This all started a while ago, when I thought for the four-hundredth time what am I doing to actually help save the planet. I don’t know if you have noticed by the recycling seems to have gone a bit tits up lately, so I decided to check in on the facts behind this and see what really makes a difference. And so far it looks like eating is the first and last most important thing according to WHO, UN and now me.

I started off as a veggie, so i did not have to change my ways to stop eating meat, I came that way, no one noticed at first that it was always the meat or fish being thrown on the floor. And as I grew I used to think it was completely up to personal choice, not my business what anyone does or doesn’t do. Turns out it does matter to all of us what anyone of us does, it is like this great cartoon I once saw …

Image result for cartoon about lucky the boats not sinking

Which unforunately Is a pretty good depiction of society, and the general short sightedness. We are so sure that there should not be any changes to our lives.

Change is Needed

Which is why on my eco retreats I have always made them veggie, and almost always pretty much vegan. But If you need a bit more of a background before making this choice, please keep reading.

Eat Less Meat. Believe it or not, cutting back on your consumption of meat can make a huge difference in the environment for more then one reason. More than 30 percent of the Earth’s surface is being used to raise and support livestock. According to a United Nations study, “the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.” Cutting back on your meat consumption is an important step in reducing the overall emission of GWP gases. Less livestock also means more land we can enjoy and use for recreation and cultivation of greener more bio diverse crops. Plus most meat comes in single use plastics. Consider replacing some of your meat-heavy meals with vegetables or eating more seafood! ”

And the arguement against Soy is…..

“Maybe you’ve heard that soy is bad for the environment because forests are being cut down to make room for soy plantations. Vegans are often told by meat-eaters that their soy products are therefore bad (even though as a vegan you can live without soy). Fortunately, if you’re in Europe then you don’t contribute to the removal of any forests and in this blog, we’ll explain why.

Nowadays most soy is grown in South America. Because plantation owners can earn a lot of money from growing it, there are more and more soy plantations being created. To make room for this, rainforests are often destroyed, including unique parts of the Amazon. This is not only bad for the environment, but also for the people and wildlife in the area. Every year 1 to 2 million hectares of rainforest in South America are deforested, leading to the extinction of many rare plants and animals. Deforestation is not only caused by the creation of soy plantations. In the last 30 years, animal farming has been the biggest cause of deforestation. More than 70 percent of this deforestation was to make room for factory farming. After animal agriculture, soy cultivation is the second largest cause of forest felling, which is unfortunately also caused by animal agriculture.

And who eats the Soy?

The vast majority of South American soy is grown as an ingredient for animal feed. To grow food for all the livestock in the Netherlands alone, an area the size of roughly 1 million football fields full of soy are grown every year. Most of the soy for livestock comes from South America, as the soy is much cheaper there than in Europe. More than 90% of the soya cultivated in South America is grown purely as animal feed. By eating meat, dairy or eggs, you therefore contribute to deforestation in the Amazon region.

The rest of the soy is used for the most part as biofuel (an estimated 6-7 percent). Ultimately, only about 3-4 percent of the soya cultivation in South America is used for so-called ‘soy products’. For a meat burger, 5 times as much soy is needed as for a soy burger, so if you want to use less soy, you should switch to meat and dairy substitutes.

And another thing!

In addition, meat and dairy substitutes that are for sale in Europe are not made from soy that caused deforestation. Almost all soy in South America is genetically modified soy and is only used in Europe as animal feed. The remaining 3-4 percent of soy for human consumption from South America goes mainly to the United States and a few other countries where genetically modified soy is used in products for human consumption. In Europe, it’s permitted to sell products with genetically modified soy (or other GMO crops), but it’s legally required to state on the packaging that the product contains GMO soy. Because producers know that genetic modification is not exactly popular in Europe, there are barely any products with GMO soy on sale. In any case, we’ve never seen a product that said it contained GMO ingredients in the Netherlands (where we live). There are currently no meat substitutes or plant-based milks containing genetically engineered soy in the Netherlands, so buying them doesn’t contribute to deforestation in South America. In addition, many brands of soy products also work with sustainability certificates and are transparent about where their soy comes from (at Alpro, for example, their soy is mainly grown in Canada and the EU). So you can eat soy products in Europe without worrying about the environmental impact.”

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