Change Your Diet; Change The Climate | Teen Ink

Change Your Diet; Change The Climate

August 12, 2008
By Anonymous

The best thing you can do to change the climate is to change your diet. All modes of transportation? 13% of the world’s pollution. All homes and offices? 8%. These may not be huge numbers at first glance, but they have a massive effect on our mother earth. So, with great despair, I would like to let you know that the meat industry is responsible for a whopping 18%. The harmful gases given off from masses of animal feces, combined with the energy and resources needed to raise and care for the animals makes the meat industry a giant, metaphorical machete going for our ozone layer.

To give you an idea: eating one pound of meat causes as much pollution as driving an SUV for 40 miles. Another quick fact? NOT eating a pound of meat saves the equivalent amount of water as a year’s worth of showers. This is because nearly half of the United State’s water consummation is going to the farmed animal industry. And if you’re at all concerned about the vast amounts of deforestation, get a load of this: 70% of the previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures for raising meat. So, by ordering a garden burger (which you can now get at your local Burger King) instead of a whopper you’re reducing air pollution, saving water, and helping to keep our Amazon forest habitats safe. Enough incentive, there?

Let’s go back to air pollution. Now, as I’ve previously mentioned, the animal feces give off gases that contribute to air pollution, and overall, global warming. The disposal of all of this waste (about 89,000 pounds-per second!) isn’t so easy. Some companies leave the excrement to rot in large lagoons; others spray it over crop fields. Both of these methods cause insane amounts of pollution. It runs off into the water, and seeps into the air. Wildlife is killed, land is destroyed, global warming grows worse, and the people in surrounding areas can get very sick. Methane (which is 20 times for powerful at trapping heat in our atmosphere) is released from the waste lagoons, along with Nitrous Oxide (which is 300 times more potent as a global warming gas).

To my disappointment, I recently discovered that the Bush administration has been waving all charges for some of the major companies’ air pollution as long as they “studied” there actions and paid some small fees. It was behind-closed-doors transaction and denied until the EPA’s very own files proved differently. Because of such carelessness, it is up to us to make a difference now more than ever.

Of course, the extremists go vegan and only eat organic food in order to do their part (and kudos to them, might I add). But the rest of us (including myself) need to take baby steps. First, if you’re apposed to going vegetarian right away, I’d suggest eating more and more organic meat. Small farms use the manure as productive fertilizer, and are more humane to the animals (if the animal’s welfare concerns you as much as the environment, this is the way to go). Most of our common grocery stores are beginning to offer all kinds of organic alternatives. Not to mention all of our meat-less meat products, such as Boca and Garden burgers that we can now get at Costco. These are a tasty treat that benefits your health, and the health of our planet.

Speaking of health, your body can benefit from a vegetarian diet in many ways. Ruling out meat all together (and being sure to still get enough protein and iron, of course) can result in clearer skin, loss of unwanted weight, and an overall healthier feeling. It has been shown to lower the incidence of obesity, some cancers, hypertension, and so much more. This simple diet change is a breakthrough; no wonder so many individuals are making the change over. Of course, there aren’t just vegetarians. You could be a semi-vegetarian (hence, you still eat seafood and/or chicken), a vegan (you avoid ALL animal products), or maybe a fruitarian (no meat, or processed foods). There are so many options; all you have to do is pick the one best for you.

Considering all things, I think my previous statement (“The best thing you can do to change the climate is to change your diet”) is too small for such an impact. Because, by cutting out meat (or even eating all organic meat!) you are doing your part to save not only the animals, but the very world we live in. By changing your diet, you change everything.


This article has 1 comment.

savinggreen said...
on Aug. 27 2008 at 3:49 am
Excellent article. Great factual info. without being "preachy" or boring. Would love to see another piece.