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The Emperor Has Vegan Clothes February 18, 2010

Filed under: Animal Production,vegan lifestyle — sharonsweets @ 1:23 am
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Part of being an ethical vegan means living ethically, including dressing ethically. What you wear could be sourced from suffering, which is totally unnecessary in this age of abundant, gorgeous faux materials that show you are a person of good conscience. Read on to learn the origins of animal-derived clothing.

Leather – The skins of the animals used for meat represent the most economically important byproduct of the meat packing industry. When dairy cows produces less milk, they will often be killed and their skin made into leather, and the hides of their offspring, calves raised for veal, are made into high-priced calfskin. The economic success of the slaughterhouse (and the factory farm) is directly linked to the sale of leather goods.

Leather production is also very dangerous for the environment, and tanning prevents leather from biodegrading. Animal skin is turned into finished leather using a variety of dangerous substances, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, some of which are cyanide-based. Most leather that is produced in the U.S. is chrome-tanned, and the Environmental Protection Agency considers all waste that contains chromium to be hazardous. In addition to the toxic substances mentioned above, tannery effluent also contains large amounts of other pollutants, such as protein, hair, salt, lime sludge, sulfides, and acids. Among the disastrous consequences of this noxious waste is the threat to human health from the highly elevated levels of lead, cyanide, and formaldehyde in the groundwater near tanneries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the incidence of leukemia among residents in an area surrounding one tannery in Kentucky was five times the national average.  (from PETA)

Wool – Some people think vegans are a little silly for not wearing wool because the sheep need to be sheared anyway. Well, conditions for sheep that are mass-farmed are really horrible. There’s a lot of cruelty in this industry. First of all, the animals are in existence primarily for human use, and were bred to have extremely thick coats, while naturally, sheep have just enough of a coat to be able to grow it and shed it themselves as needed. Here’s some more information on the cruel industry (from Vegan Peace):

Photo by Pierre Lascott

Mulesing: Since domesticated sheep can not shed their fleece themselves, their wool will grow longer and longer while flies lay eggs in the moist folds of their skin. The hatched maggots can eat the sheep alive. To prevent this from happening, ranchers will perform an operation called mulesing. Without anesthesia large strips of flesh are cut of the backs of lambs and around their tails. Other procedures performed without anesthesia include punching a hole in the ears of lambs several weeks after birth, docking their tails and castrating the males. The castrations are done when the male lambs are between 2 and 8 weeks old, with the use of a rubber ring to cut off their blood supply.

Shearing: Sheep are sheared in the spring, just before they would naturally shed their winter coats. Because shearing too late would mean a loss of wool, most sheep are sheared while it is still too cold. An estimated one million sheep die every year of exposure after premature shearing. Another problem with sheep shearing is that the shearers are not paid by the hour, but by volume. They handle the animals very roughly and a lot of sheep get injured. Smaller farms may treat their sheep better, but they may exist at all because they are selling the young ones off to slaughter or are killing the older ones after a while for their hides.

Holding Pens: When the wool production of sheep declines, they are sold for slaughter. Millions of lambs and sheep are exported for slaughter each year. In Australia they have to travel long distances before reaching very crowded feedlots, where they are held before being loaded onto ships. Many sheep die in the holding pens.

Transport: Those who survive the holding pens are packed tightly into ships. Lambs born during the trip are often trampled to death. A lot of sheep get injured or die. In Europe they have to travel long distances in tightly packed trucks without food or water. They are frequently exported to countries with minimal slaughter regulations and where the sheep are often conscious while being dismembered.

