Environmentalists don’t eat meat

Al Gore Connects Meat to Climate Change.

Al Gore has taken a lot of heat from vegan advocates for ignoring the connection between meat production and greenhouse gases. In “An Inconvenient Truth” he avoided the topic entirely.

But in a recent interview, he finally makes the connection explicit, blaming climate change partly on, “The shift toward a more meat-intensive diet.”

Many vegans, including myself, have been saying for ages that you can’t be an environmentalist if you eat meat. But it’s a difficult message to share especially when environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace aren’t talking about how the meat and dairy industries are the biggest environmental problem we have. How is it expected that someone who doesn’t follow the science or statistics to ever draw upon the conclusion to be Vegan for the planet?

There is a lot of evidence around the concept of cognitive dissonance when it comes to eating and producing animal products. Cognitive dissonance is a type of mental discomfort experienced when one holds two or more conflicting beliefs at the same time or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas or values.

We become uncomfortable when new information comes to light about how meat and dairy production are destroying our planet because the beliefs, traditions, rituals and values we’ve held for so long are being confronted. It’s easier and less stressful to just look the other way.

I urge you all to do what makes sense to you and what gives you peace when making daily lifestyle choices and to share, create, inspire and inform those around you about this incredibly important issue.

There’s a lot you can do, get as informed as you can by reading what is on this site and others I’ve linked to. Watch movies, read vegan recipe and lifestyle blogs also. You can post and share your inspiring vegan meals on the Global Vegan Facebook page or Instagram account and tell the world that you’re an environmentalist who is doing everything they can or that you’re a vegan who cares for our planet!

Environmentalists do eat meat, but they wont for long.

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Climate politics

Last week, 28 leaders of the European Union committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 (1). This commitment comes as a result of promises made at the UN Climate Summit held earlier this year in New York. Citizen presence on the streets of New York and across the world must have had an impact on the level of commitment and enthusiasm from the leaders in the room that day.

Greenhouse gas reduction will be achieved in the EU with a combination of renewable energy and an increase in energy efficiency (1). It is one of the most ambitious, cost-effective climate energy policies to be agreed upon. However some in the EU are concerned about what this means for big business. Perhaps they will loose their competitive edge in the market place when making sacrifices for the good of the planet. With government’s history across the globe of colluding with big business (GFC), I’m uncomfortable with the idea of big business and government dictating climate policy.

In a capitalist economy such as ours, big business rules and so far the rich nations have been getting richer from the energy usage that has now ruined our planet and who is paying for it? The poorer nations and their people. Capitalism wins again. I become nervous when people speak of the necessity of government, global bodies and business making decisions about our earth, because frankly I don’t think they care much about it at all.

I understand that the issue of climate change has become too big for the mere individual to tackle with an energy-efficient light bulb but at the same time these new policies don’t fill me with much hope either.

What we’re dealing with is environmental obesity due to the insatiable consumption of the 21st century. Society is self-destructing and needs to detox if we have a hope of surviving. There needs to be a shift in attitudes, in culture and priority if we are truly going to make change.

This is where I believe we can have power on the individual level. Be the change you want to see in the world. Shift cultural perspectives, question traditions, do what you can in your community and with your resources and choices and maybe little by little, one at a time we can create a global movement and power shift. Big business is important, policies and promises and commitments to change are great but alone not enough. We have the power; everyday we can do something good for our planet and ourselves.

Go vegan and viva la revolucion!

Paleo? Ruh-Roh

Paleo…..sigh. Its’ the nightmare of my vegan dreams. The Paleo fad is everywhere I look at the moment, especially because Facebook ads have picked up that I’m a bit of a foodie. I also have a few ‘friends’ who love a dash of Paleo. It’s a bit of a slap in the face, not just personally but for animals and the environment and I wonder if the Paleo champions realize the consequences of their diet?

What makes Paleo so appealing is that initially health-wise people get results. However this is definitely more likely to be the result of eating a less processed diet rather than sticking to the out-dated Paleo rules, which you can do on a vegan diet also. I have to momentarily tip my vegan hat to their health promoting policies of eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and cutting out dairy (a small win!). However what I have real beef with (sorry) is their promotion of meat, meat and more meat!

