‘Tis the season for feasts, gift-giving, time spent with loved ones, and a renewed commitment to a fresh start. It’s also the time of year that the subject of “peace” comes up an awful lot. How can we maintain more peaceful relationships with those around us? How can we promote more peaceful living situations for strangers both near and far? And how can we treat our planet in a more peaceful and caring manner?
With all of the discouraging and disheartening news that we hear about on a daily basis, the prospect of peace is certainly appealing and yet seemingly so far out of reach. Can we really achieve even the smallest degree of peace in a world so incredibly scourged by destruction and despair?
The reality is that we’re actually quite capable of making the world a more peaceful place and it all comes down to some very simple, everyday decisions we make related to our food choices.
A Peaceful, Plant-Based Diet
Animal agriculture is one of the most destructive industries on the planet. Not only is this industry harmful to the animals involved, but it has far-reaching consequences for people and the environment. It is estimated that the livestock sector is responsible for around 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, uses a majority of our global freshwater stores, and also currently occupies over 50 percent of the world’s arable land. Not only does this industry use an enormous amount of resources, but it also creates a ton of air and water pollution. And despite the size and scope of the livestock sector, we are still struggling to feed hungry people.
While there are a million and one wonderful ways to make our planet a better place during this special time of the year, one of the easiest and most delicious comes through making one small shift in your life and choosing to eat more plant-based foods. By opting for a veggie burger over a steak, you can drastically cut your personal carbon footprint, save precious water resources, and also help to redirect precious grain to people instead of livestock.
That may sound too simple, but it’s actually true. Eating less meat and dairy is a choice that’s deeply founded on the ideal of peace, and the impact extends far beyond your plate. Just look at the world that starts to take shape when you decide to pursue a plant-based diet, and you’ll find this is an incredibly powerful and effective way to promote world peace not just during the holiday season, but all year long.
A Healthy Planet
The state of the natural world we all share is more at peace when under the influence of plant-based diets. Water runs cleaner and more abundantly in a world where more carrots than cows are grown for food. Rivers, streams, and the ocean aren’t polluted by animal waste, and fresh water resources don’t have to be misused in order to grow feed or to hydrate millions of animals. Our atmosphere is also better off as we favor plant-based food sources. Growing crops for food does not contribute to air pollution and climate change to the extent that livestock does.
Ecosystems worldwide are also winners when they don’t have to contend with the animal agriculture industry. Important habitats like coral reefs and frozen landscapes that are particularly threatened by a warming planet, and seeing that our current meat-heavy diets are driving up greenhouse gas emissions, they are playing a part in this destruction.
Love for Animals
While the millions of animals that are killed every year for the sake of producing meat and dairy are the indefinite victims of our current food system, there are many animals that aren’t pigs, cows, or chickens that are directly impacted by the livestock industry. If you look at the U.S., wolves and other predators are targeted by the cattle industry and systematically culled by the Fish and Wildlife Services as a result. Across the world in South America, the same is happening to the Pantanal jaguar in Brazil who is being targeted by cattle ranchers and killed for the potential threat they pose to farmers’ animals. These are only two amongst many examples of the non-farm animal victims of animal agriculture.
By choosing to eat more plant-based foods, we can start to lower the demand that is driving this destruction – and as a result, help to protect these species.
Love for Your Fellow Man
Finally, when it comes to our human family, your choice to follow a plant-based diet ends up being incredibly selfless and compassionate. This isn’t a decision merely limited to caring exclusively for yourself – it’s a decision that also helps care for the needs of everyone else you share planet earth with.
Helping guarantee housing for people all over the world is one amazing way your diet benefits your fellow man. By choosing a plant-based diet that contributes much less to climate change, you demonstrate that you value safe and reliable homes that are free from threats like sea-level rise, more frequent and powerful storms, and extreme flooding.
You also help ensure better access to clean water and abundant food sources when you follow a plant-based diet. After all, if everyone in the U.S. ate more plant-based foods and less meat and dairy, we could redirect enough food to feed 1.4 billion people!
Improved human health is another positive contribution you make by simply focusing your food choices around plant-based nutrition. Clean and abundant water means better sanitation for all, as well as less likelihood that waterborne diseases spread. Proper nutrition equates to healthier immune systems that can fight off illnesses. And less greenhouse gas emissions associated with plant-based food production means better air quality and breathing conditions for everyone.
Your Gift to the World
The issue of world peace is certainly complex and, to an extent, does depend heavily on those in positions of power to make thoughtful and collaborative decisions on behalf of all of us. However, the concept of peace is not limited only to those in power – a great deal of power actually rests in the hands of the everyday person.
From preserving animal life, to saving our natural resources, to providing all humans with much safer and healthier homes and communities, our food choices are incredibly capable of letting everything in our world exist in peace. This may not be the only way to promote world peace, but it is certainly an effective and easy one that can be utilized by us all.
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, it is One Green Planet’s view that our food choices have the power to heal our broken food system, give species a fighting chance for survival, and pave the way for a truly sustainable future. With the wealth of available plant-based options available, it has never been easier to eat with the planet in mind.
Join One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet movement to learn more about how you can make a positive impact with your food choices.
Our everyday food choices have the power to heal our broken food system, give species a fighting chance for survival, and pave the way for a truly sustainable future.
Join One Green Planet’s #EatForthePlanet movement.
How to Participate:
1. Choose a plant-based/vegan meal
3. Add #EatForThePlanet and @OneGreenPlanet in your update.
Let’s show the world how eating vegan/plant-based has never been easier or more delicious!
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Lead image source: Diane Nguyen/ Flickr