It all started when I started taking environmental science as one of my first college courses. We learned about all sorts of things involving the environment, ecosystems, and so on, but it was the environmental impact of everyday decisions we make that stuck with me.
Hearing about the environmental impact of all of our current structures within the food industry made me uncomfortable. There were so many things that could be done differently that would extend the life of our planet and the quality of our ecosystems worldwide.
Ever since then I always carry reusable bags, I turn out the light, I take shorter showers, I do the small things that helped contribute to a healthier planet.
This year I decided that I would only have meat once a day.
I am not going to sit here and convince you that meat production, especially beef, has many negative environmental impacts. There are plenty of documentaries and published research articles that can explain to you in great detail why a plant-based diet is better for the environment.
I will say that if you think about it in terms of water needed to produce these items, it might begin to give you a scope as to why the impact of these items is so large.
Our planet is currently in a water crisis. We do not have enough fresh water on the planet to sustain our use forever (again, a quick google scholar search will give you more background and facts). But if you use water to grow the grain and corn to feed the livestock, they eat those products, they need to drink, their facilities need to be cleaned, the facilities they are slaughtered and processing in use water, then the final product that you purchase needed a lot of water to create.
I know a lot of people simply don't have the option to give up meat. I am a college student and I am at the mercy of whatever the dining hall is serving that day unless I am going to cook for myself. That is when I decided that if I could not eliminate my consumption of animal products, then I would at least reduce them. I mean, if we were in a car speeding toward a cliff without any breaks, you would probably take your foot off the gas, right?
In the beginning, I decided to track my food to ensure I was getting all the nutrients that I needed, and you would be surprised how easy it is. I was getting everything I needed and I didn't feel like I was eating like a rabbit.
I am not perfect every day, like holidays or when I am in a place where options are extremely limited, but I feel good that I am making the effort.
I'm sure I am getting a lot of reactions to my decision. Some of you are probably thinking that my efforts are null, and my personal consumption is not going to change the path of our deeply rooted dependancy and abuse of non-renewable and finite resources. To this I say, you're right. My own actions alone will not save our planet, but I know a lot of people who have chosen the same eating habits as I do, and collectively our actions will make a difference.