We have long standing research that shows a diet high in animal products causes all sorts of diseases, whereas there is no long-term data to suggest that a Paleo diet is healthy. And caveman data doesn’t count because none of them lived past 30 because they got eaten by Lions (or something). Speaking of the lack of research around the Paleo diet, there where many types of diets prevalent during the Paleolithic era depending on location and availability of food. Massive sweeping assumptions have been made to suggest that a meat rich diet even occurred. Carbohydrates from plants are the preferred fuel for the brain and body and relatively easy to gather in Paleolithic era, more calories for less exertion.

So lets assume that the people of the Paleolithic era did eat ass-tonnes of meat. How does that translate to our modern environment? The way that animals are farmed, treated and pumped full or hormones and antibiotics takes away from the potential health benefits of the good ol’ days. They would have eaten wild animals, the meat today is very different.

Another thing that makes me sad for those who have been bewitched by the Paleo fad is they cut out (or greatly reduce) legumes and grains! I love legume and grains! So sad! Whole legumes and grains provide fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential for a balanced and healthy diet.

The environmentalist in me is also fearful for the planet. To sustain a large portion of the world on a Paleo diet we would need the resources of two earths. At a time when we really need to be doing everything we can to help the environment, promoting a diet with high levels of meat consumption is kind of irresponsible, especially since everyone can be super healthy on a vegan diet! There’s no need for meat, it’s killing our environment and promoting disease in our bodies.  l like to believe that we’ve gained some intelligence in health and the environment since the cave-man days.

What do you think of the Paleo craze?

 

 

 

Save The Humans

Most vegan activist and lifestyle gurus promote a vegan diet for its health promoting qualities and as a way to protect and protest for animal rights. I became a vegan because I didn’t want to contribute to cruelty of any kind, I wanted to save animals from pain and suffering. Since then, I’ve looked into animal farming and right now, I’m just as concerned about saving animals as I am about saving the humans from the effects of animal agriculture.

Globally, we’re raising and slaughtering about 56 billion animals animal agriculture each year. Not so good for the animals but also bad for the humans! Animal agriculture is killing us and ruining our planet. Globally, we don’t have a famine problem; we have a livestock problem. Feeding food to animals and then eating the animals is kind of like heating your house during the winter by burning wood outside.

Livestock covers 45% of the earths total land. It takes 18x as much land to feed a meat eater for 1 year than it does to feed a vegan. It takes around 15 pounds of grain to make one pound of beef – which can feed a couple people for a few hours. In comparison, 13 pounds of grain fed to humans directly can feed 13 people for most of the day. Livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, that’s 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions!

By switching from a meat diet to a vegan diet, you will decrease your carbon footprint by 50%, use 1/11th of the oil, 1/13th of the water and 1/18th of the land than you did as a meat eater. Each day you will save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds of Carbon Dioxide and one animal’s life.

I understand that switching to a vegan diet isn’t all that easy for everyone but incorporating more vegan meals into your lifestyle is something we can all achieve.. Share the facts, post your vegan meals and inspire and educate to make change real. We have the power, we must save the humans!

Are you a Hippy?

According to the Oxford Dictionary a hippy is “a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair and wearing beads, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values.” So by this definition, the opposite of a hippy, a “non-hippy” would be a person of conventional appearance, typically having short hair and not wearing beads, associated with a mainstream culture involving an acceptance of conventional values. Ok, so I’m down with being a hippy now, if it means that I can question conventions and stand up for what I believe in, regardless of cultural traditions, sign me up (also sounds like I don’t have to cut my hair too, awesome!) I think most people on some level question conventional values and are involved in some alternative culture. Are we all Hippies then?

My instagram account got trolled by someone going by the name of lovers_of_speed_and_performac. Their account consisting entirely of images of cars and memes that humiliate people who buy environmentally conscious cars. I’m not sure how this person came across my account, it appears as if they were looking to provoke someone who has a different view to theirs. The comments left were harmless, “hippie”, “needs some beef”, “bull”. But it did provoke me into thinking about why people deny the science behind climate change and feel so threatened by a vegan lifestyle that they feel the need to add “some beef” to the conversation. So far I’ve come up empty.

Have you ever been called a hippy because of your beliefs and actions?

5 tips to keep you motivated

Eating a vegan diet is one really simple and effective way to stop climate change. Even though it’s a super fun and delicious way to help the environment, sometimes it can be difficult to stay motivated.

In a culture full of meat and dairy laden food habits and traditions, we all need help to stay motivated. So I have a few simple tips for you to take advantage of. These tips are great for everyone, even the most devout eco-vegans amoung us.

