22 Oct Food for Thought: Veganism and the Environment
The phrase “going green” makes us rethink a lot of the things we do on a daily basis. It provokes us to reflect on how we get to places, what we throw away, and where many of our goods come from. But has it ever made you consider what’s on the the plate in front of you? Let’s talk numbers.
About 57.505 million square miles of Earth’s surface is land.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 26% of all land that’s not covered in ice is used for grazing livestock.
Also, only 15% of humanity’s dietary energy comes from animal based food.
Think about it. Over one quarter of our available land is used to satisfy not even ⅕ of our caloric needs. That doesn’t really seem like a great bargain, right?
“Well, that livestock provides the most of our protein.”
Well guess again. Animal based food products only accounts for ¼ of the protein that our species consumes. On top of that, Ecologist David Pimmetel of Cornell University has stated that it takes eight times more fossil fuel to produce animal based protein than it does to make plant based protein.
“But what about the deforestation and energy it takes to produce plant based food?”
It is true about what’s going on in South America. The World Wild Life Fund stated that 4 million hectares of rainforest gets destroyed every year with soybean farming being the biggest culprit. But do you know why?
Don’t blame the tofu. Most of the world’s soy is harvested for the sake of feeding livestock. In fact, scientists at the University of Minnesota have found that the amount of crops we use globally to feed livestock could feed an additional 4 billion people. For context, the FAO estimates that 795 million people in the world suffer from chronic malnutrition.
We have the food to feed the world.
So let’s face it. There’s something fishy (besides the devastation of marine ecosystems) about the grand scale and impact of using animals as a major food source.
And no, this isn’t meant be a vegan chastisement of anyone who eats meat, dairy, or eggs. This is a conversation that we all need to take part in. It’s not just about the cars we drive or what goes into the blue bin. Nor is it just about those poor dolphins in the tuna nets. It’s about the tuna as well. It’s about the world we leave to our grandkids and their grandkids.
So how do we eat our way to a healthier planet? Here are some quick and easy tips.
When you can, eat it raw
Many fruits and vegetables are great….just the way they are. By opting out of cooking an item, you’re cutting back on your energy usage and carbon footprint.
Shop local, sustainable, and organic
It’s not just cars that have mileage. All types of food, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and beyond have mileage. The greater the distance that food has to travel means a greater amount of fossil fuels being used. Also, think of the sketchy methods they use to preserve it in order to travel that distance.
So when you’re looking for produce, hit up the local farmer’s market.
Cut down on animal-based products…or just go Vegan!
Meat and animal-based food isn’t intrinsically wasteful. It’s the scale of its production and methods that are used that are. The simplest dietary adjustment to help counter this would be to cut down on these foods, or just eliminate them entirely.
Research from Oxford University has shown that cutting down on meat consumption on a global scale could reduce projected greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 by about 33%. This number jumps to 63% when it’s adjust towards a vegetarian diet and 70% if it’s adjusted towards a vegan diet.
Walking the Walk
At Cider Press Cafe, we practice what we preach. Whenever possible, our food is sourced locally by Farm Fresh. They even grow some of the food we use and their distribution center is just 2 miles away.
We also strive to reduce what ends up in landfills. Any plastic that we use is either recycled or recyclable. In fact, that’s what the fabric in our booths are made from. Also, with any cardboard, glass, paper, plastics, metals, and anything that can be recycled, you can guarentee that it won’t end up in the trashbin.
So if you’re looking to cut down or cut out animal based foods, but are looking for a great meal out, Cider Press is vegan for all. Speaking of thinking globally, stay up to date with our ‘Round the World tour and other events by signing up for our newsletter below.