Earth Day (which takes place April 22) is a time to celebrate this magnificent planet we call home. However, our home is in trouble, and now is the time to fight for positive change.
Animal agriculture is a driving factor of our current climate crisis (and yes, that includes zoonotic diseases). While wetmarkets and factory farming prove to be dangerous breeding grounds for superviruses, and according to The World Bank, factory farming is responsible for up to 91 percent of the Amazon rainforest’s destruction. Sadly, there are many more contributing factors to climate change, many of which are due to the way animals are raised for food. The time to take our climate crisis seriously is now, which is why we’ve created three ways we can celebrate a vegan Earth Day at home.
1. Save the bees
Bees are dying at a startling rate, which is worrisome for all humans because bees pollinate our fruit and vegetables. In 2014, The Huffington Post detailed a Harvard study that found that bees are dying due to pesticides such as neonicotinoids, which kill insects by targeting their central nervous systems. To help replenish the bee population, plant bee-friendly plants such as lavender, California lilac, sunflowers, mint, rosemary, and thyme. Another way to help bees is to create a bee bath. Fill a shallow container with water and fill it with twigs and pebbles at the bottom. The twigs and pebbles help the bees stand to get their water. Replenish the water and clean the container every day to keep the bee bath hospitable to the bees you hope to attract so the bees will know they can return as much as they want.
2. Spread the vegan word
This Earth Day, have a conversation with the omnivores in your life and remind them of just how harmful meat-eating is for the environment. You can mention to your friends and family that it takes 1,847 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, 718 gallons for a pound of pork, and 518 gallons of water for every pound of chicken. The documentary Cowspiracy explains the benefits of a vegan diet perfectly: each day “a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.” If numbers still don’t convince your meat-eating friends, try cooking them an amazing vegan meal. The earth will thank you in return.
3. Switch from plastic to reusable products
Whether it’s plastic bags for grocery shopping or plastic water bottles for drinking, we’ve all been guilty of using plastic. To remedy this, buy reusable bags for shopping. If you forget your reusable bags and you have only a few items, carry them to your car. Eventually, bringing reusable bags will become habitual whenever you are out and about. Minimizing waste goes a long way.
Rebecca Sykes is a writer and a passionate vegan who is hoping to open her own animal sanctuary one day.