Yogis for a Sustainable Diet
by Andrea Kowalski
Zemrah E. Moriel
Amid all the hype surrounding Earth Day, a yogi can't help but wonder how much he or she, acting individually, can make a difference. Of course, the answer is that every choice counts, including riding your bike to work, composting, recycling, and consuming less. However, the factor that can reduce your carbon footprint most dramatically is the choice that you make three times daily: what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In a 2006 United Nations study, meat consumption was cited as one of the most significant factors in global warming: Scientists declared that raising animals for food is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector. And according to a 2005 University of Chicago study, adopting a vegetarian diet can shrink your carbon footprint by up to 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year. (In comparison, trading a standard car for a hybrid cuts about one ton.) Aside from the undeniable environmental benefits of eating such a diet, yogis may also consider the ahimsic benefits: A vegetarian diet spares the lives of more than 100 innocent beings per year.
This week, make a significant impact on your carbon footprint by establishing a plan to go veg several days a week (if not completely). Get guidance and some great recipes from this free Vegetarian Starter Kit from the editors of Vegetarian Times and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Patronize restaurants that tread lightly on the earth, or consider growing your own organic fruits and veggies in a backyard or rooftop garden. Finally, inspire us with your in-progress plans, or make a pledge to reduce your carbon footprint. Happy Earth Day!