In keeping with my theme of publishing rejected op-eds and letters to the editor (because why let that writing go to waste) I’m posting here a letter to the editor submission to the Sydney Morning Herald in February 2017.
It’s difficult to say whether the latest heat wave across Australia is the result of climate change, but it does serve as a good reminder for how individuals can make a meaningful difference to the environment. Many concerned citizens have taken steps to make their lives more green by getting solar panels and replacing cars with bikes and buses. However, one of the most effective ways to reduce environmental impact is often overlooked.
A vegan will produce on average 50% less carbon dioxide, use 1/11th the oil, 1/13th the water, and 1/18th the land compared to an omnivore, considering only food related use. Being vegan is easy and is more impactful than getting solar panels, taking less showers, buying locally and riding a bike.
Not to mention it lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many cancers. It’s even much better for the health of the animals. An average vegan will spare thousands of animals over their life from an existence of pain, cruelty and abuse.
If you want to be an effective environmentalist, sure, get solar panels. But make sure you go vegan as well.