Everyday Green Diet for the Environment

How you can live a green life and help the planet and yourself.

One of the most environmentally friendly ways to be good to the Earth and eat a green diet is to stop eating meat, or at least cutting down. Raising animals for humans to eat takes up a lot of resources from the planet and also causes an immense amount of pollution to the environment.

Why Eating Less Meat is Good for the Environment

The Union of Concerned Scientist say that the two most important things a person can do so save the environment, one is to stop driving the SUV and the second is to stop eating meat.

Water, the use of water for animal products is immense, for example according to the California Farm Bureau Federation; it takes 48 gallons of water to make one glass of milk. From start to finish, the cows drink water, they are bathed in water, the food they eat has to be watered, and the making of the milk all takes water.

Cattle for beef takes a great deal of water, The Water Education Foundation in Sacramento, CA, in a study found that for every pound of meat (specifically beef) you don’t eat, you are saving the planet 2,464 gallons of water, that is how much water it takes to make one pound of beef.

Creeks where cattle graze are another problem, as the cattle move about the banks of creeks; they are constantly eroding and damaging the banks of streams and creeks. This erosion causes further problems for waterways and polluted waterways is not healthy for the environment.

Pollution from raising animals for food is also a major problem, polluting the water, air and the environment. If you want to see this first hand for yourself, just go to a hog farm, walk around, look around and smell the air. Meat isn’t just that hamburger or steak; it’s the bacon or ham for breakfast, that bacon cheeseburger. It isn’t only hogs but also the cattle and poultry farms as well that pollute.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, between 1990 and 1997, over 200 manure spills occurred from US animal farms have killed more than a billion fish. Animal feedlots pollute nearby water wells and water sources with nitrates, which causes birth defects.

On these feedlots they have what is called manure lagoons and spray fields where they spray the manure. These areas also pollute the air and water with ammonia, methane and hydrogen sulfide.

Grain – Whole or Refined for a Green Diet

It takes more water to make white refined rice than it does whole grain brown rice. The refining process of turning whole wheat and whole grain products into white refined products used more water and energy (oil, coal or natural gas). The more energy used to make food, the more harm it does to the environment. Eating unrefined grains is eating a green diet.

Buy Organic and Locally Grown Food is a Green Diet

Growing vegetables and fruit also pollutes the environment. You can limit the environmental damage by buying and eating produce grown with the least amount of pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers.

Chemical herbicides are sprayed on crops to control weeds just as chemical fertilizers are spread to help crops grow and chemical pesticides are sprayed to control bugs. On an organic farm, these chemicals aren’t sprayed, natural versions of them are used and planting methods are employed to help with these problems.

Farms pollute the same water and ground and air just as the animal farms and feedlots do. All of these sprays go into the air and runoff into the water, which a lot of runs out into the ocean. So it’s not just our creeks, streams and rivers that are being polluted, it’s also the world’s oceans with all of these pollutants.

A green diet from the farmers market. Photo by Natalie Maynor

All of these pollutants hurt the land, water, environment and air, but also hurts humans. More and more asthma related problems are being reported and then there is the problem of birth defects and a host of other medical problems that all of this chemical pollution can cause.

In all fairness to pesticides, over the years they have saved lives from diseases all over the world, malaria for one. But the constant and overuse of these pesticides have built up pesticide resistant bugs, so now the bugs eating the food plants are getting harder to kill.

In recent studies, it has been found that with the use of so many chemicals, that the plant foods we eat today don’t have nearly the vitamin and nutrient content they once did.

Grow Your Own Food for the Environment

Growing your own food is the perfect way to eat a green diet and help the environment, it is easy and it doesn’t take a lot of room. You can do this without the use of any pesticides or herbicides. You can grow enough food to be able to cook and freeze to last through the winter, tomatoes and squash of all kinds will give you more than you might want.

Your own garden can be as simple as growing a container garden if you don’t have a yard. You can grow a vertical garden or you can have a garden in a small area.

Growing your own food eliminates all the chemicals that a farm would be using for the food you might buy.

Composting, by making your own compost you use many things you would normally be throwing out into the city dump. Making your own compost is great for the environment. 

 A Green Diet that is Friendly to the Planet and our Environment Would Include:

  • You don’t have to become a vegetarian, just cutting down on the amount of meat you eat can save the environment.
  • Buying organic vegetables and fruits when possible.
  • Buy whole grains instead of refined.
  • Buying from your local organic farmers to keep them in business and lower the amount of oil it takes to transport the food to you.
  • Grow your own food.
  • Make your own compost pile, which cuts down on the amount of garbage you throw out.
  • Recycle. All of the cans and bottles that your food comes in are recyclable and many cities provide free recycling pickup once or twice a month.

Books and web sites:

  • Diet For A New America by John Robbins
  • The Food Revolution: How your diet can save your life and our world by John Robbins
  • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
  • Union of Concerned Scientist

Sam Montana © 13 December 2008

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