Choosing a vegetarian lifestyle is not only for the "elite"
The concept of vegetarianism in the Philippines is usually labeled as elitist, but not for me. When I turned
vegetarian, I did not know even know the meaning of “elite.” I actually did not know who they are. All I know is when I turned vegetarian it helped reduce the number of suffering animals for food, protect the environment and improve myself.
When people find out someone is vegetarian, the number one question on most meat-eaters' minds is, "What do you eat?" My straightforward answer would always be “vegetables of course.”
Some people would wonder if I came from a family in the upper crust of society because of understanding that vegetarian food is expensive, and maintaining the lifestyle would be that, expensive. A lot of people, even friends and my own relatives do not really know the meaning of being a vegetarian. Well there is really no “elite” factor with what I am doing.
Here in the Philippines, one of the reasons why the concept of vegetarianism is not that popular compared to
other countries is because of that misconception. If you really think about it, aren’t vegetables cheaper than meat? Plant farming is actually cheaper than livestock farming, since one needs lesser energy in producing plants than raising, slaughtering, and transporting animals.
They say that it is hard to be vegetarian in the Philippines. (this was not developed). During the time of our ancestors, hunting and gathering were the main means of acquiring food. planted crops and hunted animals. This perpetuated the eating of meat. But come to think of it, there the country is rich in farmland, after all, we are an agricultural country. Geographically speaking, our soil is rich and our weather is friendly to plant farming. If we can find ways to maximize the use of this land, then there will be enough cheaper food for everyone and hunger might be eliminated finally. Unfortunately, this is not realized by most people. They still maintain what they were used to eating.
The Philippines is a poor country economically, but not in natural resources which we can tap to feed the hungry masses and provide livelihood for the many. But Filipinos suffer still from the greed of the landlords whose mindset is to supply what is being demanded – animal meat. Instead of spending the money on planting vegetable crops, hog or poultry raising is done. A UN study in a year shows that livestock production is one of the “most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems.
Livestock production occupies 70% of all land used for agriculture, or 30% of the land surface of the planet.
It is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. It is also “a key factor driving deforestation, in the Amazon basin 70% of previously forested area is now occupied by pastures and the remainder used for feedcrops.
Through deforestation and land degradation, livestock is also driving reductions in biodiversity." UN (2006)
further recommended that animal agriculture "be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land
degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.”
Choosing a vegetarian lifestyle is not only for the elite. Being vegetarian is actually not going expensive. After
all, it is more costly when a meat eater gets sick in time because of all the toxins in meat that s/he consumed.
To switch to a vegetarian lifestyle is to slowly reduce your risks of getting sick and spending more money on
medication. Being vegetarian is a wise option health-wise and environmental wise.