Living in southern California, I have obviously had the fact that we're in extreme drought conditions drilled into my brain. And like any good citizen, I've taken some personal action, not only for water conservation, but for general 'green' living:
|What I've done/I'm doing:||What I need to do:|
Of course, it's easy for uber-greenies to push too hard and turn off the regular Joe Shmo to changing their habits and live greener. It really is a lifestyle change and many people are overwhelmed by the challenge, or ignorant as to the importance of it. So here is just one thing I ask of you in order to help make a difference this month: cut down on how much meat you eat.
Yes, I'm concerned about animal welfare and the horrible conditions within factory farms, but that's not all. If you look at recent statistics, the biggest contributor to air pollution, water pollution, climate change, the whole shebang, is the livestock industry. It takes almost 1,000 gallons of water to produce one burger or steak if you include irrigation for the crops to feed the cattle, then giving water to the guzzling cows themselves. And don't forget about the pollution from fertilizers and waste, which does SHOCKER end up in the water we use! You can read more about the waste lagoons, oxygen-free dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, antibiotic and hormone use, and groundwater contamination from the Natural Resources Defense Council and at DownToEarth.org.
What can you do? I ask that, in April, you cut a couple of meals a week that include meat and spend a few more moments in the kitchen to opt for a fresh vegetable-based meal instead (and I'm not saying Lean Cuisine pastas!)
There are sooo many resources out there to help you out, including:
- For recipes and a history of the movement, visit Meatless Monday
- Take the challenge (with guidance) at Eatingwell.com
- Get starter advice at Vegetarian Times
- Read anything by Michael Pollan, an expert on the industrial food complex.
And, to further your investigation is the world of meat-farming, check out a new documentary called "Cowspiracy" that covers the massive effects industrial farming has on our ecosystem. You might start putting a little more thought as to where your frozen burger patties and breakfast sausages come from a little more closely.