Can vegetarians save us?

Mohamad Suhaimi writes

If people were asked on how they can save the environment, the most common answers would be recycling the rubbish and reducing the water usage. Both ways are undeniably important for the sake of environment but there are people who preferred to be a vegetarian as a sign of their concern for the environment. Vegetarians are group of people who exclude meat, poultry products, and also fish in their diet except for vegetables and fruits. However, can vegetarians save us to solve the current environmental issues such as the climate change? In my personal opinion, vegetarians cannot solve the environmental problems but they can be part of the solutions.

It is an inevitable fact that animals need much more water supply rather than vegetable to grow. According to a study done by John Robbins who is a vegetarian author, 60 pounds of water are needed for one pound of potatoes production meanwhile for a pound of beef to produce; it requires around 9000 liters of water. It showed that more water could be saved if hectares of land were used to grow vegetables rather than to graze the livestock. However, do people willing to sacrifice meat in their meal? I do not think so. In fact, meat is the main source of protein and the protein itself is really essential by our body to replace any dead or damaged cells and also to recover any tissues injury.

On the other hand, the high demand for vegetables production in the market also required more lands to be cleared and more landscape to be deforested to fulfill the people. These two activities indirectly contributed towards many environmental issues such as landslide and flood event. For instance, in Cameron Highlands, the improper land used had contributed to the landslide and muddy flood to happen which caused casualty in the settlement area. This incident indicated that the land used for agricultural activities also affected the environment and denied the claim by many vegetarians that livestock is the main cause for the environmental problem we face nowadays.

If vegetarians really concern on the environmental issues, it would be better if they put their focus more on how to green the environment today rather than finding others fault. More awareness campaign should be done to enhance people understanding regarding their responsibility in taking care of the environment. In order to promote a better environment, vegetarians should encourage more people to replant the trees, reuse and recycle the wastes to reduce pollution. People must know that being a vegetarian is an option and not a compulsory action to save this world.

As a conclusion, we have to work together in order to save the environment. We cannot just rely on certain group to preserve the nature. We ourselves should be more proactive and educate more people to increase their awareness towards environment. We hope that our future generation could experience the beauty of environment and enjoy the nature we have today. From now on, stop asking the question ‘Can vegetarians save us?’

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