TODAY -

Being vegetarian is hope for a brighter future

N Munal Meitei *

 A special Chaluk being presented at Shree Shree Govindaji Temple at Palace Compound, Imphal on January 21 2016
A special Chaluk at Shree Shree Govindaji Temple at Palace Compound, Imphal in January 2016 :: Pix - Lamdamba Oinam



The COVID-2019, the dreaded global pandemic is confirmed to have originated in a market in Wuhan, China that sold live and dead wild animals which people ate for food, improved health and vitality. Now, the virus is claimed to orginate from an animal. But most of the recommended medicines and vitamins for the virus are of plant and vegetable origin.

In our State the number of vegetarian population is very poor and it is almost negligible in the hill districts. The aged people when counted are mostly vegetarians due to religions and their health factor.

But on a worldwide basis, being vegetarian has become a popular lifestyle. The difference between vegetarian and vegan is that vegetarians don’t eat any animal flesh (beef, chicken, fish, etc.), but vegans don’t 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.

Being vegetarian 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 will ensure ethical, environmental, health and humanitarian benefits.

Hunting is still in vogue in the hill districts of Manipur. It is a reality in the name of annual customary law and festivals. Therefore, sorry to say that this article of becoming vegetarian may not have much impact on society 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 environment. The climate crisis is the biggest threat to this planet. It may be hard to define a diet that links health and environmental outcomes but being a vegetarian has something to reveal. Apart from global warming, loss of biodiversity is another 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 world’s forests and other natural habitats are also important carbon sinks.

Being vegetarian will help to create a better world because vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, save animals’ 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. If we were vegetarians, then there might not be COVID-19.

Being vegetarian provides a viable answer to feed the world’s 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 diets are good for both people and the planet.

Ever expanding agriculture to feed the flooding population is the most significant cause of deforestation–and hence loss of biodiversity–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 a 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 planet.

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 are 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 don’t mean, not to rear animals but not to eat animals.

The diet replacers for meat may be 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. 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 food safety.

The plant-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 consumes much energy and generates much higher levels of greenhouse emissions.

Some people think that becoming a vegetarian could be too much of a challenge and have to spend much time and labour on the family while changing the lifestyle and also worried about finding vegetarian food options.

But according to many acclaimed vegetarians, the vegetarians’ lifestyle is always beneficial for the health of the human beings, and it fosters environmental protection as well as saves the animal lives. Being vegetarian also can lead to reduction in carbon emissions from the food chains.

Hence please, don’t eat anything that had a mom and don’t buy anything with fur, leather, wool, down, or silk and also cosmetics with animal products in them. Don’t 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 become vegetarian is the best option to save the environment and the planet. The Government also should encourage implementing plant based diets for public sector institutions like schools, hospitals and caring homes. Such acts will surely save climate change, spread dreaded diseases and lead to a healthy and sustainable life, that’s good for the environment 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 webcasted on November 10 2020.



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