The news for our planet is not great these days. A climate change denier has been appointed to head up the Environmental Protection Agency transition team. He questions the scientific consensus that human activity is fueling climate change. If this leaves you increasingly concerned about the environment, there is something you can do.
It is the #1 most impactful thing we as individuals can do to protect our precious natural resources. How is that? Consider this. The livestock sector is one of our planet’s leading source or cause of:
- greenhouse gases
- water pollution
- biodiversity erosion
- land degradation
- global climate change
What is the “livestock sector”?
It is the portion of the global economy that is comprised of animals raised for profit. So that includes but is not limited to the rearing of cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, egg-laying hens, dairy cows and goats for food. And the numbers aren’t small: 60 billion land animals and 1 trillion sea animals a year for food.
Think about this…the livestock sector produces vast quantities of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Due to this, according to a United Nations report, the standard western diet is a larger contributor to the global warming effect than the entire worldwide transportation sector (planes, trains, buses and automobiles) combined!
What to do? Eat plants…seriously!
At least nine calories of livestock feed, such as corn and wheat, is necessary to produce one calorie of meat. It is much more efficient to eat plants directly to obtain protein, calcium and iron rather than relying on a middle man or more accurately “middle-cow” or “middle-chicken” to obtain these nutrients. And in addition to contributing to fueling climate change, the diversion of health promoting, inexpensive plant-based foods to the livestock industry contributes to world hunger.
But what about protein, calcium and iron, you might be thinking. Don’t we need to consume meat and dairy to obtain these nutrients?
No, we don’t. We can get all of the protein, calcium and iron we need from a variety of grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Animal products are not required to obtain these nutrients. In fact, it is the position of the American Dietetic Association that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” 
A plant-based diet can be not only nutritionally adequate and health promoting but also delicious, satisfying, easy to prepare and inexpensive. To learn more, you can read this post in which I address common question about the diet.
Sharing information about the benefits and palate pleasure of a vegan diet is my passion. I do it to advocate for the wellbeing of the planet, humans and animals. In fact in response to the appointment of a climate change denier to head up the EPA transition team:
Between now and Friday January 20th, Inaugaration Day, I will provide free phone consultations and answer emails from anyone curious about a vegan diet. Perhaps you’ve got questions about easy-to-prepare delicious recipes, eating out, plant-based nutrition, how to feel satisisfied without meat and living without cheese. Contact me. Let my knowledge be your knowledge. I’m happy to pass it on.
I’m reminded of this Native American saying: “we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Together let’s take care of the precious gift our children have lent us.
With warmest wishes xo,
 Steinfeld, H., Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations., & Livestock, Environment and Development (Firm). (2006). Livestock’s long shadow: Environmental issues and options. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
 Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets (July, 2009), Abstract
© 2016 Beantown Kitchen- Reprint only by permission of the author