The tar-like sludge bubbles around your ankles, making it difficult to take your foot from the undefinable substance that oozes over the ground. The greenish haze looms towards you from the cracked drains that line the street. An undefinable stench reaches your nose, searing your throat and causing tears to well up in your eyes, further obscuring your vision. You stumble forwards, your eyes groping for some minute signs of life in this otherwise deserted wasteland, your heart thumping traitorously in your chest, seemingly determined to give you away to whatever lurks in the fog…
Okay now maybe that ‘I Am Legend’ type scenario sans the token cute-turned-zombie German Shepherd puppy I just whipped up may be flinging us forward quite a few years, there is no doubt that unless we humans make some changes around this place, we’re headed for a pretty bleak looking future. You often hear people vocalising their 'environmentally friendly' attributes, speaking overly loudly in otherwise quiet public areas about their efforts to buy low-wattage light globes, to recycle their plastic containers, to shorten their showers, therefore lessening their impact and SAVING THE WORLD FOR THEIR GRANDCHILDREN! Wrong. Don’t work like that.
Regardless of one’s ethical stance on the topics of vegetarian, vegan, and ‘plant-based’ diets, the facts are irrefutable. The United Nations released a report in 2010 stating the necessity of a global shift towards a plant-based diet in order to save the world from hunger, climate change and increasingly widespread poverty. The meat, dairy and egg industries generate over 65% of the world’s nitrous oxide emissions, which is more than all forms of transport worldwide. Nitrous oxide emissions have a detrimental impact upon our ozone layer, whose erosion is increasing at an exponential rate. It was calculated by the American Environmental Defence Fund that if every American swapped one meal of meat per week for vegetables and grains the emissions savings would be equivalent to removing 5 million cars off the roads.
If that isn’t reason enough for you to make some dietary changes, then how about this; by abstaining from eating only half a kilogram of beef, a person would save more water than if they ceased showering for 6 whole months. The production of half a kilogram of meat takes approximately 9000 litres, in comparison to a teensy 95 litres to produce a kilogram of wheat. If you’re honestly looking for ways to contribute to the future of the environment, I think your sanity may be in question if you’d rather spend half a year smelling like a clogged sewerage drain than not ordering that ‘man-sized chargrilled beef’ at the pub on a Friday afternoon… just saying.
So, my suggestion is this; if you’re not willing to perform a complete turnover of your dietary habits, at least make an effort to make small changes throughout your week. Whip up a delicious falafel kebab chock full of chickpea-y, tahini-y, hummus-y goodness, lick your plate, step under the shower and scrub up happily, knowing that you’ve benefitted the world’s future – all whilst smelling like a bunch of flowers.