Anand Siva, Tells Us About The One Question That Always Shocks Him!
“I have been wanting to!” – is an expression I have heard from hundreds of people, when I introduce myself as a vegan.
This used to always intrigue me, it isn’t like these people haven’t heard of the benefits of being vegan or not yet realized that vegan is the way to live. I am sure, I am not the first vegan they’ve met. I am also pretty sure they understand that turning vegan calls of a change in the lifestyle. Yet, the inertia to make that move seems stronger than the desire, or conviction.
As my first post on VeganFirst, I chose to focus on how I respond to such an expression – You are probably one of them?
Why would you want to be a vegan? One of the most popular graffitis around the web says this: Vegan: for the planet, for the animals, for health. This sort of crisply sums up reasons why anyone would want to go vegan. So, the first point to look at is what caught your attention. What’s your reason, your call?
When we say turn vegan for the planet, for the animals, for health – they are not to be seen as either or. They are not isolated reasons, but interconnected and comes down all the way to what you eat and the life you live.
In a series to highlight each of these calls, let me address FOR THE PLANET first.
In a world hugely corrupted by commerce, and a reckless rush for amassing fame and fortune, we have lost sight of life. We don’t live. We work, we eat, we holiday, we earn, we spend and in this pursuit of material happiness, we have lost track of some of the fundamentals of life.
We think it’s alright to fall sick, we believe everything has a cure. We think it’s okay to use and discard plastic, we believe someone has a solution to recycle. We think it’s okay to ask for wider roads, our movement, our convenience and our comforts are paramount. What we don’t realise is that behind each of these things that are seemingly acceptable to do, is a big change that’s impacting this planet. And even as you read this, changing the way the next generation will see and live on earth.
Now, consider this. To feed the 7 billion plus human population – we maintain humongous stocks of animals. Right now, there are close to 50 billion chicken in broiler farms, 7 billion hens laying close to a trillion eggs a year, 1.5 billion cattle heads, 1 billion pigs, 1.2 billion goats, 1.5 billion sheep and absolutely no count of shrimps, fish, and other aquatic animals and other life forms humans consume.
All these land animals expel between 50 to 500 litres of methane a day. Methane is a toxic gas 23 times more lethal than carbon dioxide! Apart from methane, livestock also produce more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain!
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock production accounts for some 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases annually.
A Japanese study showed that one kilogram of beef produces 36.4 kilograms of CO2, while an average European car emits the same amount for every 250 kilometers it drives, which is a huge difference! All these farmed animals together expel 18 times more toxic gases than all our vehicles, factories and humans combined.
With increasing consumption of animal products, humans today expel thrice more toxic gasses than we did 60 years ago! And this alone is the single largest contributor to the gaping holes in the ozone layer, rapidly hastening the pace of global warming!
It doesn’t end here. Human population is increasing faster now than ever before. It is expected that by 2050 we could be dangerously close to the 10 billion mark. To feed them all, considering the rate of consumption of animal products today, we will need to see an increase of 70 to 80% increase in livestock which means farmed animals alone could be doubling their methane emissions and, according to a EU study, doubling the pace of global warming!
Let’s look at another facet. The 10 billion plus animals in farms all depend on plant produce to survive - their staple diet is grains. Can you imagine the amount of food we need to produce to ‘farm them’? where does this food come from? And why is that important for you to know?
Watch out this space for more from Anand Siva! These thought provoking questions need to be answered....
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