DH and I have been married for 5 years + some change. We finally got around to celebrating yesterday – we did all things gardening – something we both love. We started the day at the Lawrence Farmer’s Market, took … Continue reading
I really, really, really, really, really try to not preach about veganism. When I started my checkered path on July 5, 2004 I did it because I wanted to change my impact on the earth – not become an insufferable nag who people don’t like to hang out with (I save those qualities for DH). For the most part, I think I achieve this. Here is a list of things I try to never do as a vegan:
(list 18) Things I Try Not To Do as a Vegan
- Comment on what other people are eating.
- Tell people I am vegan unless they ask why I am not eating something.
- Refuse to go to a restaurant because there won’t be any vegan (or vegetarian) options.
- Talk about being vegan unless it is apropos to something in the conversation or I know the person has similar interests in veganism/vegetarianism/organic food. For example, my coworker Mark (who is on the other end of the political spectrum) is a vegetarian and he always likes to discuss vegan or vegetarian recipes.
- Cry, stomp, or act miffed when somebody bites into some sort of meaty/cheesy concoction and expresses delight at how good it is in order to get me to react. (Think Homer Simpson taunting Lisa.) I have been really surprised by how often that happens, especially at work, once somebody finds out I am vegan.
BUT (you knew there was one coming), today is Earth Day, and I am going to imbibe in some pro-veganism campaigning. Becoming vegan does way more for the environment than driving a hybrid or recycling (although those are good too!). I am not a perfect vegan, but I sure try, and here are the enviromental reasons why:
(list 19) Environmental Reasons I Am a Vegan
- U.S. livestock consume more than six and a half times as much grain as the entire U.S. human population consumes directly. According to the Council for Agriculture Science and Technology, if all this grain was consumed directly by humans, it would nourish five times as many people as it does after it is converted into meat, milk and eggs.
- A vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4200 gallons of water per day.
- Animal agriculture accounts for more than 80% of annual world deforestation.
There are other reasons I am a vegan, but I won’t get in to those. If you want to know more, please ask me or read The Food Revolution by John Robbins. He rejected the Baskin Robbins fortune in order to pursue veganism. He lays out health, environmental, and moral reasons to be a vegan. It convinced me – and I had no prior inclination to anything other than meat and cheese (other than trying to be a vegetarian for three days in high school).
I am not a vegan role model. Too often I am tempted by something in the house – this week it was a forkful of blueberry stilton cheese and a root beer float ice cream bar. But I try, I really do. I encourage you, on Earth Day, to avoid meat and cheese and milk tonight. Do it for the earth.
OK, really, I am done. Zipping my lips. No more on the subject. Shhhh!
There are many things in my home that I would be embarrassed to show family, friends or strangers. But first on that list is our store of plastic bags in the kitchen cabinet under the sink. Despite best intentions, we accumulate too many – a horrific amount. Why? (It is not because we don’t have plenty of reusable bags. I even have a really cute Wilco one that came free with a CD purchase with a great, super-long handle.)
(list 10) Reasons We Have Too Many Plastic Bags
- We seem to forget more than remember to bring reusable bags to the grocery store.
- I never even think to bring reusable bags to stores other than grocery stores, and all those stores put stuff in plastic bags.
- Everything is put in plastic bags! Even when you go to the city market and have a bag to put stuff in, the vendors generally wrap stuff in a plastic bag, if you don’t keep an eye on them. If you buy even just one thing, even something with a carrying handle, like a purse, they put it in a plastic bag.
So here are my ideas of how to reduce and reuse the number of plastic bags that you consume. I hope you find at least one useful. If you need convincing that you should be reducing the number of plastic bags consumed, read here.
(list 11) Ways To Reduce The Number of Plastic Bags
- Use them for crafts! Craftzine has some great ideas here. My favorite being making fused plastic bag fabric to make reusable bags. Tres chic recursion, Batman! I am going to try to make one this weekend – I will post the results – good or bad.
- Obtain some reusable bags and leave them in the car. (And return them to the car after you have unloaded the shopping.) Per my friend Chris (who gave his whole family reusable bags for Christmas last year), the best ones out there are available at local Price Chopper stores – only $0.99 and they hold a whole lot of stuff. Pryde’s in Kansas City also has cute reusable string and canvas bags. And, of course, Etsy has tons that are so adorable to induce squealing. Finally, there are lots of reusable bags and scary facts about plastic bags at reusablebags.com.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a cashier to not put something in a bag.
- Recycle your existing plastic bags. In the Kansas City metro area, per recyclespot.org, plastic bags can be recycled at Hy-Vees, Price-Choppers, and Hen Houses. Most community recycling centers do not accept plastic bags, other than newspaper sleeves.
- Move to Europe. Reusable bags seem to be the norm there. I found that out the hard way in Paris, when I bought some groceries and then had to carry my groceries in my arms back to the hotel when my biodegradable plastic bag (that the cashier grudgingly gave me) gave way.
- Buy less stuff.
I hope you use one less! (Oh, and the answer isn’t paper.)