The U.S. Government’s (Wrong) Stance on Climate Change
This past week, Trump proposed a budget cut of 31% for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). It was also leaked that he plans on backing out of the Paris climate deal. According to a tweet he made back in 2012, he believes that the issue of climate change “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax” over the recent years. He also named a climate change denialist, Scott Pruitt, to head the EPA.
Trump is pro-oil and wants to expand offshore drilling, and rolled back coal mining regulations. You can read more about how Trump is negatively effecting our environment here.
If you haven’t caught on yet – the current government of the United States is doing nothing to help our environment, and taking steps that will continue to harm it. And no, it’s not “fake news”. It’s reality.
It may seem like the government and all of the big corporations have all the control right now. But they don’t, we do – as consumers.
If you accept that climate change exists, it is your duty to help fight it. We, as believers in factual evidence, can sit and point our fingers at the deniers ALL DAY LONG. Guess what it does to save our oceans, our air, our children, the animals of the planet? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. What does help? You taking action.
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5 Ways You Can Fight Climate Change – even when the government doesn’t care
1. Go Vegan
Usually the most important point is saved for last, but I had to put this first because it is the most impactful action anyone can take to fight climate change and improve our environment. I realize the word “vegan” scares the shit out of most people – or just makes you roll your eyes. Heavily. I get it, we live in a culture where meat and dairy are everywhere and vegans are seen as weird, annoying, tree-huggers. But the fact is that we consume WAY TOO MUCH meat and dairy than what is sustainable for our earth.
Facts You Need to Know About the Impact of Eating Animals:
– The VAST majority of livestock are “raised” on factory farms – sorry, your burger likely didn’t come from a cow that grazed in a pasture or even ate grass. Factory farms are absolutely horrible for our environment for many reasons, including producing mass amounts of greenhouse gasses.
– Producing livestock is responsible for far more emissions than transportation is – Worldwatch has estimated that up to 51% of greenhouse gas emissions come from raising animals for food.
– Deforestation is primarily due to animal agriculture.
– The meat industry uses so.much.water. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat… and 2,400+ gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. “To produce a day’s food for one meat-eater takes over 4,000 gallons; for a lacto-ovo vegetarian, only 1200 gallons; for a vegan, only 300 gallons.” – source.
Study after study has proven that eating a vegan or vegetarian diet would drastically improve our environment. I’ve included a list of additional studies and factual articles at the end of this post.
Is it realistic for everyone to go vegan? No. But if you can – do it. Work toward it. Start eating one completely plant-based meal a day and work up from there.
If, after reading the many studies I have linked to above (and below), you are still concerned with going vegan due to health reasons, I urge you to read The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted (or read this great overview of it.)
Ready to go vegan? Here are a ton of vegan recipes, and Pinterest is an excellent search tool.
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
I’m sure you knew this one – but do you put it into practice?
Pay attention to how much plastic packaging you are taking home from the store. Invest in reusable tote bags (or just keep reusing plastic and paper bags until they wear out), mesh produce bags, cloths and towels to replace paper towels and napkins, stop buying paper plates and plasticware, etc. Check out My Plastic-free Life and Trash is for Tossers for more ideas on reducing your waste.
Make use of your local buy, sell, trade groups (find them on Facebook or varagesale.com) and thrift shops.
Learn what you can recycle & how you can recycle in your area. Most items can be picked up curbside (my city recycling truck comes around every other week), other items may have to be brought to a drop off location in your city.
3. Buy Local (and grow your own!)
Hit up your local farmer’s market to reduce your carbon footprint. Though transportation produces less emissions than the production process (see #1!) it still makes an impact to buy local. Even better if you can find a local, sustainable farm to purchase your produce from – one that avoids using synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers and/or doesn’t raise livestock for slaughter.
If you have the time/resources/space, you can also grow your own veggies and herbs. (Personally, I have a black thumb, but I’m trying damn it.)
4. Opt for Greener Energy & Transportation
Reduce your energy usage at home – check out Energy Star’s recommendations here. Or get solar if you can! Some states offer incentives or tax breaks for those who get solar energy for their home – the federal government also offers a tax credit.
Stay away from the gas guzzlers if you are car shopping (better yet, buy a hybrid or electric vehicle if financially possible – Some day, I will have a Tesla. Car goals.) Walk, bike, or carpool when and where you can.
Our current government may have a major lack of interest in being ethical, but there are many large, influential organizations out there that are committed to fighting climate change, protecting our environment, and advocating for animals around the world. For many organizations, you can set up an automatic monthly donation – but small, one time donations help, too. Birthday coming up? Instead of gifts, ask your family and friends to donate to an organization you love. Last Christmas, in lieu of buying my animal-loving brother a gift, I donated to Ocean Conservancy in his name.
Great organizations to donate to:
– Mom’s Clean Air Force – “Moms Clean Air Force is a community of over 1,000,000 moms—and dads!—working together to combat air pollution, including the urgent crisis of our changing climate.”
– Vegan Outreach – “Vegan Outreach is a 501c3 nonprofit organization working to end violence towards animals. Vegan Outreach seeks a future when sentient animals are no longer exploited as commodities.”
– Surfrider – “The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.”
– The Solutions Project – “Solutions Project accelerates the transition to 100% clean energy by championing a movement that is more inclusive, more collaborative, and more celebratory.”
– Greenpeace Fund – “Greenpeace is a diverse, multi-cultural movement of ordinary individuals determined to bring about the extraordinary change necessary to realize a greener, more peaceful future.”
– Rainforest Alliance – “The Rainforest Alliance’s ambitious mission is to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.”
– Ocean Conservancy – “Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.”
– World Wildlife Fund – “From numerous initiatives, priority areas and priority species, the entire WWF Network will focus on six major goals – forests, oceans, wildlife, food, climate & energy, and freshwater – and three key drivers of environmental problems – markets, finance and governance.”
Make sure our future government DOES give a f@*k about our environment. VOTE.
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You may “only” be one person, and you might not be able to do it all, right now, but you CAN and DO make a difference every single day with every choice you make.
Share this article with your friends and family, gently educate others, and support organizations and people that have major influence.
Additional Resources and Reading
- Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change
- The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets
- Explain Like I’m 5: How Does Eating Animals Harm the Environment?
- NASA on Climate Change
- A Leading Cause of Everything: One Industry That Is Destroying Our Planet and Our Ability to Thrive on It
Vegan Health Resources:
- The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health
- Why the President of the American College of Cardiology Wants Heart Disease Patients to Eat Vegan Diets
- Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets
- Effects of Vegetarian Diets on Blood Lipids: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials