Do you love trees? So do I! However, there have been countless times, you have been accused for killing trees and destroying the ecosystem right? Some people don’t understand the whole concept of being vegan, so they might really want to know if a vegan is really protecting the ecosystem. Here are a few ways to explain your non-vegan friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, relative or workmate how vegans actually protect the ecosystem.
First of all, you have to accept that it is alright if not all people understand what you are about to explain to them. Countless times I have tried to explain things to friends, relatives, or people who ask me a question and it was not so easy for them to understand things with just a few answers they got from me, since these answers gave birth to countless new questions. It is okay for people not to be able to understand everything, since that gives the opportunity for them to make their own research and look deeper into any matter. So do not get upset if you keep talking for about half an hour to your best friend about any topic and in the end they look at you in shock, making you believe that something changed into them and answer you a simple: “Hey… I don’t get it!”.
The second most important part is to give specific answers and do your own research. These answers I am going to give you are based on my own research, but you will have to search deeper for more answers.
Without any further talking, let us press the issue!
Of course most of you remember the nostalgia of your old school days, when your biology teacher would tell you about how plants reproduce, right? Smaller living beings, such as bees help flowering plants reproduce through harvesting pollen. Both the insect harvesting the flower, as well as the flower of the plant itself are benefited from this. How does this actually work?
Imagine that you have just set shop in an area where nobody knows you and you have to get customers fast. Attracting your customers is the key to your success. This is what plants do actually, only they give a small type of “payment” to their visitors. What type of payment is this? There are many types of attracting an insect. Three of these ways are the most common.
Bees are like the most common visitor. They are attracted to anything that smells sweet, such as sugar and nectar. Why? They use it to produce honey, with which they will feed their queen and themselves. They are the “working class” of the insect species, along with ants. The plant needs its nectar and pollen for itself. It also needs to reproduce. By giving a small amount of its nectar and pollen to each bee, they make sure that the bee will fly to another flower and do the same, while spreading the sperm to that flower (provided it fits the criteria of plant reproducing of course) and that the flower itself will keep the rest of the pollen and nectar for itself and for another bees that might visit.
The next most common visitor of flowers is known to you for the sound they make and for their “tastes”. The flies are attracted to anything that smells bad, such as animal corpse, animal waste etc. By simulating that smell, some flowers attract flies to fly to that certain flower and simply carry the sperm of that flower, which will stuck on them, to another flower.
Last, but not least, let us talk about seductions. Some plants not only are charming to us humans, but also use their charm to reproduce, through seducing… insects! By looking like a female insect, these flowers attract a male insect the sperm is carried onto the next flower that insect will visit.
It looks so far that insects give a great amount of help to flowers, but what about other plants and what about bigger animals? Do they help plants reproduce? And the biggest question of all is:
How do bigger living beings, such as squirrels, bunnies, cows, humans or deers help plants reproduce?
Sticking on the example of having a shop, you should know that not all customers are looking for the same thing, especially if we are talking about a market shop. Some of the customers will come looking for something to eat. This is exactly what plants “sell” to bigger living organisms in return for a fertilized sperm and in some cases a little bit of fertilizer too. Let us see how it works!.
Animals will see the crop of the plant and they will eat it. If the crop contains spores, some of them are bound to fall on the ground immediately, as long as the animal munches the crop. The saliva that will cover the spore, will make it even more fertile, than a spore that happened to get out of a falling, decaying crop. The spore is the sperm that will give out a new plant.
What about harvesting plants? I guess that most of you have shaved your hair or cut it shorter at least once recently. Cutting or shaving hair makes it stronger. It is like sharpening a pencil. Of course these plants, such as what, do not get shaved or sharpened, but instead, while cutting them off the ground, when they are close to decaying and dying, they drop part of their spores to the ground. Any animal feeding on these types of plants simply activates the procedure of giving birth to the next generation of plans, by doing this.
The third way of helping a plant reproduce is going to sound weird, but let’s get back to the example of the shop owner. What if you have enough money and need to keep them somewhere safe until withdrawal? And more important, what if you could have a moving bank, such as an A.T.M.? Part of the food an animal eats is digested. Also, the chemicals inside the stomach make sure that a big part of anything that lives or could produce life is killed. This is why eating beans will not grow any beans inside your belly. Is it all killed though? The answer is no. The animal that eats the seed, carries it to a new area, where it gets rid of it, as waste, which will work both as fertilizer and as a new seed with the potential to turn into a new plant!
Last, but not least, let us not forget about our smaller friends, such as squirrels! Do they eat all of the nuts they get? Of course not! They hide them in different locations in case they need them in the near future. Sometimes, they forget the hiding places of their “treasure”, so their food gives birth to a new plant.
“This is all cool, but since every living organism, able to feed on seeds, can eat a seed and give birth to a new plant, then it means that vegans and non-vegans do the same thing right?”
This is a question that might pop into the mind of anyone you talk to, so be ready to give a wise and sincere answer. YES, it is partly right! Everyone can give birth to a new plant! However, there are a few parameters someone should check first, before giving such answer!
Emission of CO2:
Don’t you hate it when they say that the earth’s atmosphere is becoming even more toxic every moment of the day? I have previously talked about how CO2 works and why it is important on another article, but just before we continue, CO2 is used as food by plants. However, too much food is not good for nobody! Given the circumstance, where you were given more food than you could actually eat, wouldn’t you leave the rest of it behind? What if someone else found the food you had not eaten and started eating from it? It would help him get rid of the feeling of hunger of course, but what if the portion was too big, that he would also leave leftovers behind? And what if the portion was so large that in the end, no matter how many people tried to eat from it, there would always be a large portion of food left as waste? It would eventually end up in a trashcan or even worse, it would remain on the table and within a few days, it would smell awful for anyone that would happen walking next to that table.
Should we produce CO2? As a matter of fact, we do it by breathing, or producing waste, such as every living being, so it’s not something we chose to do at some point. However, industries, cars and other human activity creates huge portions of CO2 which is dropped into the atmosphere. This is where veganism comes at!
Producing milk from crops, such as soy beans, almonds or rice, produces more than 10% less CO2, than the production of dairy milk! Why does this happen?
We already talked about animal waste, which is good for the ecosystem, since it gives birth to new plants. What about force-feeding animals though? Imagine eating large portions of food for more than two times a day, in a daily basis. It would not only be harmful for your health, but it would also mean larger CO2 emissions into the earth’s atmosphere. This is what happens with the animals that are being kept into farms. Not only they suffer a painful death, but also they are forced to eat and at the same time, they produce too much CO2 for any ecosystem to handle. If not worry about the animal’s life, then a non-vegan should worry about what harm this causes to the planet. This is exactly what a non-vegan person should understand and what type of answer he should probably be given in order for them to understand us better!
These are the two answers I usually give to people when they ask me about how veganism is protecting the ecosystem. I am not saying that these answers are the only ones that should be given to someone, but they have been the answers I found out myself after I did my own research and found out why veganism is good, how being a vegan can help not only myself and animals, but the planet as a whole and whether I should suggest someone to try this way of life.
In conclusion, vegans protect the environment and especially the plants, which were the center of this topic. There will always be people that will not quite understand the answers given to them, but luckily, we live in an era, in which information is easy to get so do not worry! Those who keep disputing this way of life, no matter what answers they get, could probably be tomorrow’s supporters with a little bit of help and with a little bit of their own effort!