To honor these animals and the natural world around us, Phase 1 of Wizards For Environmental Protection was The Forbidden Forest Challenge.
On our Instagram and Facebook accounts, we shared a Hogwarts Library-worth of information about issues like deforestation, animal materials in clothing, and the problems with the fishing industry.
Here’s a quick recap of what we covered during this exciting two-week period and some bonus content we didn’t include in our social posts!
Putting an end to animal agriculture in these forested areas will allow the land to recover. Dangerously high CO2 levels will go down, and valuable food crops, like soy, can be grown for and given to humans and non-human animals in need.
Yes, deforestation also contributes to human hunger!
According to the United Nations, 690 million people worldwide go hungry every day. That’s almost 9% of the world’s population! By 2030, an estimated 840 million will suffer from a lack of food.
Curious to know how you can make a difference in stopping deforestation?
Here are three tips:
Slaughterhouses and factory farms create a massive amount of waste.
In 2018, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) found that US slaughterhouses pour 250,000 gallons of toxic wastewater a day directly into our water sources.
These cesspools of fecal bacteria-infested water and toxic waste are also often dumped into local water supplies, where they taint groundwater and the drinking water that people who live near slaughterhouses use.
Did you know that over 40 diseases and illnesses are linked to drinking manure-tainted water? And that this waste can also cause toxic red algae blooms that release poisons powerful enough to destroy entire ecosystems and habitats?
Ready to help keep our oceans, rivers, lakes, and all of their magical and non-magical inhabitants safe from this deadly pollution?
Here are four tips:
That’s not all. According to the United Nations, the fishing industry is also responsible for 95% of ocean damage worldwide!
Aquafarming, or factory farmed fish, is also problematic.
The water used to contain factory farmed fish is polluted with antibiotics, parasites, feces, and pesticides. This contaminated water is often dumped directly into our oceans, where it poisons aquatic creatures and harms their ecosystems. A single 2 acre fish farm can generate as much waste as 10,000 people!
Here are four ways we can protect magical and non-magical aquatic creatures:
The problems with reptile skins:
Crocodile, snake, and reptile skins used for wallets, boots, and purses (Rita Skeeter's horrific crocodile clutch, anyone?) are also dangerous for people and the environment.
A large population of reptiles used for their skins are factory farmed. Like cattle in the leather industry, this takes a toll on the environment. Toxic chemicals that are used to treat reptile skins release hazardous waste into local water supplies, wreck ecosystems, and harm workers and nearby residents.
Wild-caught reptiles aren’t any better. Aside from facing violence and abuse (sometimes even being skinned alive) animals like alligators are apex predators. The loss of these top predators in their natural habitats disrupts the food chain and causes an imbalance in entire ecosystems.
The problems with fur and wool:
Wool from sheep and alpacas and hair from rabbits, foxes, and minks are often used in the production of clothing, cosmetics, and personal care products.
Fur farms and the wool industry contribute to deforestation when they create facilities to hold their animals and pasturelands. This causes erosion and a mass loss of biodiversity. The methane gas from manure and waste goes directly into the atmosphere, adding to global warming.
The animals in fur farms and the wool industry often live short lives full of pain and stress. They endure agonizing treatment and often are brutally killed when they’re considered “spent”.
The problems with feathers:
When humans take feathers from birds for coats, pillows, quills, or wands, they’re directly contributing to global warming and large and small-scale pollution.
Waste from factory farmed birds contaminates the air and water. Heavy land use for the farms and to grow food to feed the factory farmed birds leads to deforestation.
On top of that, “harvesting” the feathers is almost impossibly cruel. While some feathers are a by-product of the equally problematic poultry industry, the abusive practice of “live plucking,” or ripping the feathers out of fully conscious birds, is industry standard.
According to a study led by researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Washington, non-Hispanic white people are exposed to 17% less air pollution than is caused by their consumption, while Black and Hispanic communities are exposed to 56% and 63% more air pollution, respectively, than is caused by their consumption.
In addition, deforestation (with animal agriculture being its leading cause) constantly threatens the rights of indigenous people and the territories they protect.
According to National Geographic, indigenous people protect 80% of the global biodiversity while representing less than 5% of the world’s population.
Here are five things you can do to fight against environmental racism:
We’d also recommend learning about the amazing work Food Empowerment Project is doing as a vegan food justice organization which aims at creating a more just and sustainable world.
Dismantling white supremacy must be an integral part of our fight to protect the environment.
Instead of scrambled eggs, why not try a tofu scramble? Add some Kala namak (also known as Himalayan black salt) which adds an eggy flavor. You could also try ready-made egg substitutes like Just Egg or chickpea flour to make an omelet.
While eggs are used as a binding agent in baked goods, in a lot of recipes, they can be easily replaced or omitted. Next time you’re baking a cake, instead of an egg, try a flaxseed egg (combine 1 tbsp of flax seeds + 3 tbsp of water), a chia egg (1 tbsp of chia seeds + 3 tbsp of water) or applesauce. Other substitutes include silken tofu, bananas, and vegan yogurt.
Aquafaba, or chickpea “brine,” is a great substitute for egg whites. Whipped with a strong mixer or hand beater, it forms those “stiff peaks” you need for baking certain desserts like meringues, mousses, and macarons!
Giving up cow’s milk will open the door to so many delicious alternatives! You can find milk made out of soy, rice, hemp, oats, almonds, coconuts, cashews, or a mix of these! We recommend oat and soy milk, as they have a mild taste and are the most environmentally friendly.
If you’re feeling up to it, you might even want to learn how to make them at home!
Vegan ice creams, butter, and cheese are also becoming more popular and accessible. Nutritional yeast (or "nooch") adds a nice, cheesy flavor. You'll be sprinkling it over all of your meals in no time!
Don't steal the honey that bees have worked so hard to make! Try some molasses, maple syrup, agave, date syrup, or rice syrup instead. You can also find vegan honey (here is another one) made from cane sugar online and in stores which tastes just like the real thing!
8. Helpful Resources
If you're interested in transitioning into a vegan lifestyle, but you aren't sure where to start, don't worry!
It’s essential to remember that there is no one way to become vegan. Some people become vegan overnight, while others transition for a few months, removing one animal product after the other. You might find that one method works better for you than the other, and that’s okay!
Here are some of our favorite resources for the vegan-curious!
Don’t forget to join our Discord server to chat with other animal lovers and tell us how your transition to veganism is going!
Written by Assya Ahouandjinou, Ruby Shoefield, and Victoria Tomis
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