climate change is a fact of life

Written by: Fee O'Shea

Gold card carrying author of six books including ‘The Rise of the Modern Vegan’. Speaker and writer, I’m passionate about all critters (including humans).

We have to admit that climate change is a fact of life, and it’s important we take a serious look at what’s on our plate. One small step, so to speak.

Last summer, I reached the impressive age of seventy. I say impressive because seventy was either very old or dead for people of past generations.

Being seventy puts me dab smack into the realm of being a Baby Boomer and the generation pointed to as a significant contributor to climate change.

I do not deny that we played a part in this. As a child, I remember my mother using string grocery bags or baskets, my parents rode bicycles most of the time, public transport was a necessity, and train stations dotted the New Zealand landscape. There were individual stores with storekeepers named the greengrocer, the butcher, and the baker (no, I’m not going to say the candlestick maker). Yes, a coal man delivered coal, as we all had open fires or wood-fired ovens. Plastic and nylon were only starting to make a presence when I was still a young kid. 

But it was when my generation took over that things really changed. The borders opened up, tariffs were removed, and importing cheaper goods into N.Z. became much more straightforward. Our quiet little country began to embrace the commerce-driven mindset of the big players. 

And because of this, things became plentiful. We introduced factory farming, mainly for chickens and eggs, then a bit later for pigs. We began to increase the land area to accommodate more animals, and so changed the way we farmed. This has resulted in a major impact on the environment. Not only is the land being ruined through monoculture and fertilisers, but it is also destroying our water. Then there is the pollution from animals’ methane gas that is devastatingly affecting our climate. 

What can we do?  

As an individual, take a look at what is on your plate because your plate is important. Start swapping out the animals for plants. When you go out to eat, choose plant-based or vegan options; thankfully, more of these are now being offered. Research shows that more than half of greenhouse gas emissions from food come from animal products. 

You may be sick of hearing about climate change (I know I am), but it’s a fact of life, and if we want to have a beautiful world, we must keep the pressure on. It needs to be front and centre at all times.

There are so many beautiful foods you can eat that don’t have anywhere near the environmental impact. Choose legumes, peas, whole grains, nuts and seeds, along with a variety of vegetables and fruit.  

At the moment, fresh vegetables and fruits are expensive, but choosing the frozen alternative will save on your purse, and they are just as rich in nutrients (sometimes more so). 

Keep your foods as whole as possible, only having the processed version as a treat. Start looking at plant options for the BBQ because in this part of the world, the BBQ is synonymous with summer. Here’s a tip: Google “vegan food for bbq”, and you will get over 90,600,000 results! I’m sure you’ll find something to give you that wonderful summer feast. You’ll probably get the same result for vegan Christmas meals as well!

Going vegan is a win/win. Not only will the animals no longer suffer, but it will also go a long way to healing the environment, and this is what I trust will happen for my grandchildren. Oh, and as a bonus – I have exceptionally good health and believe 70 is the new 50! 

Until next time…

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