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Green Your Diet for the Planet

Environmentalism is fantastic. I think that the more people who use reusable shopping bags, carpool or bike to where they need to go, boycott companies that pollute and generally try to lead eco-friendly lifestyles, the better. This kind of living isn’t just a lifestyle choice anymore, but a necessity for protecting our home and our very lives—or at least the lives of our future children and theirs.

But here’s the thing. I have many environmentalist friends who continue to eat meat—oftentimes, lots of it. And if you’re really concerned about not running the tap water while you brush your teeth but you eat a hamburger every day, you’re not really logically making that much of an impact, are you?

Consider this: many scientists say that the number one cause of global warming is actually meat production. It does make sense, after all; every single second in the United States, animals raised for our diets generate 89,000 pounds of waste. That’s a helluva lot of waste in a second. This adds up to 130 times the amount of waste generated by the country’s entire human population.

Yeah. That’s pretty big.

70% of the land being deforested in the Amazon rainforest is done to make room for cattle grazing. When I learned that fact, I had to read it twice; it just doesn’t make sense! And farm animals in the United States consume more than half of the water that U.S. citizens drink. When you think of the water shortages happening—as well as the third of the world’s population going without water—this presents a huge wakeup call. Our dietary lifestyle is, in fact, killing our home and resulting in not just an obesity epidemic and mass waste, but in the rapid depletion of our resources and the ozone layer that protects us.

Making only one calorie of food from plant sources uses only 10% of the fossil fuels required to make one calorie of meat. And when you add up how much meat we actually consume, well, that’s a whole lot of fossil fuels. Eating meat regularly amounts to about the same amount of energy used to drive an entire fleet of cars around a street per meal.

Why not take the pledge to go vegan for just a week? See how you like it. See how your body feels. Maybe you’ll find that not only is it worth it for the planet, but that you like it for your own health and your body’s sake, too.