“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.” – Charles Darwin.
This feels like a fitting way to open up today’s blog, Charles Darwin, scientist behind the knowledge of evolution. The other day I was thinking about the meaning of evolution… to evolve, to develop and survive. The process that connects us to all other living species that adapt to their environment, to use a Darwinian example, the ground finches on the Galapagos Islands that developed smaller beaks to eat smaller nuts so they could avoid invasion from other birds eating their food.
I started to think about how humans have evolved and thought of nothing. But after discussing with a friend I realised, I’m being harsh, humans have evolved hugely when it comes to creating ease to our lives. Look around you now. We did that. We’ve built new machinery, advanced technology, and lifestyle comforts. But then I understood why I didn’t count that as “proper evolution” because it seems we have created our own “environment” rather than adapting to the one around us, in fact, we’re destroying our environment and in turn, jeopardising our future survival.
It’s all well and good recycling a plastic bag and riding your bike when you remember. But in fact, the biggest contributor to climate change and planet destruction is sadly the production of meat and dairy. Yes, I’m afraid to say, a meat-eating diet is not the way to go if you want to help the planet.
I don’t need to throw a bunch of statistics at you when it’s quite simple to understand. Think about the amount of water, fossil fuels (for tractors) and resources we use just to feed grains. Now imagine a cow, let’s call her Daisy. Daisy is fed these grains that have been produced as well as gallons and gallons of water (2400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef to be specific). Ever heard of methane before? I visualise it as the ‘farty’ gas that animals (particularly cows) produce as well as the acres of cesspools of faeces from farm animals. So, the more farming, the more methane, and just to give you a measure, methane is more than 25 times more destructive than carbon dioxide for trapping heat into the atmosphere (source: Peta). So after all the methane contribution that Daisy has produced, blissfully unaware, she is now deemed “ready” to be killed (that’s another story). Daisy’s corpse is transported across land and sea in trucks that pump fossil fuels into the sky, all the way to be packaged (in plastic and cling film), refrigerated (using electric), stocked and then finally cooked (probably using gas), soaked in sauce and consumed in approximately 5 minutes. Wow, that’s a lot of resources wasted because you like the taste.
Now, this is just the beef (or milk) that’s been picked up the shelf, not to mention the amount of product that’s put to waste, which accounts for a third of meat produced, we’re looking at approximately 1.3 billion tonnes a year.
I’ve never been good at sticking with diets, going to the gym every week or keeping New Year’s resolutions, but veganism is different, and that’s why I avoid calling it a ‘diet’ or a ‘fad,’ it’s a lifestyle. There’s a choice, and I choose to be more conscious, whether it be about the planet, the animals, or my health… I have to put my money where my mouth is.
The arguments towards going vegan are endless (your health, the health of the environment and the fact we’re not slaughtering innocent animals) which seems convincing and compelling enough when the only counter-arguments are, ’Where do you get your protein from?’ well, where do you think the animals you’re eating get their protein from? That’s right folks, plants. Vegans on average have less nutrition deficiencies than non-vegans. Or another argument is , ‘There’s not enough land to grow enough vegetables for the world,’ well, there seems to be enough to grow vegetables for human consumption, all farm land animals and the grains to feed them. So, there must be enough space.
Be more conscious and empower yourself as a consumer to not contribute to the invisible structures that have a direct impact on the planet. Maybe we’re not ‘designed to meat’ but rather, ‘designed to make the world better.’
Let’s change the story. Go vegan.
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(from “Tellus” Latin for “Earth”!)