So, this past weekend it was Earth Hour. On March 29th at 20:30, people all over South Africa and the globe put off their lights for an hour. This is an initiative started by WWF to save a little electricity and thus save a little of our earth. This simple act helps contribute to stopping climate change and creating a sustainable future for all. This is a great initiative that is catching on like wild fire across the globe and this year Cape Town was lucky enough to be crowned the Global Earth Hour Capital of 2014.
Another simple way to help the environment by doing something small is to indulge in Meat-Free Mondays (MFM). Meat-Free Mondays simply involves not eating any meat on Monday (as the title pretty much explains). Also, if you want to make a bigger change, switch to a vegetarian diet and let your non-meat eating self remain in a constant state of helping the earth. Being vegetarian is not only about saving animals, but also has a huge positive impact on saving the environment and creating sustainability.
Reduce your carbon hoof-print
I’m pretty sure that by now most of us have heard about the fact that says that all the cows in the world collectively are a contributing factor to the Earth’s proverbial receding hairline that is our ozone layer, thanks to their farts. While I won’t deny that the aforementioned seems a bit absurd, it is also completely true. Livestock farming produces a ridiculous amount of greenhouse gasses, one study estimating that the farming of animals produces more greenhouse gas emissions, around 18%, than the world’s entire transport system, which comes in at 13.5%.
Of all our natural resources, water is definitely the most precious. We look at our vast oceans and rivers and we can barely fathom a world where we start running out of water, but in the back of our minds we all know that it is a possibility. Humans are reckless beyond measure, we take major advantage of natural resources that could very well be gone in a couple of years. Now with that being said, think of a kilogram of beef. It’s a tiny chunk of the amount of meat that can be taken from a cow, but for that tiny chunk to be produced it takes between 16 000 to 100 000 litres of water. It only takes around 1000 to 2000 litres of water to produce the same quantity of grain or vegetables. The farming of animals is one of the biggest contributors to our unsustainable water footprint, and then adding to that, all of the antibiotics and hormones that make its way into our water system from the farming of animals, it poses a giant threat to both our health and our eco-system.
Hug them trees
One of the biggest ironies of our current life, in my opinion, is the fact that we destroy luscious fields and forests to build office blocks and malls, and then pride ourselves in the thought that we ‘care about the planet’ because we put some solar panels on the roofs. But it is not only with our structures that we commit such irony. Animal farms are a major detriment to our eco system and natural habitats. Livestock is one of the world’s largest land users, occupying up to 25% of the planet’s ice-free terrain and using 40% of the world’s total grain production. We all know what deforestation is, and we all know what the impact of it is on our planet. Deforestation is also widely associated with bearded, flannel-clad loggers and lumberjacks armed with chainsaws and axes destroying natural habitats for the sake of a bookshelf and a coffee table. Although they are the default culprits, it’s not quite for what you may think. Livestock production alone is responsible for 70% of the Amazon’s deforestation.
Protect the ocean
Our oceans and the creatures that dwell in the deep are also at risk. The eco system of the sea is a fragile one, and not much thought is cast toward the effect that the industrial fishing practices has on our oceans. This ignorance could be related to the fact that we know more about our solar system than we do about the ocean. At the rate and quantity that we’re pulling fish out of the ocean and putting them on our plates, many sea creatures are edging towards the state of extinction. Not to mention the way our seas are being polluted by industrial fishing.
These are just a few ways switching to a vegetarian diet will help save our planet. Scientists have proven that going veggie is the fastest way any single human being can make a lasting difference to our fragile eco-system. While hybrid cars, solar panels and other means also make a positive impact, their effects can take years to make a difference.
(Information from https://www.vegsoc.org/environment)