Green Corner: Healthy bodies lead to a better environment

Before you start munching on that Big Mac or sipping a Wendy’s Frosty, think about this: By exchanging meat eating for a vegan diet, one person can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 tons per year, according to Mother Nature Network (mnn.com). Now, think about this: The meat, egg and dairy industries produce 65% of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions. Mother Nature Network states that nitrous oxide is 300 times more powerful at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
What makes veganism different from vegetarianism? Well, vegetarians abstain from eating meat, while vegans abstain from any food of animal origins, including dairy and eggs.
Dedicated vegans would refer to veganism as a lifestyle choice or philosophy, rather than a diet. Some vegans adopt veganism because of their beliefs about animals’ rights to live without human interference. Others fear the impact the food industry has on the environment. Animal feed production uses up a lot of land, fertilizer, water and other resources that could be used to feed humans.
Many people choose to follow veganism because of its health perks. According to medicalnewstoday.com, studies have shown that eating animal fats and proteins can raise a person’s risk of developing diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and a significant number of other conditions. Non-meat products like whole grains, veggies and fruits contain no cholesterol and are low in fat. Good sources of protein for vegans can be found in beans, nuts and soy products.
Now, I’m not telling you to totally transform your diet and become a vegan, but incorporating some vegan or vegetarian practices can only be beneficial. Have you tried checking out some of the vegan options at Daly’s or the Dining Commons? Rider is always trying to reach out to everyone, including vegetarians, vegans and people who are just looking for some healthier alternatives. Are you getting your recommended amount of fruits and veggies each day? Check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s online calculator and find out just how many servings of fruits and veggies you should be having.
Always take an opportunity to look at some of your healthier options. They’re not only good for you, but are also good for the environment.
-Jasmine Riel
Westminster Eco-Rep

The next Green Film, Vegucated, showing Nov. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. in Sweigart 115, documents what happens when a group of meat-eating New Yorkers go vegan as an experiment for six weeks.
Printed in the 11/6/13 edition.

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