First of all I was a meat lover for a long time and I still am, but I have made a conscious decision to remove meat (at least one that comes from mammals and birds) from my diet. I’m trying to get further and remove animal based products all together, in another words become vegan.
Before, I heard lots of arguments why it’s better to be vegan/vegetarian, but most of it (let’s be honest) is BS. No, we are not inherently herbivores, we share common ancestor with monkeys and apes and we have always been omnivores. Also when you’re removing meat from your diet you should be very aware what you’re missing out by doing so and make a substitute for that. If you’re not eating insects, get B12 supplements. I do love animals, but we have been farmers or hunters for some time, so I lived with a fact that we grow animals to for meat quite comfortably.
So why I have changed my mind if all the arguments we constantly hear wasn’t good for me? It’s simple – I do care about our environment and I came to realization what we don’t have to eat meat to survive anymore. Many effects of global warming is already abvious: icecaps are melting, the sea level rises, extreme weather events arise again and again, a lot of animal species struggle to survive.
For some time transportation and burning fossil fuels have been regarded as the main contributors to green house gases (GHG) emissions and climate change, but numerous times it have been shown huge role of the farm animal production sector. Animal agriculture sector emits 18% of human-induced GHG emissions even more than the transportation sector.
The three main gases responsible for green house effect are: CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide (N2O). Most of our attention is focused on CO2 and other two is often forgoten, but methane and N2O are even more potent in causing green house effect. Methane has 23 times more potential to trap heat than CO2 and N2O – 296 times more. The livestock sector is responsible for about 35-40% of human-caused methane emissions, and about 65% of human nitrous oxide emission, globally. It also produces 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.
Another main way in which the livestock sector contributes to global warming is through deforestation caused by expansion of pasture land and land used to grow food for livestock. Farm animals and animal production facilities cover one-third of the planet’s land surface, using more than two-thirds of all available agricultural land including the land used to grow feed crops. Deforestation, land degradation, soil cultivation, and desertification are responsible for CO2 emissions from the livestock sector’s use of land. Feeding the global population of livestock requires at least 80% of the world’s soybean crop and more than one-half of all corn, a plant whose growth is especially dependent on nitrogen-based artificial fertilizers. Modern fertilizer manufacturing, heavily reliant on fossil fuels, has taken a once-limited nutrient and made it available in massive quantities for crop farmers in the industrialized world and, increasingly, the developing world.
Globally, approximately 56 billion land animals are slaughtered for human consumption annually, and livestock numbers are expected to double by 2050, with most increases occurring in the developing world. As the numbers of farm animals reared for meat, egg, and dairy production rise, so do their GHG emissions.
What we could do to stop it or at least slow it down? We all are responsible for our diets and changing it counts, GHG emissions for meat-eaters is 50% higher than for fish-eaters, 53 % higher than for vegetarians and 100 % higher than for vegans.
I won’t lie it’s quite hard and isn’t comfortable, but I’ll try to help you, because I’m on this journey myself. If you have to start somewhere substitute your meat with fish, eat only vegetables and fruits on Mondays. Maybe it isn’t huge contribution, but all these little changes adds up and that’s what counts!
Why go minimal? Are you able to clean your house in 30 minutes? Do you feel constant tension without any particular reason? Maybe you have relationships which drains your energy? You never have enough time for things you love? You binge buy stuff you don’t need or use?
If you see yourself in any of those questions you should try minimalism.
Where to start? Start small!
I do believe if you want to create new lifestyle for yourself, not just temporary change, you should start by baby steps. When new thing overwhelms, you are more likely to give it up. Imagine your end goal, how does it feel, what you have or don’t have. Then break it into smaller pieces and make a step by step plan how to get there.
Find out what is important to you
If you want to get rid of things you don’t want in your life, find out what is important to you. What makes you feel happy? When you feel that you can take over the world? Find these moments, analyze what made you feel you that way? You better than anyone else know what keeps you going.
Fix – don’t throw away
Here comes sustainable thinking. Don’t just throw away something you don’t like, maybe you can fix it? It applies to everything, from piece of furniture to your relationships and try to fix it right away. See what you could do to keep it, if there is no possibility to do so: give it away, sell or recycle.
Quality over quantity
It really helps to think about long term. If I buy it now, will I be using it in 5 or 10 years? Will this friendship last till retirement? Maybe you won’t be right every time, but at least you’ll be thinking about it.
Value your time
Time is money, cheesy but it’s true. If you are going minimal you won’t be spending your hard earned money on things you don’t like or think it’s useful, so you shouldn’t do same thing with your time. Do what you enjoy or what makes you grow, spend it wisely.
Fell happy with what you got
This is important: find time for slowing down and feeling that you’re happy. Truly appreciate what you got, look around you find things what makes you smile.
All of these principles can be applied to most of the components of life so try it!