For four weeks in April, I gave up meat. For one of those weeks, I gave up milk, cheese, yogurt and all other animal by-products.
I made it through the month without too much difficulty and discovered many tasty meat-free recipes along the way. Now I did primarily dine out, but I also made a few wicked tofu and veggie stir-frys and my own delicious vegan hummus!
Why did I do it? As the creator of Earth Day Canada’s first online action and commitment campaign where eating vegetarian or vegan was one of the suggested actions, I knew I had to walk the walk after talking the talk.
Shocking, but true
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations tells us that livestock production is responsible for more climate change than all of the world’s transportation. Eating meat represents 18% of the total globally-released greenhouse gases that cause climate change. And a meat-based diet requires 6 to 7 times more land than a plant-based diet.
The billions of animals killed each year to satisfy the North American diet are also responsible for tonnes of waste pollution. Animal manure releases high levels of methane, nitrogen, phosphates and heavy metals into our water and air.
Although researching and planning this challenge gave me the opportunity to learn the many reasons why a plant-based diet is good for the planet, knowledge cannot be the only motivator when it comes to sticking to new habits.
I mean, most of us know that our dependence on fossil fuels is unsustainable and yet that doesn’t stop us from wanting our own personal vehicles!
Practice makes it possible
I learned something from going veg for a month. I now know that the most effective way to change a habit is to seek information about alternatives, tell others about your commitment (to be accountable and for support), and select a feasible time period to try out the new behavior.
I learned something else from this personal challenge: I can do it!
Armed with this experience, I plan to integrate more vegetarian and vegan menus options to ease myself into a plant-based diet for the long run.
Make a difference − share this environmental tip with your friends.