Why I became a vegetarian
by Sophia Errington (10 yrs old)
Forward by Dr Tim
“I was so happy to hear that my daughter Sophia was to do a project on this subject as it is very dear to my heart. Having embraced the lifestyle she talks about for the last 7 years, and seeing the amazing changes it brings about, I decided to publish her essay and see how many people I can encourage to read it. Make no mistake, and when you see the statistics you will know I am right – a vegetarian lifestyle could quite simply save your life.”
The Hungry World
Did you know that out of the 7 billion people in the world, there are at least 870 million people starving and this number is growing? Almost a billion people in the world will go to bed starving tonight and 200 million of these are children. 239 million of these poor starving people live in Africa, and even in today’s modern world, these numbers are growing. In Africa when the rice truck goes by, they are so hungry, you can sometimes see a family trying to find a single dropped piece of rice by sifting through the sand.
Every 3.6 seconds a person dies of starvation
Yes, every 3.6 seconds a person dies of starvation and this is more than Malaria, Tuberculosis and Aids all added together. One in four children throughout the world will not develop properly because of hunger. In some countries this can be as big as one in three. Here in Asia, some of the other counties with many starving people, are India, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Not everyone is starving!
Today, whilst there are more people starving in the world than ever before, there are more people overweight than ever. The world produces 17% more food than 30 years ago per person, but it is not going to everyone fairly and almost a billion people will go to bed starving tonight.
Many people die in both Africa and America because of nutrition, even when they have completely different diets. Africa dies of starvation while America dies of diabetes. If you eat a lot of meat, when you grow up there is a big chance you will get cancer or heart disease.
The Stop Hunger Now Campaign
Since 1998 this organization has been organising and giving food to starving people all across the world to show them how much we care and to tell them that they are not forgotten.
This is how much good work they do.
This week in January 2014 they packaged 498,078 meals. This brings the total meals they have packaged to over 130 million whilst delivering to 65 countries.
Did you know that all they need is just $13 billion to stop world hunger, and that is what America and Europe spend on perfume alone. It only costs just 25c to feed a starving child and change their life forever.
Save the Planet
Vegetarians help save the planet and not only animals, but they help nature such as the land, the lakes and rivers, and the rainforests. They also help to stop pollution and help stop Global Warming. As the people create more and more land for the animals, they cut down enormous areas of the rainforests, changing them into deserts with their cranes and diggers. To feed all these animals we eat we either keep them in cages and inject them with hormones so they grow faster or we give them lots and lots of land to feed on. This is so the cows and other farm animals will become super-sized, for us to eat. But when they eat so much they must produce waste and today they pollute as much as all forms of transport put together.
The statistics show us the truth
All cars, trains, planes, and boats put together produce 12% of the world’s greenhouse gasses. However, livestock produces a huge 51%. America’s government however, doesn’t want people to know this, as it might stop them eating meat which would mean less money for the government. So, they said it was 18% and that 51% wasn’t true. This is very dishonest.
A family in Africa can live off 1 acre of land eating rice, beans, vegetables and fruit but a normal meat eating American needs 20x that amount of land, and they eat stuff that makes them ill. So then, it is possible for us, if we are vegetarians, to live one off a single acre of land.
Surprisingly, 30% of the worlds available land is used by livestock or for growing food for livestock. In the Amazon rainforest, 70% of the nature has been cleared for new fields for livestock. More than 260 million acres of America’s rainforest has been cleared.
Having animals for food, takes up lots of land, food, water and energy. Around 10kg of grain is eaten by one animal to produce just one kilogram of meat.
In the USA one person eats 124kg of meat per year. In Europe one person eats 89kg of meat per year, China eats 54kg and Japan 42kg. Comparing an African to an American we see that they are very different. A normal American family spends around $342 every week on food, which includes beef, pork, chicken, meatballs, bacon, turkey and ham. But an African family spends only $1.25 a week on food (if they have enough money).
Become a vegetarian like me
Basically most of the world’s food that is being grown is actually being given to the animals. However, this could be given to the starving people in the world and they would all be healthy again. If you do become a vegetarian and stop eating animals, the whole world could be fed on just 30% of farmland now being used. A farmer can feed up to 30 people each year growing vegetables, fruits and cereals on 2.5 acres of land.
Do you need meat for protein? No. Animals get their protein from crops and so can we. Vegetarians can get their protein from vegetables, nuts and greens.
Being a vegetarian also helps with reducing greenhouse gasses, saving huge amounts of water and billions of dollars would be saved in health. It takes 100,000 litres of water to produce just one kilogram of meat. It takes 2,000 litres of water to grow a kilogram of soybeans. Meat takes 50x the amount of water.
There are many good health reasons to be a vegetarian.
- You won’t be eating the hormones that have been injected into the animals to make them grow faster
- Lower risk of cancer and heart disease
- Less risk of diabetes
- Healthy skin
- You won’t get chemicals in your blood
- More energy
- You will have lower blood pressure
- Your digestion will be improved
- Cheaper food bills as meat is expensive
- You will live longer. Vegetarians can live up to 3 to 6 years longer than meat eaters.
We can make a difference with one meatless day but we can make real changes with three or more meatless days a week.
“Why don’t you try it. You will find it easy and probably enjoyable. You can start right now by visiting the website for the Vegetarian Society for Singapore.”