we can consider this problem as wicked and global. We must realize that our choices matter to society as a whole. And as you know, demand drives sales. Therefore, it is worth noting that if there were no people willing to eat meat, producers would not produce these products. It’s simple, but many of us don’t think it can do anything by itself. This is true, but if we do that together, everything is possible and we can really change our environment. So we need to work on making people aware of the problems in our society, and I hope that this post has influenced the decisions of at least one person and that the next time going to a store or restaurant, will think about the choice twice.
Today, there are many meat substitutes, and more and more restaurants are introducing vegetarian dishes, or even an entire menu. Such amenities were not available years ago, so we should use the opportunities we have and the technology that is constantly being improved. In the past, people who opted out of meat did not have so many alternatives to choose from, and often faced challenges in meeting their needs and getting enough protein into the body. But not today, times have changed.
Therefore, do not hesitate, take matters into your own hands and help change the world for the better!