I see all the craze about single use plastic that is happening right now in the world and I love it. There is attention towards fuel for vehicles and governments have added a carbon tax. Car manufacturers have created electric cars that run without fuel. These are all fantastic innovations and I am certainly not going to try to take away from them with this post. Single use plastic is a detrimental factor to majority of the ocean life coming to extinction. The gas car engines burn have a huge impact on the ozone layer thinning out…resulting in Global Warming.
That all sounds terrible, but what is worse?
This is not to take away from anything listed above. If you are adopting a plastic-free lifestyle, then go you!! That is awesome!! If you chose to buy an electric car or a hybrid to do your part for the environment, then that is great too!! There are so many ways for you to do your part for the planet. The way I see it is, as long as you are contributing something positive into the planet, then you are one step ahead of many people out there.
Unfortunately, there is one thing that all of us can control yet choose not to. The one thing that has the most extreme impact on not only the planet, but your own health. Something many people still deny that there is any negative impact resulting from this.
This is…Animal Agriculture.
Animal Agriculture is literally this elephant in the room that no one wants to address. Before I continue, I do not expect everyone to cut out animal products 100%. I am Pescatarian so even I have not completely cut out animal products. I still consume seafood and dairy products. The most important thing people forget is that it is not the simple fact of them being produced that is negative. It is the amount that is being consumed that is impacting the environment poorly. Many individuals nowadays consume meat in multiple meals throughout their day. There are people who eat meat in EVERY single meal! Now that is the real problem. Of course, the more people consume meat, the more that will be produced. I personally limit my seafood intake to 1-2 times per month. My egg intake to only when it is blended in my food already OR the rare breakfast outing. However, I do not eat any meat or poultry product at all, which is something I pride myself on.
How can it be that bad?
I have actually talked about this in a previous blog post, which can be viewed here. That was a post for National Vegan Month. The post goes into more detail about how exactly animal agriculture has a negative impact on our beautiful planet. To sum it up though, there are multiple ways it is poor. Firstly, cows produce methane; methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide. The only difference is that the negative effect on the climate is 23 times higher than with carbon dioxide. The more cows being raised, the more methane that is being released into our planet. Just resulting in an increase of the toxic greenhouse gas emissions.
Secondly, 70% of agricultural land is being used to raise livestock. This is HUGE. Where do people get this land? A lot of deforestation happens, which by the way is another way animal agriculture is negative for the planet. Humans are consuming so much meat that farms and organizations have to constantly expand the land for the livestock.
On top of those terrible facts that relate to the environment, it also has an impact on us. There has to be a reason why there is a rise in foreign diseases. An alarming increase in the amount of individuals who get diagnosed with cancer. Now obviously, cancer has other factors such as radiation and smoking cigarettes. However, there is definitely a connection between the amount of meat people consume and the diseases they are being diagnosed with. Of course eating too much meat, increases your risk of cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes, etc. But many studies say there is a correlation between how much meat people eat and cancer. Check out the following link from the World Cancer Research Fund to read more on the correlation between meat and cancer.
Does this mean I should go vegan?
No it does not. Unless you want to of course. However, you should consider reducing the amount of meat you consume on a regular basis. Slowly cut down to once a day, and then make it a couple times a week. If you are enjoying the new lifestyle, try going once a week. The most important part of all this is just eating everything in moderation. Just like almost anything, a lot of something can be directly bad for you. The problem with animal agriculture is that it is contributing to a lot of the greenhouse gas emissions that are speeding up climate change.
“Why should I care? Nothing will happen in my lifetime.”
You may or may not be right about that one. The world MAY not end in your lifetime because of climate change. However, in your lifetime, you will see a rise in diseases if this continues, animals becoming extinct, air pollution making your home dangerous to be in. You may not see the end of the world, but you will see a negative change. I mean, look at the weather in different countries. It is snowing in the tropics and staying warm throughout the winter in the North. That should be a huge red flag that there is something wrong. Humans in the last 150 years have negatively impacted the planet more than any other species in the ENTIRE lifetime of the planet. Plus it is not just about you! It is about all the following generations. We should be setting them up for success, not failure. So make a change in your lifestyle not just for yourself, but for your kids and your future grandkids and their kids. Your future family tree depends on us making a positive change right now. The world is at an environmental risk right now. It will only get worse.