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June/July '03 Articles:
Mean Greenies
Editorial: Are You An Environmentalist?
Petty Acts of 'Treason'
Over-Priced Musings
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
(music reviews)

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Are You An Environmentalist?

Are you an environmentalist? Think about it. Do you consider yourself one? Lots of people claim they are, but what really allows someone to go by that distinction?

According to Merriam-Webster, it's "one concerned about environmental quality especially of the human environment with respect to the control of pollution." I'd probably go further to include the general destruction of our Earth, not just regarding pollution.

Regardless, being an environmentalist is doing more than just having a "Save the Whales" bumper sticker or a specialty license plate that goes towards protecting Florida's manatees. It involves action, not just financial support and catchy slogans.

I'm not suggesting that to be an environmentalist you need to mobilize each weekend for massive demonstrations or that you need to smash the office windows of every financial backer of GMO-giant Monsanto.

But if you're going to say that you want to protect our Earth from harm, you can't simply recycle and think that you've done Mother Nature a favor.

Now, I apologize if this comes off as "holier than thou," but I feel strongly about this subject and hope it is given serious consideration–not just by "run-of-the-mill environmentalists," but also those running Sierra Club and other large so-called "environmental" organizations.

If you want to help save the Earth, go vegan. It's not hard, it's not that expensive and I'd be glad to help you with any information, direction or questions you may have.

But first, let me explain to you why going vegan is so important.

One-third of the world's cereal harvest is used to feed livestock. With an ever-growing hunger epidemic around the globe, this is a sickening figure. Two-thirds of the world's agricultural land is used for maintaining livestock. It would be vastly more productive to grow crops.

Meanwhile, 87% of fresh water consumed worldwide is used for agriculture, mostly for livestock. As we are constantly reminded of the need to clean water and a future faced with shortages–including in the United States–this is disturbing.

Farm animals are major sources of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide and 1.4 billion metric tons of solid manure is produced by U.S. farm animals per year–130 times the amount produced by the human population. While recycling helps, it's clear how big of a problem raising farm animals is for the health of our world.

According to animal rights activist and author John Robbins, the average vegan uses about 1/6 of an acre of land to satisfy his or her food requirements for a year; the average vegetarian who consumes dairy products and eggs requires about three times that; and the average meat-eater requires about 20 times that much land.

Of course, driving a hybrid vehicle (or biking), donating money to respectable environmental organizations (be sure to read this issue's cover story) and voting for pro-environment candidates are important actions, but going vegan will accomplish more than any of the above. You will have a direct affect on helping your environment, far greater than any other action you could take.

Now let me add one point. It is equally important that vegans recognize that they, too, must do more to help our environment. We are all sharing one Earth and we must embrace each otheršs proactive movements. That means, anti-globalization supporters, animal rights activists, environmentalists and human rights campaigners must all work to bridge the gaps between their movements, creating a more powerful and enlightened movement overall.

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