Wednesday, April 21, 2010

birkenstock time

In honor of earth week, I present to you some food for thought.
1. Eco-friendly clothes aren't ugly anymore. Case in point:

Designer and film director Max Osterweis started this brand, Suno, after violent rallies opposing the reelected President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya killed over 275 people. His goal is to facilitate economic growth that inspires hope for the future - each piece is made by Kenyan artisans in fair-trade workshops.

This shoe, by the vegan brand Olsenhaus, is made out of recycled industrial waste from television screens, composite rubber (including old tires), and sustainably-farmed cork:
2. If you're looking for more good ways to reduce your impact on the planet, try becoming vegetarian or vegan. Not only are vegetarianism and veganism beneficial in regards to their ethical implications, but practicing them also actively works to protect the environment and maintain the human body:

-A 2006 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization found that livestock production accounts for 18% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions – more than all forms of transportation combined.

-60% of the deforestation in the Amazon River basin between 2000 and 2005 can be attributed to cattle ranching; much of the remainder was cleared to raise corn and soy for feed.

-Cows burp methane. Each day, a single cow can burp as much as 130 gallons of methane, a greenhouse gas that traps more than 20 times more heat per ton that carbon dioxide.

-According to the EPA, agriculture in the US – much of which now serves the demand for meat – contributes to nearly ¾ of all water-quality problems in the nation’s rivers and streams.

-A single kilogram (2.2 lbs) of beef is responsible for the equivalent release of 80 lbs of CO2 and the use of 5,500 gallons of water.

-The average American eats 318 pounds of meat every year (beef = 97 lbs, pork = 68 lbs, poultry = 106 lbs, fish = 45 lbs., other = 2 lbs.) For every 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed about 6 kg (13.2 lbs) of plant protein.

-Americans eat about 110 grams of protein a day, which is roughly twice the federal government’s recommended allowance (56 grams). 75 of thos grams come from animal protein. Many nutritionists believe that even the recommended level itself is too steep; 30 grams/day of plant-derived proteins would suffice.

-There are approximately 800 million people in the world suffering from hunger and/or malnutrition, but 1/3 of the corn and soy grown in the world feeds cows, pigs and chickens.

-The amount of grain fed to US livestock alone is enough to feed about 840 million people who follow a plant-based diet (more than the entire starving population of the world).

Go vegetarian, if only for this week; by foregoing meat, a single person can conserve over 242,500 gallons of water and prevent more than 3,530 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere. All while wearing adorable clothes and shoes. It's a win/win, really.

(Thanks to Tessa Nesbit for the list of facts and her ongoing commitment to the vegan movement!)

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