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April 22, 2017 / thegirlwiththedinotattoo

this one crazy simple trick to being green, and you’ll never guess what it is!

shark meme

Happy Earth Day!

Reducing one’s trash output is just one way of having less of an environmental footprint, and it’s just one way to measure your impact (especially considering that it requires big changes in what and how much we consume). But there are many other ways to have a big impact as individuals, and I want to highlight one in particular. It’s very easy to do, but most people don’t realize how much of an environmental impact this has.
So, you want to green your routine quite a bit, right? Well, you could…
Save water by not showering for a year
and
Save just over 3 gallons of gasoline by not driving your sedan about 100 miles
 and
Save energy by not leaving the lights on – for a total of 480 hours, or 20 straight days.
 Or, you could not eat a 1/4 lb hamburger every week for 3 months.
That’s right. Choose to not eat meat. Occasionally, or regularly. Dairy too. The production of these foods have huge environmental impacts.
If one person eats one less burger per week for a year, it’s the equivalent of not driving for 320 miles, or line-drying your clothes half the time.
If a family of 4 skips meat and cheese 1 day a week for a year, it’s the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 5 weeks or shortening everyone’s daily shower by 3 minutes.
If a family of 4 skips steak one day a week for a year, it’s the equivalent of taking your car off the road for almost 3 months
If everyone in the US ate no meat or cheese just 1 day a week for a year, it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles, or removing 7.6 million cars off the road.
(These facts and more here!)
And we’re just talking energy used and water consumed! I mean, the meat industry does produce more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector (cars, trains, planes, buses, etc). Never mind the massive amounts of pollution that come from the refuse of 56 billion animals (that’s a lot of manure, and it has to go somewhere. Sometimes it’s our fresh water sources, other times it’s the ocean) Or all the pesticides used for the soybeans and corn for the animal’s feed, or the fact that all that land is being used far less efficiently for feeding animals rather than feeding people. Or the fact that the meat industry is the main contributor to deforestation, especially of the Amazon. And we haven’t even begun on the massive human rights and workers violations that happens in the slaughterhouse and meat processing facilities because the meat industry has worked so hard to keep any external investigations out of their facilities! Or would you prefer if I talked about the abuse of the animals first? Or how filthy the meat processing facilities really are? And don’t even get me started on the fishing industry!
Whew, so many reasons, and I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface.
My point has always been this: what we choose to consume has a big impact when we look farther up the production stream and down the waste stream. The meat and dairy industry have worked very hard for consumers to not know the true cost of our food. By reducing our reliance on these products, and swapping them out for healthier alternatives we can also have a huge environmental impact, in a good way.
If you want more information, follow any of the links I’ve provided here or just do a quick Google search. I also really enjoyed the documentary Cowspiracy, which is available on Netflix . It’s all about how this is such a huge problem that no one is talking about, and most people don’t know about.
I became obsessed with reducing my trash, and all related lifestyles changes, because it was something that I could quantify and measure my progress, challenging myself to do better. I like the data, and I like to see my progress. Not eating meat and dairy is a simple switch, and this single action has a much higher impact for such a low amount of effort. I really like that.
And honestly, when I get lax about my trash efforts and indulge in something that came in plastic packaging or have a delicious West Indian vegetarian roti that I know will come in a Styrofoam container, I tell myself it’s ok, because I don’t do it that often, and I haven’t eaten meat in so long that this far outweighs my little bit of packaging. It’s all about balance, and right now, our food system is anything but balanced.
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