Currently the number of people choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is steadily increasing on the planet.

The top two reasons people give for making this lifestyle/diet shift and why it is gaining popularity so quickly today are as follows:

1) Health benefits – we know too much today about the definite links between animal-products and diseases.

And

2) Being against animal cruelty – we know too much today about how inhumanely the animals are treated that later end up on our plates.

But did you know that an animal-product free or reduced diet can also have a huge benefit on the environment and help decrease climate change?

Well it’s true – and in fact it can have such a big impact that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently urged people to eat meat-free at least one day a week if they want to make a personal change to help tackle global climate change.

Going Meatless For More than Your Health

If you are already recycling, reusing and reducing the products you buy and use and love the idea of being a steward for the Earth and being part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, this is exciting news for you!

Last week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urged people to eat meat-free one day a week if they want to make a personal change to help tackle global climate change.

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made the call at the official meeting and stated that:

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that direct emissions from meat production account for about 18% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. So I want to highlight the fact that among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider.

Dr. Amy Joy Lanou, UNC Asheville Assistant Professor of Health and Wellness, holds a doctorate in human nutrition from Cornell University. She is a national expert and leading researcher on vegetarian and vegan nutrition. She responded to this announcement in a very supportive manner, stating that:

According to the UN and climate change experts going green for the planet means reducing or eliminating meat and dairy from the diet. If you take a moment and think of your body as your home environment, utilizing the same ‘green’ strategy will greatly improve your ‘home’ and improve your chances of remaining healthy throughout your life.

The media is now buzzing with this news and naturally not all people are responding to it as positively as Dr. Lanou.

But we all really have to realize that methane – the natural gas that all animals, including humans produce is next to carbon dioxide a major greenhouse gas. And with the amount of farming happening around the planet right now to provide meat and other animal products to the average person, climate change is not getting any better.

Never even mind the amount of water that is wasted on animal farming, energy that is wasted to sustain the animals, land that is made infertile from raising the animals, food that is wasted to feed the animals and waste that is produced by the animals.

I understand that when it comes to Global Warming or Climate Change, some people think only factory and car emissions are to blame, while others completely dismiss the idea of global warming as some orchestrated hoax. However, we all have to open ourselves up a little more and understand that we are all – no exceptions, responsible for our actions, which in turn result in the consequences felt and seen on this planet.

Part of living in this world – on this Earth – and in this physical reality is that all actions do have consequences and as hard as it is for most of us to accept accountability, the time to step up to the plate is right now.

This is not about choosing sides or fearing that someone is infringing on your rights. This is about educating ourselves and making the best decision for all concerned – our collective humanity, instead of clinging onto our plates as if someone has just taken our candy.

We can choose to be ignorant or we can empower ourselves and realize that if everyone in the world, but especially the Western world, where meat consumption is among the highest, cut out animal products simply one day a week, we could make a big difference. And imagine how much faster we can start to heal the Earth if we even increased that reduction to two or more days! The effects would be astounding and you don’t need anyone to prove this to you – simply consult your conscience and common sense.

The Benefits of Reducing Animal Products

As much as I love the environment, and as much as that was my third reason in line for eliminating all animal flesh and greatly reducing almost all animal products from my diet, I still stand by the health benefits as the number one benefit of this action. (Number 2 is that I do not condone animal cruelty, when I can safely and easily obtain all the necessary nutrients from other whole and natural foods today.)

So if you are one of those people out there, who is still not convinced by the whole climate change situation or to whom it still does not make sense to reduce animal products for the environment, then perhaps you will take it more personally when you consider the health benefits to you of reducing and/or eliminating animal products from your diet.

Almost instantly, you will feel lighter and experience easier digestion, including more regular elimination. Weight loss soon follows and one is able to maintain a steady and preferred weight more easily.

In a relatively short time, you can naturally decrease your cholesterol and risk for heart disease. You can improve your organ function as less stress will be placed on things like the liver and kidneys.

Over time, you also reduce your chances of many other health conditions and cancers, but especially colon cancer.

Conclusion

Bottom line, if you are not too keen on saving the animals or saving the environment, then hopefully you at least care about saving yourself by improving your own health, longevity and quality of life.

However, if you are serious about contributing to healing the Earth and restoring its natural resources and natural balance – then reducing and/or eliminating animal products from your diet is something to seriously consider.

Whatever you do decide – I just hope you never say “Oh what does it matter what I do – the actions of one person won’t even make a difference.” If you ever have such a thought, follow it up by considering the following question: what state would our world be in if everybody thought like you?

We have evolved today to so much more and gone are the days where we compare ourselves to our cave-living ancestors. We have more intelligence and information today than perhaps ever before. Our planet is full of diverse plant-food sources that can satisfy almost every nutritional need.

Hence, through the reduction and/or elimination of meat you can and will improve your health, the environment and even save some animals to enjoy life on this Earth in peace.

We all have a choice – what will yours be?