By Victoria Roots on August 2, 2019
All opinions shared in this article are that of the author and do not reflect the opinions of The Hysteria Collective as a whole, but we too do think climate change isn’t great.
The voice of the Environmentalist has never been more imperative. When we have a solution to our certain fate of mass extinction, why do people persist to the contrary? I believe that all that is needed is for the environmentalist to live what they profess.
Our demands on the earth are too much for it. While our governments fail to educate us of our certain fate of mass extinction by 2050, while we will live to see fishless oceans, while world hunger persists, people are out there working on trillion dollar solutions to global warming, that will take 10..20…30 years, by which time it’ll be too late. I plant a seed for thought (an appropriate phrase too relevant to resist- the forthcoming article sympathetic to the cause!), that we could solve the climate crisis today, for zero dollars, by switching to a plant-based or reduced meat diet.
As an environmentalist myself – a person who in concerned about protecting the environment- over the past year I have made conscious efforts to reduce my carbon footprint and waste. My family is now almost entirely plastic free, I use public transport, take shorter showers, turn off lights. All the while these efforts are commendable, to find out that the emissions contributed from agriculture with the raising of livestock, is far greater than all transportation emissions combined, is eye-opening to say the least. The production of livestock is 86 times more destructive than carbon dioxide from vehicles. To have one pound of beef for dinner, it takes 16 pounds of grain, over 6500 litres of water, acres of land and unmeasurable amounts of waste.
The United Nations have reported that as well as livestock playing a most major role in global warming, it is also the front running cause of resource consumption and environmental degradation. To illustrate: Hydraulic fracking for natural gas for fuel uses 100 billion gallons of water per year globally, while the raising of livestock for food in the USA alone uses 34 trillion gallons of water per year! It is hard to hear the facts knowing 1 billion humans do not have access to safe, clean drinking water. Similarly, roughly 1 billion people are suffering from starvation, while 50% of grain grown is used to feed the livestock population. Every human being could have an adequate diet if the plant based food used to raise livestock for more well off individuals, was used to feed humans instead.
The population of the planet has increased almost 10 times over in the last 100 years. I believe the only sustainable way to sustain this population and protect the planet from extinction, is to switch to a plant-based diet, or no beef diet. For a vegan, plant based diet, each person requires 1/6 of an acre of land per year, a vegetarian diet uses half an acre, while a diet of high meat consumption requires 18 times more land per person. When the population has so rapidly increased, our rainforests have suffered so this land can be used for agriculture, there is not enough space on the planet to continue to raise livestock for food. The deforestation that occurs at a rate of 100 square meters per second would halt if there was a reduced demand for beef, because this land would no longer be needed for cattle grazing. Every single day, every individual would be able to save 5000 litres of water, 45 Ibs. of grain, 30 square foot of forests, 10 Ibs. of CO2 and one animals life.
The implications for the planet could be extraordinary. If we didn’t devote the land to growing food to feed livestock, land for them to be raised, forests and wildlife could come back, our oceans and air would be clean again, and people would be healthy. While people are working on renewable energy technology that could take up to 50 years, costing trillions, a solution to climate change that is free and could happen today without the wait, is to stop or greatly reduce the eating of animals.
What I would like you to take from my article is a simple message: the single most positive thing you can do for the planet is to reduce your consumption of animal products. We cannot succeed without this, the planet will continue to heat up, deforestation will continue, we will see mass extinction, and we will seal our fate of a short future for planet earth. By removing our consumption of animal products, greenhouse gases are immediately reduced, food scarcity reduced, and human values are restored. I believe that natural human values of compassion and kindness are two of the most important qualities a human can possess, and we will see a much kinder and compassionate world if people exercised these qualities towards planet earth.
Reading this, I want you to know that it’s okay to be afraid and reluctant to change, what is important is that there is some change, no matter how small. The single most effective thing you can do is to stop eating beef. I would say that this is the easiest because of the alternatives available. While a plant based diet is not at all desirable for someone who has eaten meat their whole life, a reduced meat diet is a step in the right direction and would still make such a huge difference.
If people live everyday doing the most that they can as well as they can, life would be fulfilled and happy, without regret, and with hope for the future.
Take a pause for reflection. Embrace sustainability, and love our earth. After we have ensured the planet can survive, we can let it thrive.