Greens. They’re Everywhere!
Take a look around you and you’ll see green. Certainly not all plants that are green are edible, but the variety of edible leaves may astound you. In addition to foraged variety that grow wild in cities, suburbs, and in the country, there are many plants that can be grown right in your backyard with little effort. Chard, spinach, romaine, kale, turnip, beet, endive, parsley, mustard — the list goes on.
The Sun, in Bite-sized Nuggets.
Edible plants — called ‘autotrophs’ — contain all the stuff required for cellular development of the living organisms — ‘heterotrophs’ — that consume them. All of the macro-nutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates) as well as the full spectrum of minerals and vitamins are found in plants. These organisms grow without our help, thrive in healthy soil, and they rely only on the sun for their food, with water, atmosphere, and microorganisms aiding their species’ success.
We, in turn, convert the sun’s energy into ours by the simple act of eating plants. It’s the way of the earth. It is how each species has evolved over billions of years.
Plants are fixed in place and don’t contain a central nervous system like sentient beings who feel pain or pleasure, exhibit fear, to avoid situations which may cause death. They are responsible for both filtering and providing the very air we breathe, removing and fixing into the soil carbon dioxide, a gas that would otherwise kill us. Without plants, terrestrial life on earth would simply not exist.
Eating plants is easy. Plants have the added benefit of tasting good. They can be eaten raw — no additional energy input save chewing and swallowing. Some parts even come in their own protective packaging for safe and effective transport or storage. The only tool required to harvest is a hand (or mouth). Their consumption helps build muscle and brain tissue, repairs cells, prevents disease, and assists our immune systems ward off microbial invaders — our largest predatory threat. Many plants and their parts hold full nutritional value days or even weeks after harvesting, some requiring no refrigeration for storage. The edible parts can not only be leaves, but stems, flowers, pollen, seeds, sap, nectar, roots, root nodules, or fruits. Plants grow and reproduce in a variety of soil substrates or liquids.
Best Bang for Your Buck.
Cutting out the middle man of our diet cuts costs significantly. Consuming animal flesh or their reproductive excretions require significant inputs of plants to “grow” them — including additional water and land resources. Even their wastes must be managed. Plants, however, require only the sun, healthy soil, carbon dioxide, and water for growth, their wastes are broken down in a closed loop cycle; eating them directly reduces not only costs, but environmental impacts as well.
Edible plants abound — they’re practically free for the picking! They can be grown right where you are, locally in your soil near you completely eliminating expensive transport. All animals on our planet have enjoyed this abundance for millions of years. Plants can quite literally feed the world and end hunger.
Earth’s Convenient Food Packets…Miniaturized.
Seeds grow into plants that can be 1) foraged in the wild, 2) reaped from a home garden, 3) grown in a large-scale farming operation, or 4) tended where no “soil” exists in containers in a sunny window or on an apartment balcony. There is an edible plant that be grown successfully from a seed in any growing zone of the Lower 48 at any time of the year. Seeds are easily stored and carried or transported.
Compassion and Equity…for All Earth’s Animals.
Eating a plant-based diet goes a long way toward improving the lives of animals — the human animal included. The American animals-for-food industry alone has only peaked in recent human history. It is not necessarily an acceptable arrangement for all involved. Consuming wild animals (rather than domesticated ones) comes with its own unintended environmental consequences, and sustainability of this form of “food” is an impossible solution to an ever-increasing worldwide human population. The non-vegans push the true cost of their plate on to environmental damage, disease of our own species, and the selection of trillions of beings to be bred, born, tortured, and killed to satisfy a ‘taste’ for flesh. In a market-driven economy, where there is no consumer for a product, there is no market. Only veganism can end it all.
A Green Diet Sustains.
“If we can live healthy, happy, productive lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?” ~ Jenny Brown, vegan, Farm Sanctuary
Nurture Your Planet.
Consuming greens connects us back with our soil. It’s a way of thinking that puts daily actions — like eating — in touch with all the others who share our planet, the very environment that sustains us. If you are already living as a moral person, you are obligated by that morality to extend your compassion to non-humans. Lest we forget that we aren’t the only ones who live here, our species’ very survival is linked to everything else around us. Eat like you care. Go Vegan!