One Simple Choice Can Change the Whole World, for the Better

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If there was one simple decision you could make to help reverse climate change and ecological threats on Earth, while also improving your health and well-being, and preventing the egregious suffering of billions of animals, would you consider it? We each have the opportunity to make a difference. And it’s simple; we can do it today. All it takes is making better, healthier food choices.

In the United States we grow up with habits that cause immense harm to ourselves and others without realizing it. We are unwitting accomplices in our own demise as we suffer from preventable and fatal illnesses, and undermine our future on Earth. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and we can each be part of the solution.

So many personal and planetary problems can be solved by making more mindful food choices. It has been estimated that we could save 70% on health care costs in the U.S. by shifting to eating a whole- foods, plant-based diet. Our nation’s leading killers, including heart disease, can be prevented or reversed through better food choices. Additionally, the United Nations warns that animal agriculture is among the top contributors to our planet’s most significant ecological threats. Vast swaths of rainforest and other natural ecosystems have been destroyed and used for grazing or to grow crops to feed and fatten farm animals. Billions of pigs, chickens, cattle and other sentient beings endure intolerable cruelty and violent deaths so that we can eat meat, milk and eggs.

Human beings have the capacity to behave rationally, but we are also adept at rationalizing irrational behavior, or looking the other way, which is often our inclination when we fear change. But, ask yourself: Does it make sense to eat food that makes us sick; to support a food system that is destroying the planet? Does it make sense to kill other animals when we can obtain everything we need nutritionally from the plant kingdom? If we can live well without causing unnecessary harm, why wouldn’t we?

The good news is we empower ourselves to live healthier lives by choosing to eat plants instead of animals. The number of vegans in the U.S. is increasing, but even people who aren’t vegan can make a positive difference by reducing their consumption of animal foods. Each step, no matter how small, makes a difference, and these often lead to more steps. By changing our food, we can change the world.

Gene Baur is co‑founder and president of Farm Sanctuary. He has written two national bestselling books. Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food, and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day. Gene has a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University, and is a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He’s been vegan since 1985 and recently started competing in marathons and triathlons, including an Ironman, to demonstrate the benefits of plant-based eating. Reach him on Facebook.
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