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Every week, we’re seeing new reports about extreme weather events, varying from frequent and extreme storms to unprecedented heat waves, evidence that our climate is changing around us faster than predicted. Recent research papers have also shown that there’s a growing consensus that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global warming crisis.
The facts are brutally clear: While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, within the next 18 months, we must urgently reverse these catastrophic environmental damages we humans have done to Earth before the earth is fatally wounded.
I understand that when it comes to climate change, a lot of us feel really helpless and feel that we can’t make a difference or contribute to the solution.
But what if I told you you could change the world through your food choices?
We may not all be able to afford electric cars or solar power, but we all have to eat every day and the personal choices we make regarding our daily 3 meals can add up to big numbers.
You might think that what you eat on a daily basis does not make a dent in a huge problem like global warming, but I am here to prove you wrong.
In the past years, livestock has grown to become one of the most damaging industries on our planet. Livestock accounts for 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which is similar to the greenhouse gas emissions of all the cars, trucks and airplanes in our world.
This is because red meat such as beef and lamb are highly inefficient to produce. In order to make way for these animals to graze, Deforestation is required, and as these animals grow, they produce methane, a greenhouse gas which is highly potent and damaging to our environment.
Here are just some facts: Eating an average-sized steak for dinner contributes 330 grams of carbon which has a comparable carbon footprint to driving about three miles in a standard gas-powered car. By contrast, an equal serving of chicken produces 51 grams of carbon, while fish produces 40 grams and vegetables produces 14 grams of carbon.
Looking at these facts, there is something that you can do right now, the single most powerful action you can take to help save our environment is to cut carbon from your diet.
I don’t want to tell people what to eat, but it would indeed be beneficial, for both climate and human health, if we moderate the amount of meat we consume. Maybe, instead of having meat two times a day, have it once a day.
You can also consider switching to diets such as the Mediterranean diet, which consists of food that is rich in nuts and beans. It comprises of lots of fish and eating chicken once a week and red meat only once a month. I advocate this diet as it allows many to reduce their meat intake without being vegan or vegetarian.
I believe this diet is highly helpful as if everyone were to adopt this diet, it would greatly lower the amount of meat we consume and this would greatly decrease the methane emissions from livestock and the amount of fertilizer and land raising them requires.
Studies have shown that the carbon emissions reduced is the same as the pollution from 1 billion cars. To put that in perspective, this would reduce global warming by up to 15 percent by 2050.
To make this The Mediterranean diet seem more enticing, it also has health benefits such as reducing the chances of getting Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases and overall increased longevity.
To conclude, I hope everyone will attempt to cut back on their meat intake, I believe that if each of us take baby steps, we’ll find that we can go a mile pretty quickly. Everybody has to start somewhere, and every little bit counts, whether it’s meatless Mondays, or by reducing their beef/chicken consumption.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr had believed that there is such a thing as being too late and I agree with him. When it comes to climate change, we cannot procrastinate any longer. We need to change our lifestyles in order to save the one planet we got. It’s up to you to cut back on your meat intake and you can make a difference.
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