Last week while in Tampa, Florida for a conference centered around plant-based nutrition, I realized that I’ve been missing something from ThatVeganWife. That something being how switching to a plant-based lifestyle has an impact on Climate Change.
Dr. David Katz said it perfectly when he stated, “You can’t talk about nutritional health, and not talk about planetary health.”
As I cheered on statement and his comments about how our food affects the planet, I realized that now is the time to step up and talk about something that few people want to accept: Climate Change.
Whether you believe that Climate Change is a “hoax” or not, scientists, as of late, are urgently pointing out the dangers or rising ocean temperatures happening on our planet. This subject can be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s also important to stay informed and educated.
A couple of weeks ago, the UN released an urgent report warning of dangerous effects that climate change will have in 2030 if we don’t get our act together now.
“Their new report lays out the difficulty in stark detail: it would require a 40-50 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 (global emissions are currently rising). It would mean a carbon-neutral world — one with no net additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — by 2050.” (National Public Radio).
While that sounds like a daunting task ahead of us over the next 12 years, it’s not completely hopeless. Here are few things you can start doing in order to reduce your carbon footprint.
Stop Contributing to Animal Agriculture
While the truth hurts, going vegan is one of the best things you can do in order to combat Climate Change. Why? Researchers found that shifting from current animal-centered diets to a diet without animal products would cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half, or about 6.6 billion metric tons. ALSO-- Meat, aquaculture, eggs and dairy use about 83 percent of the world's farmland and contribute 56 to 58 percent of food-related emissions, though they provide only 18 percent of calories. (Mercy for Animals) That’s a lot of created pollution going into the pleasing of your tastebuds if you ask me.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Cutting down on plastic use reduces the need for recycling in the first place, but if you’re still in transition like me, then reducing your use of plastic is the first place to start. Start asking for paper bags at the store instead of plastic and reusable bags can be found at most grocery stores. Recycle what you use, and reuse what you can. Another thing we like to do is reuse our glass jars (from Pickles, Coconut Oil, etc) and use them for storage. It’s little things like that which can add up.
Walk or Bike to your destination
My husband and I have debated back & forth a few times of whether we need a second car, but living in a metropolis area like Denver, there is really no need for it. Public transportation goes almost anywhere we’d need to be and grocery stores are close by enough that I could walk or bike, and ridesharing is easy to get in touch with & use.
Demand more sustainable products & laws (grocery store items/vote)
When I first made the switch to plant-based living, I often felt helpless & discouraged by the lack of options in my grocery store. I did decide to go vegan when we lived in Louisiana, after all, so options were very limited for us.
Something I highly encourage, especially if you’re in an area where veggie-options are limited is to ASK for MORE. It’s quite a concept, “asking,” but requesting vegan options in your area or educating restaurants about what vegan options look like is a very courageous act. I think we forget that we can ask and vote on policy that serves the needs of the public. Get involved, take some action, and remember that your dollar is your biggest vote.
Tell Your Story/Listen to Others
I love when I get questions about my lifestyle because it’s a way for me to educate on why I chose to go this route. Most people don’t know what they don’t know, and it is our obligation (for those of us who do know) to educate with compassion. Remember that arguing with someone takes us nowhere, so opening up our minds & ears to different ways of living can be learned from… even if you don’t fully agree with what their doing. Staying open minded during the process can build bridges and learning moments.