The Red & Black


An Easy Way to Save the Planet

Do you own a cat or a dog and feel a connection with that animal? Have you ever been to a farm and watched cows and chickens graze? Sadly, because not enough humans feel connections to farm animals such as chickens, pigs, and cows, they do not care if those animals are slaughtered. This is the reason why it is acceptable in our society to eat a pig but not a dog.

However, did you know that pigs are not only smarter than your dog, but they’re also smarter than three-year-old children, they dream and see in color, and they’re incredibly sociable and love to snuggle? Unfortunately, pigs only account for 120 million of the livestock grown by the US, whereas chickens account for 9 billion.

The treatment of the majority of animals on commercial farms and even smaller farms is enough for anyone to want to go vegetarian/vegan. Animal agriculture is also extremely damaging to our environment and we have been reaping its effects for over a lifetime. As children we are often told that cars and transportation in general is hurting the earth because it produces a great amount of greenhouse gases.

These gases like CO2, nitrous oxide, and methane are detrimental to the environment and the atmosphere. Cars produce a number of gases such as CO2 and nitrous oxide, but transportation is only responsible for 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Animal agriculture is actually more harmful to the atmosphere than transportation, being responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock accounts for 32,000 million tons of CO2 per year, and methane is 25-100 times more harmful and increases global warming potential 86 times more than CO2 in a twenty year timeframe.

Each cow produces 70-120 kg of methane, and there are 1.5 billion cows worldwide. That figure still does not account for the amount of resources that are used to feed and sustain not only cows, but other livestock like pigs and chickens. Not only does raising a cow use anywhere from 560 to 1299 gallons of water, but one pound of beef requires 54 pounds of feed and 265 sq ft of land.

Becoming vegetarian or vegan saves a large amount of resources and has a massive impact on the environment in a multitude of ways... and it’s not as hard as you think! Becoming a vegan takes work, but it is very achievable and sustainable. Veganism is nowhere near impossible, and becoming a vegetarian is even easier.

One way to help ease into vegetarianism is by finding plant-based substitutions for your favorite foods. Instead of eating a hamburger, try a veggie burger or tofurkey. If you’re worried about protein, try eating legumes, quinoa, nuts, or vegan protein substitutes. Another easy way to adapt to a vegetarian diet is by simply incorporating more vegetables and fruits into your diet.

Although vegetarians don’t strictly eat fruits and veggies, substituting peppers and onions on your pizza instead of something like pepperoni can be very beneficial. Something else which might make the transition into vegetarianism easier is becoming pescetarian first. Pescetarians only eat fish meat, so if you are trying to cut out meat but are still craving it, try eating fish.

Lastly, if you’re easing into veganism, try milk alternatives. Almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and cashew milk are great substitutes for cows’ milk, and they are also healthier, more humane, and overall more eco-friendly.

Vegetarianism and veganism make meals meaningful and benefit not only your health, but also the health of the earth and animals worldwide. Although it might take work, please consider — especially with the current climate crisis — being kind to the planet and going vegetarian or vegan!