In 2015 I started the Healthy Freedom campaign as an 8th grader. I saw kids in school inundated with lobbyist marketing to consume as much dairy as possible at every meal. I saw the lunches coming out of the school cafeteria that looked inedible, and they were to me because I'm vegan, but even for mainstream eating kids it looked very unhealthy. Hot dogs, hamburgers, burrito filled with more hamburger, cheese pizza on "meatless Monday". In 2015 the World Health Organization, beholden to no special interests, published a peer reviewed study that shows meat causes cancer. In fact, they found, meat should be classified as a class one carcinogen, as dangerous to human health as cigarettes. Harvard Medical and other respected independent science revealed similar results or results that indicated obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are also caused by meat consumption.
A child who gets type 2 diabetes can expect to live 19 years less than his peer who doesn't get it.
As I did more research I found out milk comes with a host of very serious health ramifications. Milk causes bone porosity and more seriously, heart disease and cancer. Harvard and Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine conducted studies which confirmed this.
Our animal use and consumption is heating and massively polluting our planet. Every day hundreds of thousands of acres of Amazon rain forest are clearcut, never to return, to make room for grazing cattle for slaughter. Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of the toxic load on our atmosphere, a greater share than all forms of transportation combined. It has created acidified ocean dead zones that grow in size every year.
40,000 children die of starvation in third world countries every day because the grain grown in those countries is used to feed livestock for meat in developed countries.
These are reasons why our campaign is appropriate for all students, not just vegans. And I feel it is time for children to not only be given a human right to determine their own health story, but to make the choice to be responsible world citizens. We can't selfishly continue to consume animals and destroy our planet and expect any escape from the environmental ramifications of our disregard for science.
You cannot call yourself an environmentalist and eat meat, period.- Howard Lyman, former cattle rancher
And, on the main point why I am vegan, the animals. I am fortunate that I was able to experience the love, unique personalities, and humor of animals as a very young child in a home where animals have always been respected. I was treated to many experiences with horses, cows, chickens and pigs, aside from the animals in our home. Every species has inside them the same love, fear, desire, jealousy and anger we have in us. They adore their children as much if not more than we do. Because we are the same in every aspect emotionally, I believe animals have the same right to their lives as humans do. That's why I love and don't eat them. I've spent time outside slaughterhouses watching the faces of terrified bewildered non-human friends facing an unimaginable death, and I know it's not ok that we enslave and brutally kill them by the billions every year. We don't even need their flesh or secretions to thrive.
It's time to seek a new paradigm in health, for the planet we call home and for our animal friends. We cultivate today, we have abundant and sustainable ways to create plenty of healthy protein packed plants to thrive from. That's why I'm pursuing a course of change here in our city at LAUSD and soon in our state. It's our duty to change now with the information we have about the pain, destruction, and disease our old behavior is causing.
So here's to LAUSD leading the charge and to California showing the world this can be done.
Let's put a full, delicious vegan entree choice on every school menu every school day of the year and free access to a plant derived milk at the fingertips of every school kid. This should not scare us. We should be excited that such a simple change can create such massive change, eventually, for our whole world.
We seek student partners in LAUSD and Calfiornia! Please email me, Lila Copeland, at firstname.lastname@example.org to work with us!
My whole brand new site will be finished in a couple of weeks and there will be oodles of stuff here: food, resources, videos, animals, science, and how to go vegan and help your parents chill.
Thank you for visiting Earth Peace. Here's to a peaceful, clean, and cruelty free future for all.