Silk – The most common species of silkworm (moth larvae) used in commercial silk production has been ‘cultivated’ over many centuries and no longer exists in the wild. On mulberry trees in temperate and disease-controlled conditions, the female deposits annually 1 or 2 batches of 300 to 400 eggs. She secretes a sticky substance and fastens the eggs to a flat surface. The larvae hatch in about 10 days and eat 50,000 times their initial weight in plant material. The silkworm produces a fine thread from its silk glands and uses it to make a cocoon around itself consisting of around 300,000 figure of eight movements. Naturally, the pupae stage would be followed by the secretion of an alkali substance which would eat through the threads – allowing the subsequent emergence of a moth. However, the industry requires the threads to remain intact and so, upon the completion of the cocoon, the pupae are killed by immersion in boiling water, steaming, oven drying or exposure to the hot sun. The producers allow enough adult moths to emerge to ensure continuity of the cycle. The usable silk from each cocoon is minute – around 500 silkworms (or 80kg of cocoons) and 200 kg of mulberry leaves are required to produce just 1 kg of silk. (from VeganViews)

Fur– I am going to give you info straight from PETA here because they have compiled their research so well. Eighty-five percent of the fur industry’s skins come from animals living captive in fur factory farms. These farms can hold thousands of animals, and their farming practices are remarkably uniform around the globe. As with other intensive-confinement animal farms, the methods used in fur factory farms are designed to maximize profits, always at the expense of the animals.

Painful and Short Lives
The most commonly farmed fur-bearing animals are minks, followed by foxes. Chinchillas, lynxes, and even hamsters are also farmed for their fur. Seventy-three percent of fur farms are in Europe, 12 percent are in North America, and the rest are dispersed throughout the world, in countries such as Argentina, China, and Russia. Mink farmers usually breed female minks once a year. There are about three or four surviving kittens in each litter, and they are killed when they are about 6 months old, depending on what country they are in, after the first hard freeze. Minks used for breeding are kept for four to five years. The animals—who are housed in unbearably small cages—live with fear, stress, disease, parasites, and other physical and psychological hardships, all for the sake of an unnecessary global industry that makes billions of dollars annually.

Rabbits are slaughtered by the millions for meat, particularly in China, Italy, and Spain. Once considered a mere byproduct of this consumption, the rabbit-fur industry demands the thicker pelt of an older animal (rabbits raised for meat are killed at the age of 10 to 12 weeks). The United Nations reports that countries such as France are killing as many as 70 million rabbits a year for fur, which is used in clothing, as lures in flyfishing, and for trim on craft items.

Life on the ‘Ranch’

To cut costs, fur farmers pack animals into small cages, preventing them from taking more than a few steps back and forth. This crowding and confinement is especially distressing to minks—solitary animals who may occupy up to 2,500 acres of wetland habitat in the wild. The anguish and frustration of life in a cage leads minks to self-mutilate—biting at their skin, tails, and feet—and frantically pace and circle endlessly. Zoologists at Oxford University who studied captive minks found that despite generations of being bred for fur, minks have not been domesticated and suffer greatly in captivity, especially if they are not given the opportunity to swim.Foxes, raccoons, and other animals suffer just as much and have been found to cannibalize their cagemates in response to their crowded confinement. Animals in fur factory farms are fed meat byproducts considered unfit for human consumption. Water is provided by a nipple system, which often freezes in the winter or might fail because of human error.

Poison and Pain
No federal humane slaughter law protects animals in fur factory farms, and killing methods are gruesome. Because fur farmers care only about preserving the quality of the fur, they use slaughter methods that keep the pelts intact but that can result in extreme suffering for the animals. Small animals may be crammed into boxes and poisoned with hot, unfiltered engine exhaust from a truck. Engine exhaust is not always lethal, and some animals wake up while they are being skinned. Larger animals have clamps attached to or rods forced into their mouths and rods are forced into their anuses, and they are painfully electrocuted. Other animals are poisoned with strychnine, which suffocates them by paralyzing their muscles with painful, rigid cramps. Gassing, decompression chambers, and neck-breaking are other common slaughter methods in fur factory farms.

The fur industry refuses to condemn even blatantly cruel killing methods. Genital electrocution—deemed “unacceptable” by the American Veterinary Medical Association in its “2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia”—causes animals to suffer from cardiac arrest while they are still conscious. In 1994, Indiana became the first state to file criminal charges against a fur factory farm after PETA investigators documented genital electrocution at V-R Chinchillas. The chinchilla fur industry considers electrocution and neck-breaking “acceptable.”

