Going veggie

Let’s face it: Being a vegetarian has all sorts of positive impacts, but a recent report from CNN is shedding light on a less-publicized aspect of being a vegetarian.

Let’s face it: Being a vegetarian has all sorts of positive impacts, but a recent report from CNN is shedding light on a less-publicized aspect of being a vegetarian.

Eliminating meat from one’s diet not only has numerous health benefits, but also a positive impact on climate change.

Nicholas Stern, economist and climate advisor, said in a report from CNN that eating more vegetables and less meat greatly reduces emissions. Eating meat creates more greenhouse gases than eating vegetables.

According to the United Nations, becoming vegetarian can have a major impact because 18 percent of carbon emissions are caused from meat production. That is more than the transportation industry.

In 2006 the U.N. reported that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, airplanes and ships in the world combined.

Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide and agriculture is the No. 1 source of methane in the United States. Factory farms that consist of billions of animals crammed together are main sources of methane emissions.

The Web site www.goveg.com states that eating 1 pound of meat emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as driving an SUV for 40 miles.

When you picture the farms where the meat comes from, what do you see? Do you envision an “Old MacDonald” scene, with the red barn and happy animals? Then what happens to the happy animals?

This is where most people do not think about it. They just kind of fade out the image, but this idealistic image is not reality. The reality consists of factory farms. At these factory farms, animals are stuffed in cages completely lacking moving room.

Reality is not quite as happy as your fantasy, is it? Ignorance can be bliss, yes, but ignorance is not beneficial to your health, the environment or animals. Imagine being shoved into a cage where you can hardly breathe, let alone move, being stuffed with food full of harsh chemicals, causing you to get ulcers—to the point of death. Now that does not sound too pleasant, does it?

Factory-farmed animals are often abused and deprived of anything that is natural or good for them. If you can, for one second, forget about the horrible crimes of animal cruelty that are being committed, then please turn your attention to the environment.

These farm factories are also adding to environmental pollution through animal feces, food and water supply. Often, feces from these animals end up in our water supply.

Now, if you can, put aside the environment issue too. Think of your health: Red meat is dangerous, and the bacteria created by these factory farms is also harmful to people, not to mention the fact that we all live in this world and air quality is important.

So if the poor, suffering animals and the deterioration of our planet is not enough to stop you from eating meat, then think of your own health. Is that enough of an incentive? Does that hit close enough to home for you to stop ignoring the issues that are at hand?

Since this whole “green” thing seems to be all the rage right now, next time you are thinking about buying that hybrid, think again. While hybrids are a great way to reduce emissions, going vegetarian has a larger impact on the environment.

You want to make a big difference? Go vegetarian. Or even do both—buy a hybrid and go vegetarian! Being a vegetarian is better for you, the environment and the animals. It is a win-win-win situation all around.