Spring has finally sprung in a big way, just in time for Earth Day. Tomorrow, why not try something new, while also doing your part to help save the planet?
Number three on the “Top 10 Actions” to help the environment on the Earth Day Canada website is try eating meat-free at least one day a week. The reason according to them is this: a meat-based diet requires seven times more land than a plant-based diet. Livestock production is responsible for more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world. Specifically, according to a report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in November 2006, “The livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent—18 percent—than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.” If the environmental reason wasn’t enough, we all know by now that a shift towards a more plant-based diet is also recommended to ward of chronic disease and maintain your health.
So what to do? Tomorrow, instead of slapping that 12-oz. New York Strip on the fire, try some lighter, fresher fare. One thing you need to remember: when you don’t eat meat, you need to make sure you still get adequate protein for a healthy body and mind. With items such as quinoa (considered a whole protein, like soy, providing all essential amino acids for your body), lentils, brown rice, seeds and nuts as part of your daily diet, you should have no problem. You could also try soy products such as tofu, tempeh or edamame beans. Variety is the spice of life, so don’t be boring and settle for an all-soy menu. Load up on plenty of fruits and vegetables to get all your vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. If you find you are liking your new veggie lifestyle, you might think about signing up for the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s 1 week Veggie Challenge. There’s lots of information and resources available on their website to help you on your quest, and you might even win a prize like a cookbook, magazine subscription, or cooking class.
To round out your Earth Day, why not attend one of the many celebrations happening in Toronto? At 1 p.m., Reclaim Earth Day takes place at Metro Hall Square. It’s a rally to make a ton of noise to send a loud message to Stephen Harper that we demand meaningful action on climate change. So bring a bell, or better yet an airhorn, and get into the grassroots spirit. There will be also be talks by many well known environmental advocates including earth-based spiritualist Starhawk, Toronto’s own Gord Perks, and Dave Martin of Greenpeace. At 2 p.m. you can join the march over to a street fair on John Street co-ordinated by Streets Are For People featuring music, dancing, hands-on activities and free environmental film screenings at the National Film Board.
Really, everyday should be Earth Day, so think of tomorrow as a spring-board to a healthier, more environmentally friendly way of life. Have fun!
Photo by e.dward from Flickr.