Balayage-dyed hair, avocado toast, highlighter makeup, rainbow everything… of all the trends seen on the internet, veganism has become a growing concept. Now more than ever, local restaurants are serving fare that is more inclusive towards various diets. These places cater to approximately 7.3 million adults in America that identify as vegan or vegetarian, a number that has increased compared to past statistics. However, being healthy and protesting against inhumane practices towards animals aren’t the only benefits to eating less meat. Consuming fewer animal products can have a significant impact on reducing climate change and the harmful effects of global warming.
It is no secret that greenhouse gases are a large culprit of the changing climate. However, it is not as commonly known that the act of clearing forests to raise farmed animals, clearing forests for crops to grow that go towards feeding those animals, the production of animal fecal matter, slaughtering the animals, transporting the meat, processing the meat, and refrigerating and preserving the meat, also releases huge amounts of harmful energy into our atmosphere (as well as overtaxing the land and contributing to deforestation and the further extinction of wildlife that is crucial to our ecosystems). The process of raising livestock is clearly excessive and unnecessary.
The benefits of consuming less meat are not limited to just ourselves. Participating, even if partially or temporarily, in the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can save energy, forests, clean water, the environment in which we live in, and animals! Not only are you not eating farm animals that are commonly commercially raised — such as chicken, cows, and pigs — you are helping prevent other species from possible extinction. Recently, news has broken out that a rhino species is bound to terminate, and polar bears have been forced to move south into Canada to find a home. Global warming has had its adverse effects, but it is not stopping. The arctic ice cap is melting at an increasingly rapid rate, depriving many animals of their habitat. There are many ways to assist the fight against the adverse effects of global warming, and eating less animal products is a gladly received tribute.
Although the conditions of our planet are continually changing, the government refuses to take effective action towards slowing these dangerous changes. That is why it is so crucial that the people take this issue into their own hands. Trump declared that climate change was a hoax launched by the Chinese. He has no evidence to back this claim. In fact, the Chinese are creating their own ways of fighting against the changing climate. They are planning to build a “Forest City,” which will house 300,000 people, cover 342 acres, and combat climate change with its unique design that includes trees integrated into each floor of the buildings. These trees will provide a habitat for wildlife, but most importantly, they are predicted to reduce the air temperature and absorb 20,000,000 pounds of toxic carbon dioxide annually. Clearly, if the Chinese made up climate change as a hoax, then they wouldn’t spend so much money on this monumental project. Not to mention, scientists around the world wouldn’t be saying that we need to act now if we are to have a chance at minimizing this universal problem. Further, in the midst of more frequent weather disasters like hurricanes Irma and Harvey, flooding, droughts, and fires in places like California, it seems as if our president is just refusing to see the facts.
Although global warming is an overwhelming predicament, change and activism starts with the everyday person. Going full-out vegan is not a necessity; however, it is important to be aware of how our daily lifestyle affects our environment. Use a reusable water bottle and shopping bags, don’t leave the water running or the lights on when not in use, switch to LED light bulbs, eat less meat, plant a tree. Don’t forget that the little things really do count. Another way to get involved is to support West Bloomfield High School’s Earth Club. To do so, just contact Mr. Barclay, the Physics Instructor and Sustainability Coordinator based in room 501. Any prospective members can join at anytime, and the next meeting is this Thursday, April 19.
PSA: WBHS Earth Club is trying to raise money to build a solar array that will power the entire science department of the school with clean energy. To donate, please visit http://bit.ly/wbhsearthdonations .