By Daria Zeoli, Guest Contributor
You knew Earth Day was coming, right? How could you not? I’ve seen reminders on my social media feeds, and not just within vegan circles. Rachael Ray even reminded me by way of her show one morning last week while I was at the doctor’s office. Her guest was a woman who lives a waste-free life. The contents of one mason jar contained all of her non-recyclable waste for the past two years.
Now that I think about it, that segment was actually nice – it focused on someone who is walking the walk three hundred sixty-five days a year.
Let me point you to KD’s post from this time last year, The Cynic’s Guide to Earth Day. Go read that one for some background on why this day is celebrated and come back when you’re finished. I’ll hold.
In short: one celebratory day is a nice sentiment, but Earth Day should be every day.
How much time do you think we have until the planet has had enough of us? I am of the opinion that Earth will be here long after we’ve been expelled from it. Will it be habitable? Probably not. And the reason? Oh, you know, humans. We’ve accomplished amazing things during our relatively short span on this orb. Art, science, technology, industry, philosophy. But we have a tendency to let things run out of control. After all – if they weren’t running out of control, would we really need Earth Day to begin with?
There is a drought in California right now. Perhaps you’ve heard. There are people out there blaming almonds – people who either don’t know or refuse to accept the fact that copious amounts of water are being used to produce animal products every year. It’s been widely reported that one gallon of water is needed to produce one almond. The makers of Cowspiracy have put together a facts sheet with sourced data – let’s break down water use in regards to animal agriculture:
- 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of beef.
- 477 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of eggs.
- 900 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of cheese.
- 1,000 gallons of water are needed to produce one gallon of milk.
- Californians use 1,500 gallons of water per person per day, nearly half of which is associated with meat and dairy products.
Those numbers are staggering, but instead of talking about them, the press continues to talk about almonds. I’m willing to venture that people are eating a lot more animal products than they are almond products on a daily basis. I mean, seriously – this is the same as the normal “go green” hypocrisy where people are driving hybrids but refusing to give up eating hamburgers.
If you are really concerned about “the planet” – and by “the planet,” I mean our ability to exist on it – open your ears and your eyes and look up the facts.
We cannot continue to sustain the amount of land, water, and resources used to keep the animal agriculture industry running. We are fishing our oceans empty. We are bankrupting ourselves on healthcare.
We are a spoiled society who thinks nothing of exploiting each other, our fellow earthlings, and the very planet we call home because of a palate preference – or, in the case of big business, because of a profit preference.
Unless you think we’re going to be able to make it on some other planet, in a galaxy far, far away (don’t even get me started on that Interstellar movie), please, stop closing your eyes to what’s going on around the world. Stop eating animals and animal products that require more resources than the planet can continue to give. Stop patting yourselves on the back every time you shut the light off and unplug your iPhone charger. Do something that matters.
To clarify – yes, of course shutting the lights and not wasting electricity is not a bad thing. Living a waste-free life is also not a bad thing. But meaningful change starts (just as peace does) on your plate. Please don’t ignore that.