Letter: Go local and organic to help environment

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[In response to “Help Protect the Planet with a Vegan Diet,” Oct. 3, Xpress], I believe looking at the bigger picture helps to clear misinformation. Only being a vegan does not help the environment; to do that, the food you eat has to be organic.

The pervasive use of chemical pesticides in industrial farming is poisoning our planet. Industrial agriculture involves huge monocultures; also, their systems depend on crude oil, including planting, harvesting, processing, packaging and transportation. Modern industrial agriculture destroys delicate ecosystems surrounding it, including topsoil, rivers and streams.

All people need to think about where their food comes from and what it does to the countries it originated in and is a staple in the diet of the people who live there and depend on it. A good example is quinoa in Peru; the seed is now more expensive than chicken or is plain not available to the locals who are used to it as a staple in their diet, thanks to the vegan boom. Mexico makes more money exporting avocadoes than petroleum; this is a huge factor in illegal deforestation.

These and many other reasons speak against plain going vegan and feeling great about it; it speaks for education, and mostly it speaks for going local.

Small meat and dairy farmers are not bad for the environment, at least not worse than the vegan who buys cashew–cheese from cashews that are harvested in Vietnam; there they are often the product of forced labor camps by people addicted to drugs and thus are called “blood cashews.”

Asheville does not need pro-vegan signs.

Asheville, and everybody else, needs to make people aware that consuming local and seasonal food is important for environment and health.

In my opinion, Asheville already tries hard to promote local farms, meats and vegetables in its restaurants and also with the Go Local card or the Dig Local campaign.

Thank you, Asheville, for already thinking outside the box.

— Susanne Aurich


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4 thoughts on “Letter: Go local and organic to help environment

  1. jason

    So we are only a world economy when it suits you huh? I’ll never understand liberals. Again, this is why Trump keeps winning.

  2. Sam

    What this letter writer does not know is that many vegans (at least the ones I know) are not just “plain vegan” as the writer states. Many vegans are aware of the impacts of food choices (hence their choice to be vegan in the first place) and are aware of the issues around foods such as almond milk and palm oil, just to name a couple. Many vegans are active in bringing these issues to light, actually, in order to help ensure vegan foods are indeed ethical from source to mouth. As with any cultural change, societal logistics and operations have to catch up.

    There are different kinds of vegans, too. Some are eithical, but some are doing it for their health alone and don’t care about animal welfare or the environment at all. So you can’t assume one is a vegan because they want to save the planet. Maybe their doctor advised it to avoid another heart attack.

    Also- one can be vegan AND eat local AND eat organic. Holy wow it’s like one does not does exclude the other!

    And one more thing. Why criticize someone for being vegan as their method of helping the planet? If that is the contribution one is able to make, then I say thank you! Thank you for doing SOMETHING when so many people do NOTHING!

    So before telling vegans that they don’t see the big picture, maybe do more research first. Many don’t stop at “plain vegan.”

  3. Sam

    I’m also curious where the letter writer buys her clothes and if she has considered the impacts of fast fashion. Does she drive a car that runs on fossil fuels? Have a smart phone or electric car with a cobalt-filled blood battery? Walk on grass? (Probably, but it’s easier to attack the vegans.) My point is, one cannot go through life without EVER causing harm to another. It’s very sad, but it’s the way or world is. I simply try to do my best to cause the least amount of harm as possible while also working to make positive changes. My hope is that’s what we are all striving for.

  4. think critically

    The study “Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States” (Carnegie Mellon university) found that “Final delivery from producer to retailer contributes only 4 percent” of the life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions. In other words, while there are multiple good reasons to buy local food , the environmental benefits of saving the pollution from transportation is minimal.

    Accordingly, they suggest that consumers modify their diets by eating foods that require less energy to produce in the first place. Eating an all-local diet, they found, saves the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 1,000 fewer miles each year, while eating a vegetarian diet one day per week is equivalent to driving 1,160 fewer miles per year. Quite simply, this is because feeding food to animals and then eating the animals is an extremely inefficient use of resources. More than half the grain grown in America is fed to animals who, like humans, expend most of the calories consumed living their lives.

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