Image attribution made to Akil Mazumder from Pixel.
Now, I know what you're thinking: What does 'going green' have to do with checking out a simple vegan eggplant recipe?
Well, actually a lot.
Although this title pairing may seem trivial and bizarre, there's more to this than meets the eye. Read on to learn more!
With millions of climate activists and supporters gathering together each year to celebrate Earth Day, it's easy for most of us to be reminded why going green is so essential. This annual event spurs action in each of us, prompting us to take time to reflect upon the results of our lifestyle choices. Some have adopted behaviors that are in line with sustainable thinking, while others haven't. If you're included in one of the latter, don't be dismayed.
Dust yourself off, pick yourself up, and put one foot forward!
It's not too late to adopt green living practices. Although it may take some time to alter and adapt your behaviors to create a sustainable lifestyle, you can begin your journey by being mindful of what you eat. For instance, a small step towards sustainability could even be as simple as cooking a vegan dish for you and your loved ones each night - a recipe possibly similar to the vegan eggplant recipe shared later below. This small recurring action could be the much-needed impetus to do more for the environment.
But before we dive into that, it's essential to recognize the history and significance behind the modern-day environmental movement. It's also imperative to address the well-known and even unsung heroines and heroes who mapped the path towards sustainable living before us.
Why and How Did Earth Day Come About?
The notion of Earth Day all started when former Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) saw something peculiar outside of his airplane window when flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco, California. Directly over Santa Barabara channel, thousands of feet up in the air, the former Senator spotted a long and wide black trail of what appeared to be oil floating on parts of the water below. What he saw was the results of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill - one of the largest oil spills in the waters of the United States at that moment in time.
Although he was greatly troubled by this incident, he wasn't the only one.
When the infamous oil spill of 1969 happened, Santa Barbara locals were deeply enraged and devastated, as well. To much dismay, newscasters of Santa Barbara, California, were the first to report about the marred shorelines of the once-beautiful Santa Barbara beaches. Beaches covered with thousands of oiled carcasses of birds, land, and marine animals. Understandably, Santa Barbara's locals demanded atonement for the countless number of deaths that had occurred. As a result, prominent local activists like Selma Rubin and Bud Bottoms were some of the few who demanded that the Federal Government make amendments to its environmental policies.
Some, at the nation's capital, demanded immediate action, too. As former Democratic Senator Nelson put it, both he and the former Republican Senator of California, Paul McCloskey, both worked diligently together "to shake the political establishment out of its lethargy and, finally, force [the issue of environmental protection] permanently onto the national political agenda." They did so by emphasizing state-wide "teach-ins" across the country. By the time April 22, 1970, rolled out, community-based and school-based teach-ins, either taught by teachers or guided by independent activists, popped up almost organically across the nation, with minimal direction from members of congress.
What Was The First Earth Day Like?
The first Earth Day was of fabulous success. A staggering number of about "20 million people," or "one in 10 Americans, participated in the 1970 Earth Day," according to Penobscot Bay Pilot, a newspaper based out of Maine. Millions of Americans, from school-aged children to older adults, marked the occasion by partaking in community-wide clean-ups, cleaning up debris in waterways and on land. Others expressed their grievances and concerns by attending peaceful protests set up in their communities. All in all, one thing was clear: Americans, now educated, were fed up with how things were being run in Washington, D.C..
How Is Earth Day Celebrated Today?
Earth Day is celebrated in many ways today. You may choose to take the traditional approach by planting trees or creating a garden. Or you may even find yourself participating in tough conversations with other like-minded climate activists and supporters.You may take this discussion further, by using social media and live streaming services to organize or participate in live Earth 2020 virtual teach-in.
You might even find yourself taking a more intense approach. You may choose to become a vegan or vegetarian.
How Are Vegan or Vegetarian-based Diets Good for the Environment?
Being vegan or vegetarian has numerous positive benefits for the environment. Read some of the benefits gathered from the Global Citizen and The Guardian, below.
1. Being vegan and vegetarian cuts down on water consumption.
As Joe McCarthy and Erica Sanchez, both writers from the Global Citizen point out, "It takes 100 to 200 more times more water to raise a pound of beef than it does to raise a pound of plant foods." As you can see, consuming an all plant-based diet can save a lot of potable water.
2. Being vegan and vegetarian is good for the soil.
Livestock farming can impact the earth negatively. For obvious reasons, soil can be eroded as livestock overgraze. With plant-based agriculture, this clearly doesn't happen.
3. Being vegan and vegetarian is good for the ocean.
Urine and manure from livestock are primarily responsible for creating "dead zones" in the sea. Once algae blooms accumulate in the water, marine animals are left without oxygen, eventually dying. By being a vegan or vegetarian, you’re hardly liable for any of those dead zones.
How Can I Start to Create a Sustainable Lifestyle?
You can start to create a sustainable lifestyle by changing your diet. Even if it means not being a vegan or vegetarian, you can still curve your consumption of meat by switching out meals that typically require meat for veggies. Added, you can even cook up flavorful and comforting vegan or vegetarian-based dishes.
Option #1: Switch out Meat for Veggies
For this option, if you're just starting to make vegan and or vegetarian meals, I would suggest starting with Mama's Masalas Pakistani Butter Chicken. Although the name doesn't suggest it, Mama's Masalas Pakistani Butter Chicken spice mix is 100% vegan-based. There are many ways to make this dish a vegan and vegetarian-friendly meal. It’s as easy as switching out the chicken for veggies. Read about it here.
Option #2: Say Hello to This Simple Vegan Eggplant Recipe
Another option you have is making a vegan eggplant dish called Baigan Bhurta. Mama's Masalas Baigan Bhurta is a straightforward recipe that only requires 30 minutes of your undivided attention. Everything about this dish is 100% vegan and vegetarian. Check out the recipe below.
Here's a bonus tip: If you have extra portions of the seasoning from the day before, you can even repurpose it by making Baigan Bhurta-flavored breakfast potatoes, as mentioned in "The Nutritional and Organic Spice Benefits of Cooking a Healthy American Breakfast."
Although the title pairing seemed trivial in the beginning, you can now see why "going green" or adopting a sustainable mindset can first be done by changing your food choices. It’s selfless and practical for sustainability. Whether you're creating a vegan and vegetarian-inspired butter chicken or a simple vegan eggplant recipe, keep it up! You’re on the right track!
If you're interested in reading more about health and lifestyle, then check out "What Do Organic Spices and Social Media Have in Common with World Health Day?"
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janelle Adams is the Digital Content Producer at Mama's Masalas. Having a cross-functional position, she is responsible for editing blogs and product descriptions, identifying and creating needed graphics and videos, managing all social media channels, and assisting in product line development.
Being a native of Georgia and a lover of the metro-Atlanta area, she naturally chose to study in-state. While at Kennesaw State University, Janelle joined the Kennesaw Marketing Association (KMA), which allowed her to form marketing-focused connections, and attend networking events in the region. In May 2020, she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management.
Having an acute eye for design and a need to build, Janelle often creates digital art on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and practices constructing computer-based models on Rhinoceros 3D.