Practical Issues > Health - Index > Planet - Index
Veganism and Capitalism

[Student Life - opinion]

I consider myself an environmentalist. Being one, however, means to me that I have changed my lifestyle more than just by using compact fluorescent bulbs. For me, the title "environmentalist" is something that requires daily work and sacrifice, somewhat different, unfortunately, than what it seems to have come to mean at the Claremont Colleges.

One of the sacrifices that I have made has actually turned into a benefit: deciding to become vegan. Veganism, the more effective cousin of vegetarianism, means abstaining from all animal products and by-products - meat, cheese, eggs, and milk. While it may seem difficult to give up animal products, if you truly consider yourself an environmentalist it is evident that there isn't a clear alternative.

As part of the Campus Climate Challenge, students were asked to look at their energy use and try and curb individual pollution. One of my favorite ways to save energy was to take shorter showers or to turn off the water when you're engaged in "other activities." Yet by not eating a pound of beef, you could save more water than you would by not showering for a year. If that isn't clear enough, here it is in different terms:

1 pound of meat = 5,000 gallons of water

1 pound of wheat = 25 gallons of water
The efforts to combat global warming on Pomona's campus are laudable, yet fall short since they don't target one of the biggest causes of global warming in the US: Americans insatiable hunger for animal flesh. I know that I could still do more to help end global warming other than what I already do, but I urge every one reading this to be more introspective and decide whether eating meat is worth the costs, both to yourself and to your surroundings. And don't call yourself an environmentalist unless you're willing to commit with an open mind and a whole heart.

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