Green Leader: Kei Andrews
School: University of Florida
Project Objective: The benefits of a strict vegetarian (a.k.a. vegan) diet are many. Even a reduction of the amount of animal products that we consume could make a large difference to our environment. According to research by the Livestock, Environment and Development (LEAD) Initiative supported by, among others, the United Nations "the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." They furthermore conclude that "with rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting icecaps and glaciers, shifting ocean currents and weather patterns, climate change is the most serious challenge facing the human race. The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transportation." Furthermore "livestock are responsible for much larger shares of some gases with far higher potential to warm the atmosphere. The sector emits 37 percent of anthropogenic methane (with 23 times the global warming potential (GWP) of CO2) most of that from enteric fermentation by ruminants. It emits 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide (with 296 times the GWP of CO2), the great majority from manure. Livestock are also responsible for almost two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems."
The adoption of a vegan diet coupled with the other excellent suggestions on this site can make an even bigger difference and it truly is something that everyone can do. The American Dietetic Association has deemed a well-balanced vegan diet as "appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence." Health benefits typically include "lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lowe
Project Activities or Steps: 1. Reduce the amount of animal products you eat.
2. Try a vegan diet out for two weeks, it's really not that hard and has benefits beyond just helping the climate. There are many resources to help out with the transition.
Project Resources: A link to the report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options" in PDF form, where the quotes regarding livestock's contribution to climate change are taken from can be found at the following site: http://www.virtualcentre.org/en/library/key_pub/longshad/A0701E00.pdf
Further information, including articles from major US newspapers, can also be found here: www.atrulyinconvenienttruth.com
The ADA Position Paper regarding vegetarian and vegan diets: http://www.eatright.org/ada/files/vegnp.pdf
Additonal resources regarding a vegan lifestyle: www.veganoutreach.com
www.postpunkkitchen.com (a great place for recipes, check out the forums with a treasure of food pictures from members)
http://nonviolenceunited.org/ (nonviolence towards the earth and all its inhabitants)
Time Required: As much time as you feel you can give!
How This Affects Your Community: Veganism is about the environment, your health, animal rights (and by default, human rights!), and making a difference as an individual.
Getting Others Involved: Feel free to contact me or your school's animal rights or vegan group for more information! And most importantly have fun with it!