Happy Earth Day!
I am celebrating today by not eating meat and recuperating from a busy week of educational speaking events. Last week, Johnson & Wales University invited me and Elle Palmer to speak at their Art & Sciences events about sustainability and the environment. Our talk was entitled “The Very Inconvenient Truth,” where we shared information about why meat and dairy consumption is the number one polluter of the environment.
Before the event, we passed out coconut based ice cream sandwiches that Earth Fare was generous to donate. We wanted the students to realize that it’s possible to reduce dairy consumption – even with ice cream! And of course we wanted the students jacked up on sugar ready to listen to what we had to say!
I kicked off the talk by sharing some of the environmentally friendly activities I practice – Walking to work, sharing one car with my husband, always recycling, carrying my own shopping bags to the grocery store, buying organic and/or local as much as possible, reducing the amount of harmful chemicals in my cleaning or cosmetic products, supporting the Environmental Defense Fund….etc. But none of these habits have a bigger impact on the environment than the way I eat. As you might know, I am not vegan, not vegetarian, and not pescatarian either. I don’t eat beef (because of religious and personal preference). But when I do eat meat – it’s usually local, organic and I know its source and I limit my consumption dramatically compared to the typical American who eats 270 pounds of meat a year. I have about 4 ounces or so a week, sometimes every two weeks, making my average around 10 pounds a year. See! That’s a dramatic difference.
Here are some of the facts I shared with the students, if you eat less meat & dairy products you can:
- Feed more people – We have one billion people on earth already that don’t have enough to eat and a projected 3 billion more mouths to feed within 50 years. The fact that you can feed 2000 people the same amount of grain it takes to feed only 100 cows should help people wake up, but it hasn’t.
- Reduce pollution dramatically - The meat and dairy industry contributes 18% more climate changing pollutants than all modes of transportation combined.
- Save water - It takes 60 pounds of water to produce one pound potatoes, but it takes 9000 liters to produce one pound of beef. A vegan can keep their shower running all year long and still not surpass the amount of water a meat eater consumes.
- Improve your health – Overconsumption of meat has been proven to cause heart disease, cancer, and diabetes more than any other food we eat. If you don’t believe me – read The China Study. Also, you can dramatically reduce your exposure to cancer causing dioxins which are found in chemical pesticides that are used to grow animal feed.
Elle later shared her personal journey to becoming vegan and how she created 3 Weeks to Wellness. At the end of the event, we showed a movie entitled “Life Connected” available on You Tube.
Earth Fare sponsored a giant bag of vegan organic food for one lucky student to win in a raffle. We drew the winner after that talk and Andrew Skelton won. BTW – Earth Fare has one of the best coupons ever right now – 20% of bulk. You can get these by signing up for their email newsletter.
Before leaving, students swarmed us with more questions about eating right and where they can learn more. Professor Howard Slutzky surprised us with parting gifts for our time and commitment on our way out… a very thoughtful and appreciated gesture.
I can’t wait to be a part of more future events like this – I only wish someone taught me about real food, nutrition and what consumption of meat & dairy was doing to me and the environment when I was in college!
Hope you are having very green filled Earth Day! How are you celebrating?