If you haven’t read the UN report on global warming, then let me sum it up for you. Our world is next to extinct, if we don’t control global warming by 2030. That is 12 years. 12 mere years to save our planet. This UN report uncovered the dangers and fatal consequences, if we do not take serious action in controlling the way we behave towards our environment. It also uncovered something else, something that came to me, and I’m sure plenty of other people as a surprise; what we eat is destroying our planet. Specifically, animal and dairy consumption.
My diet has always been full of animal consumption. So, I know how hard it is to cut it out. I’ve always felt like it was a normal part of the ecological food chain and I never felt “immoral” for eating meat. And I stand by that. I don’t think people who eat meat are “bad” people. I don’t stand for animal cruelty for cosmetic purposes or circuses or cruel sports. I don’t buy animal cruelty make-up and I don’t abuse nor treat animals poorly. However, in terms of eating habits and the killing of animals for survival/nutritional value, I simply believe that humans are at the top of the food chain. We eat meat, the way a fox eats a rabbit, the way any animal preys on another. I am disheartened at how some vegans and vegetarians are handling this new information, which has now changed the playing field. I am not an “immoral” person for choosing to eat meat and I have a genuine respect and admiration for people who have long opted for vegan and vegetarian options, well before this UN report was addressed.
However, that being said, eating meat is no longer a dietary option or preference. It is an important factor with crucial impact on whether we are going to be able to save our planet or not. And where I stood up for my right to choose to eat meat, I must say that it now feels like a luxury rather than a necessity to choose to continue to consume the amount of meat and dairy that I do, consciously knowing that I am harming the environment by doing so. I didn’t have the facts before, but I do now. And that makes all the difference. I say this as someone who is a complete meat lover – please, do what you can, the most that you can, all that you can, to at the very least, minimise your animal and dairy consumption. Please.
Not using straws or using a travel mug or walking instead of taking the bus for manageable distances, reusing plastic bags and containers and recycling our waste properly – these are things that we must continue to do, but they are now no longer simply enough. So, I am no longer eating red meat anymore. I am cutting beef, lamb, etc,. out of my diet completely from here on in. Red meat is our biggest enemy in the fight against global warming in terms of our diets, and according to the UN report it needs to be brought down by 90%. I am switching from dairy milk to plant-based milk (soya, almond, coconut) when I can. I am aiming to greatly reduce, but not completely eliminate my intake of dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. I am going to reduce my poultry (chicken) intake and try substitute it for seafood. Seafood followed by poultry are less harmful to the environment than red meat. We all have to play our part and we all have to ensure we are using our voice to make sure our governments are doing their part too.
So, this is to say; you may, like me, feel like you were not being immoral by choosing to eat meat as part of your nutritional lifestyle. You may not want to give it up, I wouldn’t say I “want to” either. But right now, you are being asked to make a moral decision. A conscious choice towards our environment and towards life as we know it. Eating meat can no longer be seen as a lifestyle choice or habit – not when our universe literally depends on it. We are being asked to individually take part in reducing global warming – that means we all need to come face to face with our actions and our efforts towards doing so.
Do what you can. Start off small even, and build it up bit by bit. That is what I am trying to do, and therefore all I can ask of you to do, too. Please, think about it, and take action.
Lastly, to all the vegetarians and vegans – whether you chose your dietary lifestyles for health reasons, a belief in an animal’s right to life, or because you were cautious all along of the role our diets play towards the environment – I applaud you, I respect you and I admire what you are doing and have been doing. It’s not as easy for others. No two people stand in the exact same position. We need vegans and vegetarians to encourage people, who like me, prior to learning about the damage animal consumption causes to the environment wouldn’t be giving it up. So, to you, I say, please – encourage us. Don’t shame us, belittle of us, or frown upon us for “not realising sooner” or for previously choosing a dietary option that you don’t.
I really hope to see more and more people take their diets into consideration. I hope that we all work together – individuals and governments alike, to bring global warming to a point of control so that we can build brighter futures for ourselves and for future generations. Earth has been so kind and beautiful to us, it has offered us beyond what we could have imagined nor asked for – it’s about time we return even a fracture of the favour. Global warming is real. It is happening. Our world is about to set fire, and we are the ones holding the open flame.