following in the steps of Aldo leopold...
...a man who championed the movement based on the ethics of "dealing with man's relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it."
To live in a manner which promotes harmony
Man and beast, flora and fauna, I believe we were all meant to co-exit. It is my belief that it is man's purpose is to tend to what life exists around us. Some argue that human's are parasitic to the Earth--a cancer. I'd like to think otherwise. We all have a choice, we all can choose compassion. While it may not be what is most convenient, it is worth it in the effort to push for a better tomorrow.
"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." -Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
THE "V" WORD
VEGANISM IN A NUTSHELL
Veganism is simple. It's living life without consuming animals or animal-products.
The motivation for someone choosing veganism is going to be as different as the types of vegans you'll meet, but the results of properly executed vegan and/or plant-based lifestyles is the same. An exercise in compassion, a stance on environmental abuse and the negative impacts of mass industrial animal farming, and a window to a healthier life.
Since going vegan, I personally have felt better, looked better, felt more awakened, and have noticed my levels of empathy and compassion develop greater depth. Now, it's possible to be a horribly unhealthy vegan. If the proper macros aren't met, or if you're eating Beyond Burgers and Daiya Mac and Cheese followed by Ben and Jerry's non-dairy icecreams on the daily, sure, you're eating vegan, but I can guarantee you'll feel terrible just as quickly as if you ate the animal versions in excess (but really, Oreos and Sour Patch Kids are 100% vegan...my personal binge pleasures). It is possible to eat poorly and be malnourished on a diet based on abundance, the same as one can in an omnivore-diet. Without the same high-fat choices or knowledge of dense plant-foods, it's just easier to constantly feel hungry.
I'm not going to try to convince you to go vegan. I will, however, share with you the general statement that vegans, even when they aren't trying, are living more sustainably than the majority of those who eat meat or animal products on a regular basis.
I've thrown some blanket environmental impact points together, just to paint a general picture. If you're curious about more, check out the fact sheet here with linked citations, and learn more about the humane side of veganism here.
Nothing here is sponsored; it's just a matter of spreading the power of knowledge.
Going plant-based is, aside from cutting your family lineage, the greatest thing you can do in terms of environmental health and setting the world up for future sustainability. Everyone knows, even arguments made against veganism, that mass agricultural farming for animals AND plants is tough on the Earth. The amount of energy consumed to operate farms is staggering, not to mention the leveled lands and removal of natural resources in the area.
The reason Vegans have the upper hand is because it eliminates the middle man. In one scenario, a farmer has to grow crops to feed their livestock. Their livestock produces elevated levels of greenhouse gases naturally by simply existing. Once they've been fed hundreds of thousands of pounds of crops, they're at a suitable size to butcher, producing only a hundred or two pounds of meat. In scenario two, the human is consuming the crops as they grow from the ground, eliminating the costs of the middle-man farmer. It eliminates the necessity for hundreds of thousands of heads in animal livestock, increases the ratio between consumable foods and what actually hits our tables, and reduces the land and resources required to produce it.
Straight from a 2016 study completed by the US Department of Agriculture, Animal Agriculture accounts for anywhere between 80-90% of the water consumption here in the States. 56% of the water consumption goes directly to growing feed-crops. Yes, food going straight to the animal we're raising to eat. It's no surprise, then, when according to Dr. George Borgstrom, Chairman of Food and Science and Human Nutrition Department of College and Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University, it takes a conservative estimate of 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of US beef.
If you want to talk about industries that have a net negative impact on the world we live in, talk about mass industrial animal farming.
YOGA & SUSTAINABILITY
I could go on for days... Yoga helps me feel balanced, again. Balanced in mind, spirit, and body. When these things are aligned, I feel better, eat better, act better, and am more conscious of the world around me. I touched briefly on why I chose Manduka to practice on in my blog post Yoga & Me, and I encourage you to do the same. A bit of brain knowledge on their items, and why I stand with them:
Their Pro mats (which I own), are made from PVC that won't pilfer or shred. This means you've made a one-and-done purchase. One mat, one person, no excess trash to a landfill as you replace lower quality mats that can't keep up. Manduka guarantees their Pro Line for life, and the entire production process is 100% emissions-free.
Their eKO line is even better in terms of sustainability. Made from biodegradable natural tree rubber, they're manufactured with zero-waste and zero harmful plasticizers.
Every mat in the Manduka line is free of toxic chemicals, dyes, and phthalates, which disrupt your natural hormone balance.
From an apparel standpoint, Manduka utilizes recycled polyester (think plastic water bottles) to fabricate items in their line.
There are many yoga brand labels out there, many of them considerably under the price-point of Manduka, so what's another company? It's important to remember the mission, and this translate to purchases outside of the world of yoga, too. In keeping with the three R's, first ask yourself if a new purchase is something you actually need. If it isn't, enjoy the feeling of the grass under your toes, and keep on keeping on. If it is, then I encourage you to move on to reuse. I personally have enough event t-shirts to fill my closet and drawers, so owning a needle and thread, apparel is something I do not shop for. But if you are, lastly, recycle. Find something made of as much recycled material as possible, and if you're shopping Manduka, look for the items that are upwards of 65% recycled polyester (we're talking 8 water bottles or more, here, in a garment or bag).
The sentiment goes to all things, all products, and all purchases. This isn't some plug by a major company--this is knowledge and research that I've done personally before buying a new item for myself and others. As a result, I have found something I believe in, and I want to share it with you. The important part echos across any purchase or investment. Do your due diligence, and if you're in the market for new gear, please, just remember to shop responsibly.