For some, environmental consciousness goes beyond being trendy. For instance, many religions include calls to be responsible with the environment. It is trend born of consequence: we breathe the same air, and we all need water. Yet, more and more, our food may come from thousands of miles away, making resource management a huge issue. Production of life’s necessities (or life’s not so necessities) leaves a deep impact on the environment.
Despite this so-called consciousness, actions and environmental behavior do not always align, as reflected in a recent study of Jordanian college students. The study concluded the students were ”generally concerned about the environment… However, this pro-environmental attitude was not sufficient to turn good intentions into actual actions.”
This concern/action divide is not unique to our Jordanian brothers and sisters. While consumer trends may suggest there is improvement, there still remains one very common inconsistency – what the more blunt among us would call “hypocrisy”.
Fortunately, vegetarianism will soften the blow.
What if I told you that a plant-based diet used significantly less water? This should not be surprising, logically speaking. Crops = land + water + energy. Animal derived products = land + water + energy + crops. It’s obvious, then, grass fed, organic beef will require more energy than an organic pinto bean.
You say you’re an environmentalist, so why aren’t you a vegetarian? Are social pressures keeping you from reaching your potential as an environmentally responsible citizen of the world? Are you afraid to be associated with a bunch of crazy PETA people, or are you in the trap of thinking that going one step further – vegan – is too extreme?
Another source of hesitation is that of health. Relax. You’ll be fine nutritionally; you’ll get plenty of protein. Just remember to take a B12 supplement or to eat foods fortified with it. Courtesy of modern technology, we do not need to rely on animals to get that vitamin. All other nutritional needs can be met through plant-based sources.
I think, as a generation, we can walk the walk in addition to talking the talk. We are our actions more than you are our words. We are also what we eat. To be responsible citizens, we need to use our resources in low-impact ways, especially because there are a lot of us. The best way to do this is through a vegetarian diet. This is one small way that we can be known as “the great generation” by being “the green generation.”
Have you checked your ecological footprint yet?