Is the UN Taking Sustainable Living to the Extreme? Too Much to Swallow for Some

In thinking of sustainable living many have become hip to the fact that beef is well, unsustainable. Between the farming practices, transportation, and even the gas those cows pass the carbon footprint, or hoofprint, is alarming. But while many Americans are still trying to swallow the fact that they can’t as guilelessly as before down their burgers, all health reasons aside, there has been an ever more drastic movement gaining momentum: vegetarianism or even, gulp, veganism.

What the heck is veganism? Much stricter than eliminating just meat from the diet such as in vegetarianism, “vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals,” as is outlined by the Vegan Action group. Veganism extends not only into what we eat but virtually everything we consume. Is this the epitome of sustainable living or is it a way of thinking that is just too outrageous for the masses to digest and instead lead them to give up all together?

The UN has just recently released a statement that “a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change.” The report went on to state, “A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.” Surely there is merit to what is being said but with such a hard and fast list of what is off limits to consumers, the road ahead looks daunting especially when even the man behind Tofurky upon a sampling of his products admitted, “None were very good.” Still that is not an excuse to give up, throw in the sustainable living towel, and head to McDonald’s.

Instead take it bit by bit and implement one change at a time; you may not ever wind up downing soy beans and soy meat like a champ but consciously opt for chicken at first and then take a sampling of the faux-meat spread. The industry is growing, there is a demand for it and for good reason, and surely refined recipes will appeal to a broader palette. The reasons behind going vegetarian or even vegan are aplenty and shouldn’t be ignored but at the same time on overload of the ethics or modifications all at once may be a case of biting off more than you can chew.

Sustainable living encompasses more that what is on our plates; it can start with changes around the dinner table and then looking at the other areas: cosmetics, ethical consumerism as it relates to animals on the whole, and becoming informed. Finally, depriving oneself all at once is only going to set one up for failure so if you just have to have that burger do so; but make it a ‘treat’ and perhaps offset that by supporting more sustainable living causes in retribution.

Photo credit: Vegan Action