As a teen, my first music idols were Michael Jackson and Prince. I kept a picture of MJ on my bedroom shelf and swore “PYT” was written just for me! I only wore paisley because of Prince, and remember, like so many others, trying to style my hair like his. He was original and special and we all knew it right away. What many of us also know about Prince was that he was particularly compassionate and even demonstrated that compassion through diet. He chose a vegan lifestyle well before it started trending and wrote about it in the song “Animal Kingdom”, that includes the lyrics:
No member of the animal kingdom nurses past maturity
No member of the animal kingdom ever did a thing to me
It’s why I don’t eat red meat or white fish
Don’t give me no blue cheese
We’re all members of the animal kingdom
Leave your brothers and sisters in the sea
Today is Earth Day, where we celebrate and demonstrate support for the environmental protection of our planet. We’ll hear a lot about reducing our carbon footprint, planting trees, recycling and overall conservation. We might not hear as much about reducing meat production although it is well established that meat production has a very large carbon footprint. Meat production accounts for about 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity. It has been shown that the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is by reducing or eliminating meat and dairy consumption. As shown in the graphic below greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by more than half when switching to a plant-based diet.
As many mourn the sudden loss of an icon, we can also pay tribute through our choice of diet, and remember that "compassion is an action word with no boundaries." Let's not put any boundaries on what we can do to protect the planet, our health and the lives of innocent animals. Prince also stated, “we need an Animal Rights Day when all slaughterhouses shut down.” Let's work to make that a reality, not just for one day, but everyday. RIP.