Hunting, a healthy diet for a healthy planet.
I don’t know if it is just me, but it appears to be trendy to be vegan in today’s day and age. As a hunter I obviously am not a vegan and enjoy eating meat.
I am however curious, and I like to think of myself as open minded, which leads me to asking the vegans I know, why did they become vegan?
From these conversations it appears that there are two main reasons why the people I know became vegan.
The first of the two reasons is because they love animals and don’t want to contribute to any of them dying.
The second is because they care for the environment and want to reduce the harm their diet causes to the environment.
Both reasons are noble reasons and have merit. However, I personally have exception to both.
I can understand that some people don’t want to kill cute animals, just so that you can eat. But modern-day crop farming has effects on animal’s habitat, the food chain and directly kills what are considered pest animals. At what point do you draw the line, when is the death of an animal no longer caused by your requirement to eat?
Moving onto the second reason, an environmentally friendly diet. As a hunter I spend a lot of time in the wild and I can see that we have less and less wild spaces, animals that once were common place are now harder to find, and it appears that even in the middle of nowhere I can still find rubbish.
I agree that people as a whole need to change the way we live and improve our environment. But is taking meat out of our diet, what is needed and is going vegan really better for the environment?
It is undoubted that all farming, including farming stock for meat has negative effects on our environment. But is farming stock for meat any worse than crop farming?
Palm oil is found in everything from bread and ice-cream to soap and beauty products. To grow palm oil, huge areas of some of our most valuable and vulnerable rainforests are being cut down, burnt and turned into palm plantations. This causes the release of the greenhouse gases trapped in the trees, as well as destroys the habitat of endangered species. https://www.wwf.org.au/what-we-do/food/palm-oil#gs.jeb3r5
Fertilizers used on sugar cane fields gets washed into the ocean and is devastating the world heritage listed great barrier reef, by stimulating algae growth which smothers the coral. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/15/great-barrier-reef-four-rivers-are-most-responsible-for-pollution
Other staple vegan food such as rice, soy and avocados have their own environmental and social evils.
To grow rice a total change of the landscape is required, this is so that it can be flooded and made into rice paddy to produce a viable quantity of rice. Microbes that feed off decaying plant matter in these fields produce the greenhouse gas methane. The amount of methane being created by the world’s rice production is considerable being around 12% of global annual emissions. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/06/how-rice-is-hurting-the-planet/#:~:text=Global%20rice%20production%20is%20releasing,Environmental%20Defense%20Fund%20(EDF).&text=Flooding%20isn’t%20strictly%20necessary,the%20spread%20of%20invasive%20weeds.
Soy is currently being grown in Brazil where the Amazon Rain forest is being deforested at an alarming rate to make way for soy. The Amazon Rainforest is needed as it produces roughly 20% of the earth’s oxygen, is responsible for large amounts of rainfall, not to mention that it is the world’s most biodiverse habitat. https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/why-soy-is-bad-for-you-and-the-planet#:~:text=Industrial%20soybean%20crops%20need%20large,cause%20birth%20defects%20in%20humans.
Avocadoes require lots and lots of water and are being grown by big business in poor countries such as Mexico and Chile. Here the water rights are bought or the water is just simply stolen, so that the avocado plantations can get enough water for large crop yields. Meanwhile whole towns go without any suitable drinking water. This monopoly on water also has devastating environmental effects such as lowering ground water and increased salinity. https://youmatter.world/en/benefits-avocados-production-bad-people-planet-27107/#:~:text=According%20to%20some%20studies%2C%20avocados,footprint%20of%201981%20m3%2Fton. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/17/chilean-villagers-claim-british-appetite-for-avocados-is-draining-region-dry
As you can see from the above examples just eating a plant based diet does not make your diet any more environmentally friendly or moral than a meat eater.
So, what is an environmentally friendly diet? To me there are two answers, but first some key points that I think are important to recognise. People in general in today’s day and age eat far more calories than what their body actually needs to function. We generally live very relaxed or lazy lifestyles than people of the past (Think hunter gatherer or early homesteader.)
The most environmentally friendly diet in my opinion is to go way back to the very basics and become a hunter gatherer. No land clearing or habitat destruction or change is needed for this diet.
The only plants and animals killed are the ones that were living wild, free, and happy until the very day they become food. I can assure you that when you are literately searching for your food all day and have to hunt and gather it yourself, it is hard work and you will only take what you need and use every little bit of it ensuring no food wastage.
But we all have jobs so we can pay our internet bills so that we can read this blog, right? So we really don’t have time for this environmentally friendly diet.
My second suggestion for the most environmentally friendly diet is … moderation.
Remembering in most diets our calorie intake is higher than what we need, we can reduce the amount of food that we eat. https://www.yogurtinnutrition.com/what-would-a-more-sustainable-diet-mean-for-you/.
Further we can be more careful about the amount of food we waste. Every year literally tons of food is wasted. This is bad news on two levels, the amount of energy and resources it took to grow and the impact it has as land fill. https://un.org.au/2013/09/12/food-waste-harms-climate-water-land-and-biodiversity/#:~:text=Among%20its%20key%20findings%3A,gases%20to%20the%20planet’s%20atmosphere.
We should look at reducing the packaging of our food and looking for more environmentally friendly packaging when it must be packaged. https://greatist.com/live/reduced-packaging-how-to-reduce-waste-in-your-daily-life#1
We need to look at how far our food is being transported and try and buy local produce. https://www.onyalife.com/why-buying-locally-is-best-for-our-environment/
Most importantly if you have the ability and opportunity we should garden and hunt as much of our food as possible. https://sites.google.com/a/owu.edu/ecohunt/home/environmental-benefits-of-hunting
Afterall hunting is a healthy diet for you and the enviroment.