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The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

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Veggie Diets Are NOT The Elitist, Unsustainable Lies You’ve Been Told

Dear Those Who Want to Make A Difference,

You may have heard all sorts of things about vegetarianism/veganism. In our capitalist society, there are a few elitist stereotypes surrounding veggie diets that say they are unaffordable or unsustainable. In reality, this is a skewed and Western-centric way of thinking.
America sells the lie that you can only be a vegetarian/vegan through tofu, Whole Foods, and cashew cheese. Looking beyond our capitalistic vision of what a plant-based diet looks like, we see that really, vegetarian/vegan diets are commonplace in much of the world, and indeed are affordable and sustainable, even in our capitalist society. Here’s how.

1. Sustainable eating is cheaper and healthier – Oxford study (Oxford University)

Oxford University has proven the economical and healthful benefits of veggie diets. Studies have shown that out of the many green diets out there, “Vegan diets were the most affordable and reduced food costs by up to one-third. Vegetarian diets were a close second, (and) flexitarian diets with low amounts of meat and dairy reduced costs by 14%.”
Veggie diets go far beyond Beyond Burgers™ (pun intended). Rice, beans, spinach, and nuts are all extremely commonplace foods that will make up most of your diet. Even spaghetti is vegan!
Your life won’t change as drastically as you think upon switching to a vegetarian/vegan diet, but your grocery bill might change for the better.

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2. A Vegan diet massively cuts environmental damage, study shows (The Guardian)

The global food industry emits ⅓ of total greenhouse gasses into the Earth’s atmosphere. Some people argue that there isn’t a significant environmental impact of vegetarianism/veganism compared to eating meat—yet, science disputes this claim. According to The Guardian, “vegan diets resulted in 75% less climate-heating emissions, water pollution and land use than diets in which more than 100g of meat a day was eaten”
No practice is perfect under capitalism, but the effects of a veggie diet are overwhelmingly positive on the environment. The article continues, stating “even the lowest-impact meat – organic pork – is responsible for eight times more climate damage than the highest-impact plant, oilseed.”

3. My Own Vegetarian Experience

I’ve been a vegetarian for 6 years—since I was 12 years old. I eat tons of vegetables, but I also eat pasta and pizza. It’s not an unattainable lifestyle, and it’s not scary!
I’m not a perfect person in terms of my environmental impact, and there are far more things we could all improve upon; transportation, clothing waste, etc. In addition, much of the blame for climate change falls on large corporations and not individuals. But this doesn’t mean we are free from all personal responsibility!
As adolescents, we are inheriting the earth. It’s a tough job, especially today. But we have to take personal responsibility for our actions, and this is, in my opinion, one of the easiest ways to start.

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