My New Lifestyle and the Environment

This just happened:

I throw out a plastic bag that, a few minutes ago, had been full of popcorn I saved from last night.

My roommate takes notice.

“You know you can wash those?  That’s like, really bad for the environment.”

I looked disdainfully at the trashcan.

“Well, it’s in the trash now, so I’m not going to take it out.”

“That’s really bad of you.”

I thought to myself about how often I use Tupperware and not plastic bags.  How I bring a reusable bag almost every time I go shopping.  And then I got a bit miffed.

“You know what’s the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions and methane gases?”

My roommate threw me a nasty look.

“Factory farming.  Of animals.”

“Well I’m doing everything I can to help the environment,” she responded.

“So am I,” was my retort.

“If I went vegetarian, I wouldn’t be healthy.  I get my protein and fiber from meat.”

And I went off some more.

“Meat doesn’t have any fiber in it.  Most Americans get twice the protein they actually need, anyway.”

“I wouldn’t be a healthy vegetarian.”

We each put our headphones back into our ears.

***

From the book Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health by Gene Stone:

“The United Nations has determined that raising livestock for food purposes generates more climate-heating gases than do all carbon-dioxide-emitting vehicles combined—in other words, cows are worse than cars. Some startling figures: The livestock sector accounts for nearly 10 percent of human-induced carbon dioxide emissions, 37 percent of methane emissions (methane is about 23 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas). It also produces 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions (nitrous oxide is 296 times more powerful than CO2) and 64 percent of human-induced ammonia emissions, a significant contributor to acid rain.”

And

“A report in New Scientist estimated that driving a hybrid car could save about one ton of CO2 emissions per year but adopting a plant-based diet would save nearly one and a half tons over a comparable period.”

One more

“According to a 2006 University of Chicago study, the average American diet derives 47 percent of its calories from animal products. This amounts to a carbon “footprint” (i.e., impact) of 2.52 tons of CO2 emissions per person per year.”

***

There are plenty of other great quotes, but I’ll leave it at that.  I’m not frustrated with my roommate – I’m frustrated at the misinformation.  Why would we think that meat contains fiber?  I only know it doesn’t because of my research into vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.  But what about everyone else?

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7 Comments

Filed under Big Issues, Reactions

7 responses to “My New Lifestyle and the Environment

  1. *hugs* You can’t change the world in one night. Hang in there.
    I really need to pick up that book. Once again, thank you. You have been a wealth of knowledge to me. =0)

  2. elle

    Great post! Hugely informative. Recently, I’m finding that I’m on the verge of losing a few friends because I just can’t deal with the constant lecturing anymore about my “poor unhealthy diet” and the attempts to get me to eat animal products…I just wish they would read this =P

    • Learning to talk with other about my vegetarianism has definitely been tricky, and nothing like what I expected. That’s a bummer that people are lecturing you. Hopefully you can work through it and find a way to get your point across without becoming the ‘vegetarian that no one wants to be around.’

  3. Love this post! Since going vegetarian Ive had a few people try to argue with me about how you need meat for protein and that animal farming doesnt effect the environment! Im the same ive only found out about all the damages etc from going vegetarian and reading about it, its so frustrating that people can be so ignorant and blind to the benefits of even cutting back on meat a few days a week!
    I think people arent educated on it because there is so much money involved in sales of animal products

    • I totally agree with you – how can I compete with companies that spend millions persuading me that their animal products are the best option for me? It has been great connecting with people online, though, and talking with people who are learning about the same things as I am.

  4. Thanks for including us in your journey, and for sharing facts along the way. Some folks tend to forget facts even exist. 🙂

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