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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

An Earth-Friendly Holiday Benefits Mother Earth and Humanity

by Chef Wendell Fowler

To guarantee that life as we know it continues on this perfect, albeit exhausted planet, we must be more conscious that our actions have consequences. More and more beautiful, awakening souls are embracing the truth that by working together and eating closer-to-earth with a plant-based diet, together, we can help save and restore the third rock from the sun.

Because we’re all connected, every lifeform on Earth benefits when we reduce our heavy carbon footprint and unburden Earth’s diminishing resources. What we eat has as much of an impact on our planet as it does on the wholeness of the human body.

“The way humans manufacture and eat food over the last 100 years has and continues to take a toll on our planet, and scientists say we must take urgent action to prevent further degradation of the Earth,” according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Decreasing demand for meat and dairy and consuming more plant-based foods would significantly reduce energy use, pollution and lessen the production of greenhouse gases (GHGs). A UN report concluded that animal agriculture is a larger contributor to GHGs than all forms of transportation.

In 2014, the Journal of Nature examined 50 years of data from the world’s 100 most-populated world. Their findings: countries where the majority have a diet high in protein as well as rich in refined fats and sugars, like the U.S., produce dangerously high levels of GHGs. These countries also have higher percentages of people suffering from diet-related chronic conditions and diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. In contrast, countries where the majority eat a vegetarian, pescatarian, plant-based or Mediterranean diet produce significantly less GHGs and have lower rates of people that suffer from diet-related chronic conditions and diseases. Purchasing meats from local family farmers and eating those products in moderation could be a big help.

Former World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin predicted two decades ago that the wars of the next century will be about water. As such conflicts loom, we can protect the water supply while conserving energy. A Cornell University study found that producing animal-based protein requires eight times more fossilfuel energy than creating plant-based protein. VegNews.com states, “more than 70 percent of the earth’s fresh water is used in agriculture of plants and animals: albeit it takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does a pound of plant foods.” Plus, the UN has implicated the livestock sector is most likely the largest source of water pollution.

According to Science Times magazine, 40% of the earth’s land is used to produce food to feed the world’s population. Only about 10% is used to grow fruits, grains, and vegetables for human consumption, and the rest is used to support livestock: pigs, cattle and chicken. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock production uses up approximately one third of the earth’s fresh water supply and is responsible for about 18% of human-caused GHGs around the world. Developed countries like the U.S. are responsible for the majority of these GHGs.

For the well-being of our planet, remember the mantra “think globally— buy locally.” This season, boost the local economy by shopping winter farmers’ markets and small mom-and-pop stores featuring locally-produced goods— compassionate holiday gifts that will keep on giving and support life on this tiny speck in the endless universe we call home.

Chef Wendell is an inspirational speaker, syndicated writer, and author who shares his science-supported message of the mindbody benefits of a plant-based diet and lifestyle, and that disease is not necessarily your fault. Visit ChefWendell.com for more information.
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