TODAY -

Being vegetarian can fight climate change

N Munal Meitei *

 Vegetables sold at Thoubal  Keithel in January 2017
Vegetables sold at Thoubal Keithel in January 2017 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



In Manipur when ocularly survey the number of vegetarian population, it is really very poor. In hill districts the number is again almost negligible. The elders when counted are mostly vegetarians due to the religions or the physiological cause.

But on worldwide condition, being vegetarian has become a popular lifestyle. The difference between vegetarians and vegans is that vegetarians donít eat any animal flesh (beef, chicken, fish, etc.), but vegans go further, and donít take anything that comes from an animal (egg, dairy, leather, fur, etc.). World Vegetarian Day is observed on 1st October and World Vegan Day is celebrated on 1st November every year.

It is certain that being vegetarians will make the world a better place not only for animals, but for our health and the environment too. It is a change from an unhealthy to a healthy habit and diet. To become vegetarian lifestyle is the ethical, environmental, health, and humanitarian benefits.

During March 2019, we went to a village in Tengnoupal district (name of the village concealed) for an awareness program on wildlife conservation. When we reach the village, they were having a joint customary village feast. The sad part came when we knew that there was a hunting for the feast on the previous day and a hind was killed.

But the saddest part was when it was told that the hind was also a pregnant one. Such is the reality in our hills.In the name of customary, it happened in all the hill villages. Therefore, sorry to say that in our statenot much is expected with my article for becoming vegetarian. But, we have to stand for the truth and the future.

Being vegetarian will surely help to combat climate change and reduce further damages to the natural world. The climate crisis is the biggest threat to life on our planet.It may be hard to define a diet that linked health and environmental outcomes but a vegetarian has something to reveal.

Apart from global warming, loss of biodiversity is the other major global environmental problem. Such loss is closely linked to the conversion of natural habitats, such as tropical rainforest being cleared for agricultural and farm lands. The worldís forests and other natural habitats are also important carbon sinks.

Being vegetarian will help to create a better world because vegetarian diet have proven health benefits, save animalsí lives and help to preserve the earth.It reduces the risk of major killers such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer while cutting the foodborne pathogens.

Being vegetarian provide a viable answer to feed the worldís hungry through more efficient use of grains and other crops. It saves animals from suffering, the pain and terror of slaughter. It also conserves vital but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil and other precious resources.

Being vegetarian preserves irreplaceable ecosystems such as rainforests and other wildlife habitats. It also decreases greenhouse gases that are accelerating global warming and mitigate the ever-expanding environmental pollution of animal farming.

Vegetarian food is a balance diet for healthy and sustainable choices that includesdiets of nutritional requirements but reducing the environmental footprint.These are the diets that are good for both people and planet.

In the world, 20% of total direct carbon emissions are from food and agriculture. The land-use pattern change may rises up to 30%. Around 70% of all fresh water available is used for agricultural irrigation, which in many cases has a major impact on water quality.

Ever expanding agriculture to feed the flooding population is the most significant cause of deforestation Ė and hence loss of biodiversity Ė around the world. What we eat and how it is produced have consequences for the whole planet. By changing our diets and by improving production efficiency in the food system, we can make a major change to our environment.

Changes in the food system will be a part of the solution, and being vegetarians will have contribution to our economy. One of the most effective ways to care for the planet is to change what we eat and eat to save the earth.

The global meat and dairy industry is responsible for as much greenhouse gases as all the direct emissions from all global transportation combined. Greenhouse gases are driving the climate crisis - the biggest threat to the future of our planet. You can reduce your food-related carbon footprint by up to 50% if you go with vegetarian and vegan.

Animal farming is destroying our environment. It causes up to 91% of Amazon deforestation. Growing vegetarian food uses 50% less land than animal agriculture. And a meat and dairy diet is inherently wasteful. Remember that for every 100 calories fed to animals, we receive back only 12 calories by consuming their flesh and milk. Feeding crops to people rather than farmed animals could feed three billion more people. With this, I donít mean, not to rear animals but not to eat animals.

The diet replacers from meat may be such as soy, legumes, nuts and oilseeds, and vegetables fats and oils. Meats have a high carbon footprint primarily due to the enteric fermentation in the gut, leading to methane emissions. Itís also important to remember that every change on our daily meals has the real-impactand consequences in this complex world.

So while reducing meat consumption means less grassland is needed for pasture and less cropland is needed to grow animal feed, which in turn will have more cropland for more food production.

Theplant-based foods are required not only for climate change mitigation but for public health too.The net zero emission is only possible via a shift towards plant-based diets because the production of meat, dairy and eggs generate much higher levels of greenhouse emissions.

Some peoples think that becoming a vegetarian could be too much of a challenge and have to spend much time and labour to the family while changing the lifestyle and also worried about finding the vegetarian food options.But according to many acclaimed vegetarians, the vegetariansí lifestyle is always beneficial for the health of the human beings, and it fosters environmental protection as well as save the animallives. Being vegetarian also can lead to reduction in carbon emissions from the food chains.

Hence please, donít eat anything that had a mom and donít buy anything with fur, leather, wool, down, or silk and also cosmetics with animal products in them. Donít attend events that use animals as entertainment such as the zoo, circus, rodeo, or animal rides where horses, donkeys, elephants, etc. are used.

Therefore to be vegetarians have the best option in the brighter side to save the environment and the future. The government also should encourage adopting the plant-based diet, implementing policies for public sector institutions such as schools, hospitals and caring homes to offer for vegetarian meals.

Eat as a vegetarian for a week and taste the future and then you will be doing something for the Planet. This will surely save the climate change and lead to a healthy, sustainable live, thatís good for people and the future generation.


* N Munal Meitei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at nmunall(AT)yahoo(DOT)in
This article was posted on November 18, 2019 .


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