*or rather, a lack of beef
Man oh man has it been a while since I last wrote here. “Time keeps on slippin slippin slippin” away from me (and honestly I forgot that I started this platform). I guess I haven’t really had anything to say; actually that’s a lie, I always have things to say. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t posted. Anyways, I’m back now.
I considered writing about the election. However, I figured people would be sick of election talk. I know I am. I’m sick of seeing the same things being said by people who voted for Trump. I’m sick of the people who have already been affected and will be affected by this decision being ignored by his supporters even though they are “not racist, not sexist, and not homophobic”. If you’re none of those things, why do I not see you denouncing other Trump supporters committing hate crimes? Why are you continuing to yell and scream about how you only care about his policies (however vague they may be) and trying to tell people you’re not socially like him, but not expressing remorse or disgust over, or even acknowledging, these hate crimes? But I digress. I said this would not be about the election and I am a women of my word.
Tonight I am going to talk about why I am not eating beef, and will try to cut back my dairy consumption by half. Tonight I am going to talk about why I will be looking more closely at which food companies use palm oil and bribe Indonesia, and subsequently buying less of those products.
As you may know, UN Ambassador of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, recently made a documentary called “Before the Flood”. Did you also know it was temporarily made available to rent for free on iTunes (and depending on when you’re reading this it’s still free)? I just finished watching it and I have never felt more compelled to take action (so good job Leo, Stevens, and Monroe). Truly a great documentary, very enlightening, and definitely makes you want to get up and do something. But if you’re like me, you wonder ‘what can I do?’.
I have always believed in climate change. There has never been one moment when I doubted its reality. When I was younger I owned, and wore habitually, a green shirt that had a panda bear on it and it said something along the lines of ‘global warming isn’t cool’. I recycle as much as possible, I bring re-usable bags with me when I go shopping, the shampoo and conditioner I use are both organic and don’t harm the water supply when they’re rinsed down the drain, and I only use reusable water bottles. But there’s probably more I could be doing in my everyday life right? Apparently so.
Beef and dairy are two huge staples in the American diet, so naturally we are breeding and farming more cattle than ever. In 2006, about 30% of land in the U.S. was used for food production and it has only increased from then. And of the land used for food production, the bulk of it is used for cattle and to grow feed for cattle. Beyond the land usage and the land being bulldozed for cattle, there is the issue of methane production. Cattle produce methane, and methane as you may know is a greenhouse gas. One molecule of methane is equivalent to 23 molecules of CO2. As I’m sure you know greenhouse gases are responsible for the melting icecaps and the problems arising from the melting icecaps.
Now, for the sake of transparency, I will admit that I don’t eat that much beef as is. I’m more of a chicken kind of person. I consume dairy a bit more, but still, not a lot. However I am still going to cut beef entirely out of my diet for a year, and honestly will probably consume even less beef than I do now after the year of no beef. I am going to cut my dairy consumption in half (admittedly this one will be a bit harder because I do love cheese). Logic behind this? The less cattle consumed, the less cattle produced, the less methane and land waste.
Beyond my cattle crusade (because I already don’t consume that much), I’m going to start being more aware of what corporations use unethically produced palm oil in their products and stop buying those products. Palm oil is the biggest factor in Indonesian deforestation which puts a lot of animals in danger and homeless as well as releasing more CO2 into the air by burning down the forests (not to mention the fossil fuels used in harvesting and producing palm oil). The system of getting palm oil is corrupt in itself with companies bribing Indonesian government officials to burn the forests. So from now on, I will be moving towards being palm oil free, or conflict palm oil free.
Here’s why I’m so pissed off. We now have a president that does not believe in climate change. We have people in the senate who are being backed by big money from fossil fuel companies which means that their interests are obviously swayed in the direction of continuing to use FFs (votes being bought? weird). The reason we still don’t have a carbon tax or set restrictions on companies to be more eco-friendly and more transparent about how they effect the climate is in large part because of this. The people being backed by fossil fuel still adamantly deny climate change and now that we have a republican president, house, and senate, the prospect of getting things such as the carbon tax enacted look grim (even though the carbon tax would allow for reduction of other taxes, but people hear “tax” and are immediately pissed and they don’t research so obviously politicians aren’t going to promote something that will lose them votes). Again, I feel like I’m digressing. Back to climate change.
Here are the facts we know to be true (literally look anywhere, you can’t deny that this is happening). The earth is warming. The ice is melting. Sea levels are rising. These are facts. The reason we have more flooding, more natural disasters, and the severity of those natural disasters is increasing is because of climate change. Just because the weather happens to be a bit cooler than forecasted one day does not mean climate change is not real, to think that is to be short sighted and ignorant. The earth is in fact warming and this is going to royally screw over a lot of people, places, and things i.e. precipitation belts will begin to move causing droughts in places that are already too hot meaning that they will become entirely unlivable and entire populations of people will be forced to move (but America is really accepting of foreign refugees right? for another times..). If the ice keeps melting, more methane and CO2 trapped in the ice will be released, places like Greenland will continue to disappear, and species in those areas will go extinct. And when the ice melts, the sea levels will rise, flooding will continue in places like Florida (costing the taxpayer much more @republicans) and island nations who contribute to the climate change crisis the least will feel the effects the most when their homes are flooded and destroyed.
Of course this is only a brief summary of how climate change is already affecting us and how it will continue. But this is already pretty long so I’m trying to shorten it a bit.
It’s time to really start fighting climate change. We haven’t waited too long, there is still time for us to act. But we can’t keep waiting. The Paris Climate Agreement was a huge step in the right direction. But there is still so much more that can be done. We need to stop treating our earth like a trash can and acting like there will never be any repercussions (especially because the repercussions have already begun). Environmental problems are really human behavior problems, and even though it can be difficult, we can change our behaviors. There is still hope, and while there is hope we must fight.
love and hugs