Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about what you can do to help the fight against climate change. With lawmakers and politicians seeming more distant, and companies lobbying around environmental laws, it can be a challenge to stay motivated in the fight against climate change.
However, we can still make a big difference. Our support or opposition to certain brands, companies or businesses can make an important impact and encourage climate friendly policies. We’ve seen the difference we can make with boycotts against corporations like Coca-Cola, Delta and Home Depot after the 2021 Georgia voting law changes. In our society, money talks.
That’s where you can come in and make an immediate impact. Eating less meat, supporting organic farmers and considering the distance your food is traveling before landing on your table are all easy things you can do to help support the fight against climate change.
Raising animals for meat in an industrial setting is one of the most inefficient ways of growing food. Livestock production accounts for 70% of all agricultural land use, occupies 30% of the planet’s land surface and is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide. Additionally, raising meat is also a huge drain on other resources like water and grain, as it takes 11-15 pounds of grain to produce 1-2 pounds of meat. Furthermore, raising animals on an industrial scale also leads to the destruction of forests to provide grazing land. We’ve seen direct examples of these in the Amazon Rainforest, where farmers and herders have been illegally clearcutting wide swathes of jungle to create grazing land for cattle. Instead of recycling greenhouse gases, we create another space where carbon is released.
A 2016 study by the U.K’s Oxford Martin School found that we can cut our greenhouse gas emissions globally by a third by 2050 if people cut back on the amount of meat they eat a year. Instead of meat every meal, we could lead healthier lifestyles and protect our environment by switching to meat one meal a day.
Additionally, beyond meat, you can also make a difference with the produce you buy. Switching to organic and local produce, for example, can make a big difference in carbon release. Synthetic chemicals used in industrial farming are produced and transportation to the farm site using fossil fuels. They also contain harmful synthetics such as nitrogen which produce nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas about 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Alternatively, natural manure and compost used by organic farmers is much better at storing carbon in the soil, slowing greenhouse gas effects.
And don’t forget about taste! Organically grown produce and meat contains no GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and is higher in natural vitamins and minerals, making them healthier, more nutritious and tastier. Lastly, they’re also more likely to be local. Buying local produce can be an important step to fighting climate change. An average meal for most people travels about 750 miles from where it was produced before it reaches our homes and dinner tables. By purchasing locally, we can cut out this transportation and the greenhouse gases emitted. Local produce is fresh, usually tastes better and can be a more nutritious substitute to industrial farms. Using your wallet to support organic farmers is a great way to get the attention of your local grocery store to stock more local or organically produced foods.
Helping to make a difference in the fight against climate change can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! By taking deliberate steps in choosing what we eat, we can help in lower greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and protect our planet one spoonful at a time.