Hi all! Yesterday was Earth Day and it was wonderful to hear about all of the wonderful things people are doing to make this world a better place. I love that there’s a day devoted to our planet’s health, but it should definitely not be the only day to strive for that!
We can all make little changes to better our world and lessen our impact everyday.
One of my biggest issues is getting bogged down by all of the issues and harm that goes on in the world everyday and feeling overwhelmed by the immenseness of it all. I truly want to make a difference in the world and live every aspect of my life cruelty-free, but there is so much suffering embedded in the way we live our life that isn’t readily apparent. So lately I have been striving to make little changes to do my part instead of becoming overwhelmed by trying to change everything at once.
This was an important step for me when I transitioned to the vegan diet. I loved it’s promotion of a cruelty-free lifestyle and it was definitely a step towards decreasing my carbon footprint.
- Raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and growing feed crops) now uses a staggering 30% of the Earth’s land mass.
- Nearly 80% of land deforested in the Amazon is now used as cattle pasture.
- 70% of the grain grown in the US is fed to farmed animals. Imagine how many people we could feed with that food.
- To produce one pound of animal protein vs. one pound of soy protein, it takes about 12 times as much land, 13 times as much fossil fuel, and 15 times as much water.
- In its 2006 report, the United Nations said raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.
These are just a few of the reasons a vegan diet CAN be a greener way to live. Not to say that eating vegan is always green, if you eat mainly processed foods or GMO mass crop foods than no, that would not be a greener lifestyle. However, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! If your not willing to go completely veg. try making more plant based meals throughout the week and cut down on animal products. You can still make a difference!
Other changes I’ve made are buying Fair trade certified products, specifically coffee and chocolate, as well as research certified B companies and discovering new products that carry this certification! (More info on the B certification here: https://www.bcorporation.net/what-are-b-corps )
My campus, UC Santa Cruz, is a huge promoter of living a green lifestyle: The Zero Waste Campaign, Water Conservation Save The Drip Movement, 40% Real Food movement, AgroEco Coffee certifications and more. Every year they host a local and organic food fair to promote companies and student organizations working towards a more sustainable community life.
This year was just as great as last year!
There were many great companies in attendance and an awesome display on the aquaponics farming system they are implanting at our campus. Aquaponics uses a symbiotic relationship between fish and plants to grow produce! Aquaponics uses approximately 2% of the water that a conventionally irrigated farm requires for the same vegetable production. This allows for aquaponic production of both crops and fish in areas where water or fertile land is scarce. Pretty awesome! Plus they gave us free heads of lettuce and cucumbers grown by the system.
The food fair was full of great companies like Sweet Earth foods, Clif, Numi Organic Teas, Nature’s Path, Bob’s Red Mill, Annie’s Organic Snacks, Reed’s Ginger Brew, Odwalla, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Purity Organics (awesome coconut water!), Star Lite cuisine, and more!
They all gave tons of free samples and products and were happy to share information about their companies and what they’re doing to be “green” and more environmentally friendly! The event was also focused on reducing waste and there were compost and recycling bins everywhere (no trash!)
I love to see companies and students passionate about making better choices as consumers. The idea that we shape our world with our dollars was a theme throughout the event and it’s something I’m very passionate about! I truly believe that if we all strive to make our world a better place by making smarter decisions as consumers than we can truly make a difference.
Various free samples I was given at the event. I have a lot of respect for the way my University is striving to make smart choices and the way they are educating the student body.