The simplest way to celebrate Earth Day
Evie Marshall discusses how we can eat vegan to celebrate the environment on Earth Day
Earth Day (April 22) is an annual event to celebrate environmental protection and takes place in nearly 200 countries. It occurs across the globe because, as a species, we share the responsibility and consequences of environmental devastation. It can be overwhelming to feel that much of this destruction is beyond our control.
It can be overwhelming to feel that much of this destruction is beyond our control.
While many activists are dedicated to political lobbying, direct action, and conservation, how can we protect the environment in our everyday lives? It’s simple. There is nothing more fundamental than what we consume three times a day. The easiest way to honour our planet is by making our meals a celebration of, rather than a burden on, the earth.
So, this Earth Day, why not go vegan? It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing gesture. One could even dedicate a single meal to Earth Day, using this time to acknowledge and appreciate the origins of our food. Where did it come from? What went into it? How did it get onto our plates?
Going plant-based for Earth Day is not only a way to shake up the routine and squeeze in some extra veggies. Practising mindful consumption is a sure-fire way to lower our environmental impact and live more healthily.
Think your meals don’t make a difference?
One day of veganism per person saves approximately 1 animal, 27kg of grain, 10kg of CO2, 4,100 litres of water, and 3.5 m2 of forest. If even half the student population of the University of Exeter participated in this celebration, we could save 13,500 animals, 364,500kg of grain, 135,000kg of CO2, 55,350,000 litres of water, and 4,250m2 of forest. And these are conservative estimates! I can see why Gary L. Francione once said “Veganism is not a sacrifice. It is a joy.” There’s actually an app that tracks your positive environmental impact as a vegetarian/vegan.
One day of veganism per person saves approximately 1 animal, 27kg of grain, 10kg of CO2, 4,100 litres of water, and 3.5 m2 of forest.Cowspiracy, Surge.
Earth day is about our oceans, too. If you have watched the new hit Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, you’ll know that more than half of ocean pollution is caused by fishing nets, which not only kill sea life (i.e., turtles, dolphins, and seabirds) but break up into microplastics too. The documentary concludes that the best way to protect our oceans is to leave them alone by eating alternatives to sea life. The same goes for life on land; industrial animal agriculture is destroying our planet.
Industrial animal agriculture is destroying our planet.
Reducing or withdrawing our participation from this is the single most effective way that individuals can protect the environment. While it’s less viable to stop driving, or chain yourself to bulldozers, eating sustainably is a profoundly simple way to honour the earth.
In the modern world of supermarkets, intensive agriculture, and global supply chains, choosing plant-based is a way to rekindle our most fundamental relationship to the earth: our food. A way to literally embody the change we want to see.
Now you know, how will you play your part?
Incorporating more plant foods into your diet doesn’t have to feel restrictive or boring. Explore new dishes and products in a way that works for you, a way that makes you feel curious and excited, vibrant, and happy. Simply swapping one or two foods for their plant-based counterparts can be surprisingly easy, yet effective. Try experimenting with plant-based milk or butter, or with meat alternatives to replicate your favourite meals.
Here are some easy vegan recipes by BBC good food, and over 20 vegan recipes for beginners. To raise awareness, share your vegan meals on Instagram leading up to Earth day. Use #pledgeforplanetexeter and #earthday to document your commitment and inspire others to participate.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy Earth Day!