1. Remember the reason for changing in the first place
You’ve already seen the facts, the stats, you’ve got the knowledge and you’ve already made the decision to reduce or stop consuming animal products. What was it that got you to make that decision? Was it a movie clip? A new recipe? A research paper or article? Remember how motivated you where when you first made that decision and the reasoning behind that choice. Remember how good it felt to feel like you were doing something amazing for the environment and your health. Still want that cheese toasty? On to tip 2!

2. Don’t view it as a diet
Diets are designed to fail. The diet industry is the only industry that profits off it’s own failure. Reducing meat and dairy or being vegan is not a diet. There are many health gurus out there with various views and opinions on what it means to eat a vegan diet, but there really are no rules! There are amazing substitutes on the market for any and every craving so it shouldn’t be restrictive it should be empowering! Don’t reduce or eliminate meat and dairy just to be “on trend”, you will loose motivation if there’s no ethical reasoning behind your choice.

3. Remember your ethics
Every vegan meal makes a huge impact on your health and the health of the environment. We’re at a stage of climate crisis where we can no longer avoid or refuse to acknowledge how our actions contribute and impact upon the planet. So before you cook up a meat or diary meal, remember your ethics and where you personally stand on global warming. Honor your ethics and be true to yourself and your beliefs.

4. Watch films/read books
Everyone must watch food and climate documentaries whenever you get the chance. So many amazing docos, so little time. I am yet to watch it myself but Cowspiracy is getting amazing reviews and their website is very informative and comprehensive. I recently attended a screening of The Animal Condition which was really amazing. Books are incredibly motivating and cook books can add new ideas and perspectives to meal times.

5. Get involved in the community dedicated to change
Last but not least, motivation comes from action. Get involved in your local community in conservation and activist movements. Follow 350.org in your city to find out what’s happening in your local hubs to fight the power and stop climate change! Being around like minded people is essential for staying motivated to continue to eat the #foodforchange way.

How do you stay motivated to eat vegan and fight climate change?

 

Meat the Truth

97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and caused by human activity. As human beings on this remarkable planet, we are all connected. When the planet is sick we feel it and when human activity harms nature, it harms us too. The meat industry provides us with an intrinsically linked phenomenon of connected planetary and human health. Meat and dairy production is killing our planet at the same rate it is killing us.

Al Gore was asked why he never speaks of the fact that animal agriculture is causing approximately 18% of the gases that cause climate change, he stated “For most people, the role of animal agriculture in climate change is too inconvenient of a truth.” 1.

This isn’t good enough. This is a truth that now more than ever needs to be spread and acted upon. Is it too inconvenient for us to eat vegetarian and vegan meals more often? Animal agriculture is responsible for producing more climate change gases than every car, truck, bus, boat and plane on the planet combined.2. Meat is surely easier to give up than transport right?

But there’s another inconvenient truth that we’ve been avoiding. We don’t only have a global climate crisis, we also have a global health crisis. World health budgets are being heavily invested into curing people of diseases caused by the consumption of animal products. Meat and dairy consumption has been linked as the root source of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. 3.

Climate change is complicated and I don’t even pretend to understand most of it, but the connection between animal agriculture, our health and the planets health is so obvious. We owe it to our bodies and we owe it to the planet to eat more vegan and vegetarian meals and to lead by example to encourage others to do the same.

We have the power to shape our planet, our lives and our future for generations to come. Cook a vegan meal, share a vegan meal, post it, spread the message and make the connection. We can all make such a difference, and it’s now up to us. The truth is out!

7 unlikely reasons to go Vegan

Second to being asked “where do you get your protein?” I always get asked “why are you vegan?” (ummmmm why aren’t you???) There are an infinite amount of reasons to be vegan (very few not to be), here are just 7.

1. NOT BEING VEGAN IS CONFUSING
If you’ve ever had a pet you might find the following confusing. Why eat some kinds of animals and not others? When you really think about it, what’s the difference between a puppy and a piglet? (apart from pigs having superior intelligence). Why befriend one and send the other to slaughter for brunch? It is always something that has left me puzzled. Some theorists say it’s speciesism, we’ve been culturally conditioned to think of some animals as different and less worthy of our care and protection. Cut the confusion (and the bacon), go vegan.

2. IT’S BETTER FOR YOUR HEALTH
Replacing animal products with plant-based foods will improve your cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol and decrease your chances of getting arthritis, type 2 diabetes and most cancers. You will likely drop some weight and have great energy levels!