Would You Wear Your Dog?
When PETA conducted an undercover investigation into the dog and cat fur trade in 2005, investigators went to an animal market in Southern China and found that dogs and cats were languishing in tiny cages, visibly exhausted. Some had been on the road for days, transported in flimsy wire-mesh cages with no food or water. Animals were packed so tightly into cages that they could not move. Because of the cross-country transport in such deplorable conditions, our investigators saw dead cats on top of the cages, dying cats and dogs inside the cages, and cats and dogs with open wounds. Some animals were lethargic, and others were fighting with each other, driven insane from confinement and exposure. All of them were terrified.

Investigators reported that up to 8,000 animals were loaded onto each truck, with cages stacked on top of each other. Cages containing live animals were tossed from the tops of the trucks onto the ground 10 feet below, shattering the legs of the animals inside them. Many of the animals still had collars on, a sign that they were once someone’s beloved companions, stolen to be bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be turned into coats, trim, and trinkets.

Undercover investigators from Swiss Animal Protection/EAST International toured fur farms in China’s Hebei Province and found that foxes, minks, rabbits, and other animals were pacing and shivering in outdoor wire cages, exposed to everything from scorching sun to freezing temperatures to driving rain. Disease and injuries are widespread on these farms, and animals suffering from anxiety-induced psychosis chew on their own limbs and repeatedly throw themselves against the cage bars.

The globalization of the fur trade has made it impossible to know where fur products come from. Skins move through international auction houses and are purchased and distributed to manufacturers around the world, and finished goods are often exported. Even if a fur garment’s label says that it was made in a European country, the animals were likely raised and slaughtered elsewhere—possibly on an unregulated Chinese fur farm.

Environmental Destruction
Contrary to fur-industry propaganda, fur production destroys the environment. The amount of energy needed to produce a real fur coat from ranch-raised animal skins is approximately 15 times that needed to produce a fake fur garment. Nor is fur biodegradable, thanks to the chemical treatment applied to stop the fur from rotting. The process of using these chemicals is also dangerous because it can cause water contamination.

Each mink skinned by fur farmers produces about 44 pounds of feces. Based on the total number of minks skinned in the United States in 2004, which was 2.56 million, mink factory farms generate tens of thousands of tons of manure annually. One result is nearly 1,000 tons of phosphorus, which wreaks havoc on water ecosystems.

Fur in Sheep’s Clothing

As fur sales decline, sales of shearling—lambs’ skin with the wool attached—have risen. Some fur manufacturers have actually taken to disguising mink as shearling.Many people are unaware of shearling’s origins or that shearling sales are an incentive for sheep ranchers to increase their stock, thereby adding to the plight of sheep. In Afghanistan, karakul sheep are now raised to produce lambs for the high-end market in “Persian lamb” coats and hats. For “top-quality” lamb skin, the mother is killed just before giving birth and her fetus is cut out. The pelts of the unborn lambs are prized in the fashion world for their silk-like sheen. One karakul hat requires the skin from an entire lamb.  (from PETA)

So, if you’re looking to reduce suffering and to be an ethical vegan, you’ll realize the harm in supporting these cruel industries and opt for the many stylish vegan clothing choices available.

Love,

Sharon

www.sweetutopia.com

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Five Huge Reasons Why We Need Vegan Kids February 17, 2010

Filed under: Vegan Kids,vegan lifestyle — sharonsweets @ 7:35 pm
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Many of you know that I have two little boys that I’ve raised vegan since the start. They are strong, tall, thin, healthy, happy and super-intelligent and witty, well, I won’t get carried away on a mom rave. Not only did I have amazing pregnancies, but I’ve had a blast raising these vegan kids, and nothing ever made me question that. I’m all for adoption as well as having a limited number of biological children, and know that we must invest in vegan kids for the future of this planet. Here’s why.

