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Meat, the End of the World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Our nation - no, our entire planet - is facing acrisis. It's not terrorism or even poverty; humanity can survive Osama bin Ladenand fight through empty stomachs and leaky shacks. What it can't do is overcome adead, barren planet destroyed by pollution. Greenhouse gasses are smothering theplanet, preparing to bake us all. Ice caps will melt, there will be drought andfamine, floods and disease. Earth can still be salvaged if we act now, althoughnever completely restored. Many scientists believe it's already too late to avoidsome temperature rise. What can we do? One of the easiest ways to save the worldis to give up eating meat.

We have cultivated livestock to unbelievablelevels with factory farms pumping out animals, packing them together until theyare of no use, then casting them aside for others to deal with. Every time ananimal belches or defecates, they give off greenhouse gases. The meat industry isthe third largest polluter behind industry and cars. Contrary to popular belief,farmers do not use all the waste as fertilizer. Most farmers prefer cheap, moreeffective chemical fertilizers. Factory farms are overrun with animal waste. Todispose of it, they fill acres of land around the compound with worthless foliagerequiring high nutrients but returning no food value. These fields arecontinually sprayed with raw, untreated waste, a good deal of which is notabsorbed, but allowed to wash into rivers and lakes, killing natural species,thus poisoning ground water.

Livestock consume massive amounts of foodand water, far more than what they produce. It takes five times as much water toproduce a pound of meat than it does to produce a pound of vegetables. First ofall, animals, of course, drink it, and water is used to clean and butcher thembut most of all the water they consume comes from the plants they eat.

IfAmerica finished off all the livestock and went vegetarian, we would havethousands and thousands of acres of land once used to grow food for cowsavailable for development or that could revert to their prior natural state. Someof this land could be used for human food production, but more than athird would be empty, not to mention all the land that animals were raisedon.

America has allowed corporations to gain a stranglehold on the meatindustry. They use their economic clout to bully Washington, sending lobbyists orsimply bribing politicians to eliminate environmental regulations. Thecorporations care nothing for the American people, their only goal is to makemoney even if they kill us all with pollution to achieve it.

Mother Natureis in a serious bind, growing sicker every day. When she finally dies, who willnurture humanity's needs? Will the corporations come to our aid? No! No one cansave us once the environment is destroyed. Saving planet Earth may seemimpossible, but by doing small things like giving up meat, individuals can changethe world.

Please write to your representatives asking them to beresponsible and choose environmentally friendly policies.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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