“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”-— U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014
Climate change. You’ve most likely seen these two little words appear all over your Facebook feed and the news recently. It’s a topic that keeps making its way into our conversations and has caused global controversy. Humanity has spun ‘climate change’ into such a controversial discussion that some people now refer to it as a ‘belief’, as if it’s something one chooses to believe in.
Climate change is not a belief, it’s a fact. The world’s best scientists and climatologists have the facts to prove it. Heck, even without the science, climate change is so evident, just have a look at the melting sea ice in the Arctic.
Climate change is a problem that needs to be dealt with right now. It’s not something that can be put off for 50 years or something that our children’s children will be affected by. Climate change has already started to affect humanity and is a catastrophe that is threatening our existence.
In the next few years, humans will continue seeing significant impacts, e.g. flooding, hurricanes, etc. If we don’t change our ways right now, we will be single handedly responsible for creating the sixth mass extinction on our planet.
Climate change truly is a self-induced epidemic that we must gain control of. If we don’t, this mass extinction will happen far sooner than we think. Humans are killing off millions of species- polar bears and whales are among the many.
We must fight to protect and preserve what’s left of our planet. We have twelve years to fix this thing. There is proof that if human beings change our current habits, then we can start to reverse the damage we have already caused.
The best way to do this?
Yes, seriously, or at least eat a plant based diet.
How does climate change work?
Let’s break this down clearly. The planet is warming up. The hottest years on Earth have been the last twenty. It has warmed by one degree celsius in the last 160 years, which may not sound like a lot. Already, this one degree has had dramatic effects on our planet. Scientists are saying that the global average temperature is on track to increase by 3-5 degrees Celsius by 2100. This number is terrifying because humans must keep the global average temperature under 1.5 degrees C. If we don’t, we will see even more catastrophic events. The sea levels rising, loss of species, cities and islands under water will only get worse.
Scientists are saying that we are on track to surpass 1.5 degrees C in the next 12 years.
So what’s causing the increase in temperatures?
Greenhouse gases are to blame. Objectively, greenhouse gases shouldn’t be a bad thing. Without them, Earth would be too cold for us to live on. The gases create a ‘greenhouse effect’ by absorbing and emitting energy from the atmosphere which warms our planet. This is great and all, but an overload of greenhouse gases is bad news.
Carbon dioxide for example is a heat trapping gas so too much of it causes the earth’s surface temperatures to rise, hence what is happening now. There’s a massive issue with CO2 levels spiking as they have significantly increased in the last decade.
The Leading Cause of Climate Change
You might be wondering what’s causing the increasing amount of greenhouses gases like carbon dioxide and methane found in our atmosphere. Green house gases are released from many things like burning fossil fuels, however, there is one thing in particular that is hugely responsible for the warming of our planet.
Animal agriculture is causing the destruction of planet Earth. Yes, you heard correctly. That means the bacon you had for breakfast, the chicken in your caesar salad for lunch, and your burger for dinner are destroying our Earth.
More are some more facts about animal agriculture and climate change:
- Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
- Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.
- Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day.
- Methane is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 on a 20 year time frame.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.
To give you more of an idea about the benefits of a plant based diet, here’s some more information.
What Can I Do?
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely an outdoor enthusiast, or some aspect of your life takes place in the outdoors. If you love the outdoors, you most likely want to protect the environment and see it thrive. With that being said, it’s time to put our money where our mouths are and vote for the planet with our dollars.
You might be thinking, ‘I’m just one person, how can I make an impact?’. When you purchase animal products, you are literally handing someone money to go out and slaughter an innocent animal on your behalf. When you stop purchasing animal products, you stop contributing to the unlawful slaughtering of billions of animals. In turn, you will assist with bringing the demand down for these products.
We have the means to literally solve world hunger, instead we give mass amounts of food to livestock. Livestock covers 45% of the Earth’s total land and 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture. Additionally, worldwide, livestock eat 135 billion pounds of food every. single. day. Comparatively, humans only consume 21 billion pounds of food every day.
By going vegan, you will reduce your carbon footprint by 50%. Additionally, every day that you are vegan you personally will save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.
Unsure How to Start?
Eating a plant based diet right off the bat can be a little challenging. When you’re used to cooking a certain way and buying specific products, it can seem overwhelming to make the initial switches.
There are some amazing resources that will help make the transition easier. This website offers an incredibly useful, free, transition guide. Click here
A Healthy World
We all want a thriving planet with healthy oceans and wildlife. We look forward to continuing to explore Earth’s wilderness and hope that the next generations to come will get to have similar experiences. With that being said, we have to take action now.
The planet has given us far too many warnings, it’s time we listen. This is our wake up call.
*Feature photo and following images by Jonas Beyer Photography @beyer_photo
*Facts and infographic from Cowspiracy