1. To speak the truth. Who’s going to connect the dots for the other kids between “this little piggy” and ham? At this point in history, there are no teachers spreading the vegan word in our schools. Kids need to be the advocates and educators for the animals. Since kids are most influenced by their peers starting in kindergarten, there’s no time like the present to teach kids where food comes from, enabling them to be little vegan messengers. On a broader scale, we need to get vegan kids prepped to function in the nonvegan world, ready to influence nonvegans, and create the planet we envision. This means we need to allow our kids to mix and mingle with all folks, not to segregate them.

2. Social organization, peewee style. By all means, we need to form communities with our little ones. Vegan playdates! Vegan parenting groups! It’s so important to have this social network that breeds affirmation and organization, but I think it’s equally as important to get away from it just as often, so kids don’t become overly sheltered. We need them to feel comfortable across societal lines.

3. Our communal health depends on vegan kids. Have you looked around the US lately? We’re out of control with obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and all kinds of ailments hitting at young ages like never before. A vegan diet has virtually no cholesterol, and a much, much lower level of saturated fat. With proper nutrition, vegans eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains that build a healthy, disease-resistant body. And what about all the diseases that are mutating from farm animals–Swine Flu, Mad Cow, and many more to come. Also, animal waste runoff has led to many outbreaks of E. coli poisoning from vegetables, and this problem is getting worse.

4. The earth. Our environment simply cannot sustain a population fed with animal products. How much longer are we going to clearcut forests to raise cattle, pollute our water with hormones and antibiotics from factory farms, allow animal waste to contaminate land and water, and feed most of our grain to farm animals rather than people? Isn’t it a major sign that antibiotics don’t work anymore because animals have been dosed with them for so long that people have built up immunity?  People are interested in becoming more “green” and there’s one major way to do this. Go vegan.

5. To make it fun and exciting. Let’s face it, kids can make veganism enticing and cool as no adult can. More and more young people are becoming vegetarian and vegan, and are educating their older family members. Youth will be the key in making a vegan lifestyle become the norm. It’s happening!

Love,

Sharon

www.SweetUtopia.com

 

Countdown to the Class Valentine’s Party February 10, 2010

Filed under: Vegan Kids,vegan lifestyle — sharonsweets @ 5:52 pm
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So every time my kids have a holiday party in their class, I get advance notice and get to work planning. I don’t want my kids to ever feel ostracized by their diet and lifestyle, so I always make sure they get stuff in line with their peers at parties. Of course this is tons of extra work for me, but it’s important. For this Valentine’s party, actually I mean 3 parties, since my kindergarten son has 2 schools and my toddler has one, here’s what I’ve done already by Wednesday for the party Friday:

-Bought eco-friendly valentines. 4 packages of really cool valentines for the kiddos. One type was recycled and had recycled material tattoos, in a rainforest theme, the other was also recycled and had sheet cutouts with seeds in them that the kids could later plant. There were also the ubiquitous stickers that kids love to stick everywhere. The best thing is that I found these at Target for $2.99 each pack.

-Rice Krispy treats. The other day I found some whole grain puffed rice in the super. It was nowhere near the Rice Krispies! Today, after playing in the massive snow with the kids while the hot chocolate was cooking, I broke out the Dandies vegan marshmallows that I bought on Pangaea http://www.veganstore.com. I melted some of the unused marshmallows with Earth Balance vegan butter in the microwave. It overflowed and got sticky gooey marshmallow all over the microwave! I stirred the unmeasured mixture into some puffed rice and squeezed it onto a little pan and refrigerated it. Later we cut it and it was delicious! The rest went into a container for school Friday.

-Cupcakes. I’m making cupcakes straight outta SWEET UTOPIA for the classes, most likely vanilla. Simple and they please everyone. I’m sure the cupcakes will be decorated with plenty of frosting and colored sugar by a 5 year old tomorrow.

-Jello. In addition to all the other sweets, the class is having red jello, but my kids will be sent with vegan fruit gel cups from the refrigerator section at Trader Joe’s. These are quite delicious.

-Candy. Yup, they’re also having conversation hearts at the party, but my kids will take their favorite vegan jellybeans from veganstore.com. What a treat!

