April 23, 2008

Earth Day, Every Day.

Last night's dinner (Best Guac EVER)

Today, I had a bit of free time, so I spent a good portion of it on AIM and facebook (still in the process of relieving my addiction). I found something that was pleasant, for the most part: a lot of people had statuses about Earth Day. It was good to know that everyone was at least aware of the day and knew that today was a day dedicated to increased friendliness towards our mother.

But then, I passed out at 9:30 PM, and upon waking up an hour ago, I decided to stalk a few raw blogs because that's the other thing I do in my free time, and what I realized was that so many of these raw foodists didn't need to celebrate Earth Day. They didn't need to embrace it as a day unlike any other because they were environmentally friendly every day. Now, I'm not saying you're environmentally unfriendly if you're not raw, but one thing that I can certainly say is that any nonvegetarian diet is environmentally unfriendly. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty, so if I'm doing that, I'm sorry, but check this out:
The livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.

With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.

It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.

Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock...As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.

Source? A report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. If you want more, see http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html. (Also check out http://www.scribd.com/doc/24163/CO2-Emissions-of-Foods-and-Diets and http://www.traumkrieger.de/virtualwater/)

It's disconcerting to see so many "environmentalists" eating meat every day. You can drive a Prius. You can use a reusable water bottle. You can recycle all you want. When it boils down to it, though, you're forgetting about that other 18% (the figure is probably around 19 or 20% today). Organizations for the environment encourage a crap load of solutions to the crisis we are facing today, one of them being going vegetarian for a day. What boggles my mind is why people don't do it for life. You're all going to start firing back at me with the whole, "You've been vegetarian your whole life. You don't know how it is, Ankit." That doesn't even matter. I've been vegetarian my whole life, but I've had NO issue finding quality food that satisfies me just as much as meat satisfies you. Additionally, I've eliminated the bulk of my previous vegetarian diet by going vegan in July and raw vegan, as of 3.5 weeks ago. I didn't make those choices because of the environment, but I did take notice of them in the process. So yeah, I know what it's like to get rid of the foods you love most, but on the same note, I found foods that were just as good. It's a matter of how much you want to make that change.

Maybe you don't want to make that change, which I've heard from countless people in the last few months (being one of the few vegans of the people you know tends to lead to the whole "Why do you do it and why should I do it?" conversation with another person practically every day), but I sure do hope you realize the impact you're having on the environment. Sure, one person leaving the Standard American Diet for something better might not make a monumental impact, but it's about the principle. If you start giving me the whole, "It doesn't make a difference because no large mass of people is going to do it," I could say the same exact thing about using reusable water bottles, turning down your thermostat, driving a hybrid, or one of the things that most "environmentalists" do. Focus more on your personal carbon (and other greenhouse gas) footprint. When more people do that, noticeable changes will take place.

Maybe you do want to make that change, but you don't know how to. Read up a little bit. There are tons of websites and blogs online all about vegetarian/vegan/raw diets. Come to me. I'm more than happy to help you make a transition. Even if we don't talk that much/at all, this is something I think is worth it, so feel free to shoot me an email (a.shah811@gmail.com).

I know I'm a few hours late on this, but it doesn't really make a difference for me. I'm going to do the same exact things I did today as I did yesterday. The same should go for all of you. Don't use Earth Day as your reason to go green for a day. Make it a lifestyle. Whatever you choose to do, go all out. In the grand scheme of things, you're not making a difference, but other people seeing you act makes them want to act. Trust me on that one.

Much love,

P.S. It's been 25 days since my last non-raw meal =)
P.P.S. (I hate when people use extra P's but whatever) If you want to make that guac, follow the recipe. It takes five. Ten, tops.
  • 2 avocados, peeled
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, cut up into small pieces (or minced, for you chefs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl and mash them up with whatever you want -- hands, spoons, whatever. It's extraordinary. If you're storing it, do it in an airtight container, but really, this is something you should have fresh. It'll go bad if you store it for more than 1-3 days.