3. YOU’RE IN GOOD COMPANY
If it’s good enough for celebrities, it’s good enough for me! Bill Clinton, Carrie Underwood, Al Gore, Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, Alicia Silverstone, Usher, Joaquin Pheonix and Thom Yorke – all my besties.

4. SAVE THE PLANET
Animal agriculture is the most destructive force on climate change. Methane emissions from farmed animals are twice as toxic as carbon that comes from burning fossil fuels. A recent food study showed that meat, fish, dairy and eggs emitted the highest levels of carbon per kilogram. For more info on this check out my post Food For Change.

5. IT’S AN EXCUSE TO EAT AND MAKE MORE BAKED GOODS THAN YOU EVER HAVE IN YOUR LIFE
There are few joys in this world that compare to vegan baking. Vegan baking involves a special alchemy that allows you to re-create your childhood favorites (sans cruelty and carbon) while taking flavor to a whole other level. It’s incredible what special pantry ingredients can be used to whip up the BEST cookies at a moments notice. If you’re a beginner, The Post Punk Kitchen will get you there.

6. PUT AN END TO CRUELTY
Factory farming treats animals like mechanical units of protein for profit. Animals are sensitive, intelligent with complex relational and emotional lives. It’s difficult to witness their pain and suffering as any different to ours. The worst part about the pain these animals go through in their short lives is that it is completely unnecessary. One of the best reasons to be vegan is to divest from cruelty.

7. YOU CAN PISS OFF YOUR PARENTS
My rebellious teen faze will never end! Although my parents have accepted my veganism (and even eat tofu with me occasionally), I can still give the finger to mainstream society. Always question, always be true to yourself and always do what you think is right, no matter what you’ve been told, conditioned or brought up to believe. Make up your own mind and don’t be afraid to rebel against the masses for what you think is right.

 

Should we cry over spilt Milk?

The carbon dioxide emissions (carbon footprint) caused by our personal behavior is driven to a large extent by the type and quality of our food. The amount of greenhouse gases caused by the production of food differs very much from one food type to the other. With the amount of food that is wasted in the average household, this carbon footprint rises significantly. 2

In Australia, 4,000,000 tonnes of food is wasted each year. If you add up all the food Australia wastes each year, it would be enough to fill 450,000 garbage trucks. When you throw out food, you also waste the water, fuel and resources it took to produce and get the food to your plate. When food rots with other organics in landfill it gives off the greenhouse gas methane, which is 25 more times more potent than carbon pollution that comes out of your car exhaust. 1

So should we be crying over spilt milk? The production of 1L of Milk causes about 0.9kg of CO2. The same quantity of CO2 is released when you burn about 4 liters of petrol. 1,000 gallons of water is required to produce 1 gallon of milk and a farm with 2500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.3

Milk production is killing our planet and with its short shelf life liters are going to waste each year. With so many delicious, healthy and sustainable milk choices is there really any reason to keep consuming?

To learn how easy it is to make your own milk check out My New Roots – How to Make Nut Milk. http://vimeo.com/27840577

Food for Change

One of the greatest challenges that society faces today is how to reorganize and adapt to irreversible climate change. Since 1880 average global temperatures have increased by 0.8 degrees centigrade. Climate scientists have concluded that rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap incoming heat near the surface of the Earth, causing the rise in temperature. Due to humanity’s unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels, deforestation and land use greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide emissions are causing detrimental and irreversible changes in climate. A study funded by NASA predicted that due to climate change, civilization as we know it could be steadily heading for a collapse within the next century.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that livestock production is among the most destructive forces driving climate change. Large emissions from farmed animals are explained mainly by Methane emissions from enteric fermentation. A recent study showed that meat, fish, diary, and eggs had the highest CO2 emissions per kg. The study concluded that changes in diet toward more plant-based foods would be a possible solution for mitigating climate change.

If consumers ate less animal products, the animal agricultural industry would reduce their output of methane emissions. The pros of this solution are its effective and simple, it’s something that everyone can do, it puts the fate of the earth’s climate back into our hands and it’s a health promoting diet.

This is the most effective solution at the individual level to combat climate change. With this solution, we have a chance to have a real economic – and thus environmental – impact.

So I am proposing the Food For Change challenge! Challenge yourself, friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, randoms, everyone to go vegan! It’s incredible what a difference just one vegan meal can do for the environment and your health. So lets pic, post, upload, share and learn together to make a global difference.