-Cheese and dip. Also at the party will be cheese and crackers, and dip and veggies. I’ll send in Tofutti cheese slices from the supermarket and some humus, and vegan whole grain crackers from Trader Joe’s (just in case).

-Pizza. Yes, they’re also having pizza! These kids can really eat! I’ll have to make pizza for dinner tomorrow night and put some aside for them for the next day’s lunch. I use a ready refrigerated dough, marinara and Daiya cheese.

-Plates. Can you believe they also want me to bring in heart plates to the party? Quick trip to the dollar store and I got this covered.

Glad I got so much done before this crazy snowstorm.

Can’t wait until Friday!! The kids are going to get so high on sugar, and they’ll crash right in time to go home!

Love,

Sharon

www.sweetutopia.com

 

A Vegan Trip to Target February 4, 2010

Filed under: Recipes & Food Ideas,vegan lifestyle — sharonsweets @ 6:16 pm
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I wish I didn’t spend so much money on my infrequent trips to Tar-jay. I always go to stock up on the usual kid stuff, natural cleaning supplies, house stuff, etc. Since not everyone is familiar with how much actual FOOD they sell, I thought I’d make a list of some of the cool things you can find at your local Target store. Target has their own brand of mainly natural foods called Archer Farms. Archer farms has everything from soymilk, to nuts, cereal, natural snacks, and a whole lot more, and is the brand to look for first as a vegan shopping for food at this megastore. You’ll still need to spend some time exploring and reading labels, but once you are used to it, you can make out like a bandit with shopping bags full of vegan food.

– Breakfast. There’s so much to choose from: Archer Farms whole grain flax frozen waffles, refrigerated juices,  hash browns, natural cake and bread mixes, real maple syrup, natural oatmeals, bread, bagels, baking supplies, peanut butter, humus, jelly, dried fruit (though most have sulfur dioxide) and gourmet coffees. The best thing is all the Archer Farms gourmet granola, muesli and other cereals.

-Veggie meat – You should read the labels, because there are some animal products in the vegetarian meats they sell, but many of the Boca meats are vegan, like the chicken patties and nuggets.

-Frozen entrees – You can eat well after your trip to Target. Pick up vegan burritos, Indian food, potstickers with rice and veggies, Asian vegan chicken stir fry, and more.

-Soymilk – There are many varieties of soymilk, including Target’s Archer Farms brand and Silk.

-Munchies – There are way too many to name! You can find everything from organic tortilla chips, salsas, humus, natural fruit bars, granola bars, Luna and Clif bars, Annie’s natural cookies and snacks, fruit sauces with no preservatives, as well as your regular chips, and gourmet snacks of every type.

-Dessert – Don’t leave the store without checking out the chocolate section, where you can find a variety of gourmet vegan chocolate bars, some even organic.  Archer Farms has exotic sorbet flavors, like blueberry lavender and pomegranate blood orange.

-Frozen veggies – You can stock up on any kind of frozen veggie or even natural flavored, herbed roasted potatoes of various sorts.

– Sauces & instant meals – Archer Farms makes really delicious organic and non-organic salsas. Target also sells many other sauces and natural Asian and other meals that you can hydrate and cook quickly.

– Drinks. Look for all kinds of exotic and enhanced fruit juices, healthier energy drinks and sparkling drinks.

-Baby stuff. You can find lots of baby food, including some organic types.

I hope you’ll enjoy your next trip to Target! Leave lots of time to poke around and read labels. There’s so much to buy, at great prices. And if you bring your own shopping bags, you get 5 cents back per bag at the register.

Love,

Sharon

www.sweetutopia.com

 

Indulge: 10 Easy Rules for Feeling Great January 29, 2010

I don’t deprive myself of cravings, I don’t diet, I don’t count calories, I don’t eliminate any vegan foods from my diet, I will eat anything vegan, and I have chocolate every day. Today I’m sharing some of the food wisdom that helps me get through the week and keeps me healthy, happy and fit.

