This is a continuation on poverty.
In my last post I stated that to help do away with poverty we need to have access to land, water and seed we can save from one year to the next, because once food is taken care of then we can begin to move forward. As long as our bellies are not full, we are not happy people. [ I am talking about people world-wide in this case and yes there are people in the U.S. too who go hungry. This is not just a ‘third-world’ problem. It effects all of us, we are all touched by poverty and hence the use of ‘we’ above. ]
In the U.S. there’s this ignorant push to include more protein from meat (land and sea), dairy, and egg as a way to help feed people when not eating this way actually provides more nutrients, is healthier, greatly reduces dis-ease, and is able to feed more people for much less money. I’m talking about vegetables! Soup kitchens could feed three times as many people on a mainly Vegetarian meal than a meat based one, and cost less.
Growing vegetables is more productive per acre, uses over all less water, depletes the soil less and if grown organically can help rebuild soil, have more nutrients than meat-dairy-egg diet and will keep you healthier throughout your life.
Vegetables are more productive: growing a wide variety of vegetables will yield around 17 – 20 tons per hectare (1 hectare = about 2.5 acres), while meat yields less than 1/2 ton per hectare and takes longer to mature.
Vegetables provide protein (yes they do), macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. Meat-dairy-eggs provide mainly protein and few other nutrients. I’m not sure how many may have heard or read this story: Stacy Irvine, 17, collapses from eating nothing but chicken McNuggest her whole life. This is not an isolated incidence, they all just don’t make the news or the cause of illness is given another label all together.
After vegetables we have fruits which provide mainly vitamins, most importantly the water soluble ones, like Vitamin C. Legumes and pulses are the next choice with some grains able to bring in a little more density to a diet. But these again take up much more land, resources and provide much less, about one ton per hectare, than vegetables.
Next, vegetables can be better for the environment. Since you can get so much more per hectare of land much less land is needed to feed yourself, and everyone else. If the vegetables are grown completely organically then you are returning nutrients to the land, the soil, dirt, in which they are grown is not depleted. The land will remain productive forever. Modern farming practices do little to return nutrients to the soil and only add more chemicals which destroys all the various life forms, and communities that keep the soil healthy and productive. These include: bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, flies, beetles, worms and more. They all work together to create healthy soil out of anything that has died.
Meat, Dairy and egg production could be done organically which would not deplete the soil but that is not the case currently in the U.S. for the most part (there are few exceptions). If these three were produced in a traditionally, healthy, organic way there would be much less of it for sale and the price would reflect their true cost. In India people use milk quite a lot in their various meals because the cow is allowed to roam freely, not killed or eaten, and given that which people can not eat and are milked daily to add protein to their mainly vegetarian diet.
I’m not saying everyone needs to be a Vegetarian, or Vegan, but if the western world – U.S. and Europe, were to cut their meat (land and sea), dairy, and egg consumption by half it would allow hundreds of millions more people to eat affordably, more nutritiously. To feed everyone in the world the western world would have to consume slightly less than a quarter of what they currently do. This still wouldn’t require everyone being a Vegetarian / Vegan. It would also greatly reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and not kil half of consumers of meat-dairy-egg diet or western diet.
Research has shown time and again, a mostly vegetarian diet is better for the body, better for the environment and better for all life. It takes less land, smaller “footprint”, to grow vegetables and in a world that is running out of fossil fuels, out of water, usable land that has not been turned to desert or degraded, and doesn’t demand heavy inputs, we need to change our ways.
To help remove poverty, wherever it is, not only is land, water, seed needed, but education as to what is easiest and best to grow – vegetables! We could eliminate poverty, it’s just too profitable not to. Let’s change that and eliminate needless suffering.