1-Enjoy a rainbow. Eat all colors of foods, especially when it comes to veggies and fruits. Take time in the produce aisle or farmer’s market to explore and try new things. Don’t be intimidated; you can always Google a vegetable’s preparation. Buy what tickles your fancy because food should be enjoyable.

2-Get a bit of fat. I gained the most weight when I tried the fad fat-free diet. Now I eat a decent amount of healthy fats from soy, avocados, nuts, seeds, olive, flax and coconut oil, and I feel full, without my body freaking out that it’s not getting any fat and thus holding on to whatever it can produce from sugar and carbs.

3-Protein. I don’t feel full without eating protein at each meal and most snacks. I always make sure I roll that in or else I stay hungry. Good sources are beans, nuts, seeds, and veggie meats. Some whole grains already contain a lot of protein, like quinoa.

4-Don’t forget the treats. No chocolate? I don’t think so. Yes, Ms. Sweet Utopia eats treats each day. I just make sure I don’t overdo it. And if I do, I drink extra water, reduce the next meal substantially or eat only veggies for a little bit, and I kick up the exercise. Once you are in tune with your body, you can really tell where your body’s balance is, and do what it takes to maintain it when something like sugar comes around a little too strong.

5-Build your meals using carb blocks. Whole grains are best, but don’t overdo portion sizes of any of them. Using fat, protein and plenty of raw or lightly cooked vegetables with your carbs allows you to eat less carbs and still fill up. I eat various breads, pastas, rice, quinoa, millet, etc. but I don’t overdo it too often.

6-Snack a lot. I have a healthy, filling snack between each meal so I don’t have to eat 3 huge main meals.

7-Drink up. Keep hydrated with water. A glass or two of green tea, coffee, herbal tea, fortified nondairy milk, or very watered down juice is also good. Bonus points if you break out the juicer.

8-Mix it up & be happy. Vary everything you eat to maximize nutrition and enjoyment. Vegan and healthy should never bore you.

9-Movement and Rest. You really do need to get off your butt! Especially if you’re stuck at a computer all day. Carve out exercise time. Take a few extra minutes at your break to go to the gym and at least do cardio. Get up earlier. Run around or dance with your kids. Use weights. Do yoga. Go for walks and hikes. Or just jump around for a few minutes here and there. All this will kick up your metabolism so you can eat what feels good to you and not worry about it. And make sure that you get lots of rest. A good solid chunk of sleep at night, naps when you can, and just resting any other time you feel you need it will keep you healthy and less burned out.

10-Supplement. Everyone-especially vegans-needs to make sure they are getting the basics. I always add things in to our meals like flax oil or flax meal, DHA, nutritional yeast for B vitamins, dulse flakes for trace minerals, and green probiotic powder. We take multivitamins and calcium/vitamin d/magnesium, and other vitamins as needed. If we feel we’re getting sick, we’ll fight it with zinc, vitamin c and echinacea and herbal immune support supplements. It works well. Take some time to tour the vitamin section of your health food store. We’ll talk more about supplements another time.

You can eat really well and be radiantly healthy, without extremes and deprivation. It’s all about making smart choices and finding your own balance so that you can be fit and feel great.

 

Easy Green Habits January 28, 2010

Filed under: vegan lifestyle — sharonsweets @ 7:54 pm
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I’ve been aiming green since high school, many, many years ago. Now that it’s so popular, I feel so cool. Hey, green is even my favorite color. Here are some of the things we can all do to be “greener”:

-Buy things with less packaging or easily recyclable packaging.

-Recycle whatever we can. That is, cans, bottles, and more. I keep bins for mixed paper and bring them to the town recycling center. It’s amazing how quickly these fill up. My son started kindergarten and gets a stack of paper to bring home every day. Add that to piles of junk mail and that can really clog up a landfill if you don’t recycle it.

-Buy economy sizes and refill containers, like liquid soaps.

-Use cold water to wash clothes whenever possible. Always use cold water to rinse. Make sure your laundry loads are full. When you are ready for a new machine, buy an HE Energy Star washer that uses less water and energy. If you can use a laundry line outside instead of a dryer, that’s a huge plus. Use natural detergents that you can buy in Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I was given these very cool laundry balls that you can use in place of detergent. It has greatly reduced the amount of detergent I use.

-Bring your canvas bags everywhere you shop. As extra incentive, you’ll get 5 cents back at most supermarkets and even Target for doing so.

-Get take out less often. Reuse the containers, plastic ware and bags from take out. Recycle the brown bags and reuse the plastic ones.

-Turn off lights and unplug appliances and other devices that are not in use. Even if something is powered off, it still uses electricity.

-Change your car’s air filter and keep it tuned up. This will help clean the air that is emitted from the car and maintain its fuel efficiency. Don’t keep a lot of unused junk in the car, as heavier weight causes fuel inefficiency.

-Change to fluorescent bulbs. It’s easy and cheap and you will get brighter lights out of it, plus you’ll lower your bills. There are some very cool looking bulbs now, much nicer and softer than the traditional squiggly ones.

-Shorten your showers and don’t leave water running. Hot water requires a lot of work from your hot water heater.

-Turn down the heat when you are not at home and at night. Use a space heater if you need to rather than heating your entire house.

-Opt for online or email billing.

-Don’t print things out. Read online. Magnify your view if needed.

-Donate clothes,  shoes and toys you are not using.

-Buy pre-owned stuff. It takes a lot of energy and materials to produce new things like toys, clothes, cars, etc.

-Eat less processed food. This uses less energy to produce and less packaging.

-Reuse plastic bags and use fewer plastic bags.

-Use reusable containers for food and drinks.

-Grow your own food. Or visit your local farmers.

-Eat leftovers. When you can’t, feed them to your pet. This is perfect in my house since I have dogs and a rabbit. Here’s an idea: you can adopt a rabbit from a shelter and he’ll eat all your vegetable scraps. Perfect! And you’ll have a great friend too.

-Buy natural food and cleaning supplies.

-Compost.

-Drive less. Combine errand-running trips. Don’t let your car idle.

-Eat vegan food. I’ll cover this one a lot in other posts! It’s the greenest thing you can do.

 

Are You Green (I Mean, Vegan)?

Filed under: vegan lifestyle — sharonsweets @ 12:14 am
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Well, word’s finally gotten out that you can’t go around calling yourself an environmentalist if you’re not a vegan. Even if you drive a Prius and unplug things when you go out. That means anyone who eats meat or animal products is contributing to global warming and the destruction of the earth at a higher rate of those who do not.

It’s great if you drive an energy-efficient car, you insulate your home, unplug appliances and turn off lights, use items with less packaging and recycle, etc. But once you pick up that burger 0r chicken patty, you’re wrecking your record. Cows emit tons of methane. And that’s not just it. Their waste destroys land and and overuses and pollutes our water. They are eating many times the amount of grain that could be fed directly to people, wasting so many resources in the process. Livestock also contributes about 2/3 of ammonia emissions, which acidify the environment, causing acid rain and much other damage. Chemicals and antibiotics that the animals are loaded up with don’t just go away. They are found all over the environment, such as in the water supply. Forests of all kinds, including rainforests, are cleared to make room for animals to pasture. Recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang finds that “livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.”

From PETA (goveg.com):

“More than half of the water used in the United States today goes to animal agriculture, and since farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than the human population, the run-off from their waste is fouling our waterways. Animal excrement emits gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, that poison the air around farms, as well as methane and nitrous oxide, which are major contributors to global warming. Forests are being bulldozed to make more room for factory farms and feed crops to feed farmed animals, and this destruction causes soil erosion and contributes to species extinction and habitat loss. Raising animals for food also requires massive amounts of food and raw materials: Farmed animals consume 70 percent of the corn, wheat, and other grains that we grow, and one-third of all the raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S. go to raising animals for food.”

It’s really impossible to be an environmentalist if you use animal products.

For some more really fascinating related facts from “Diet for a New America” by John Robbins, see http://www.soystache.com/environm.htm