Environmentalism, in all its different forms, is very popular today. Perhaps, not a single day goes by without the media talking about the effects of greenhouse gases on our home—planet earth. The basic premise of environmentalism is that unless humans change their living habits, the earth will change drastically through climate change. Even if there may be some disagreements in the scientific community as to how to tackle it, one thing they do agree on is that global warming is going to harm the planet, in ways humans cannot fully comprehend yet.
The Culprits of Global Warming
The traditional culprits of “earth’s fever”can be pinpointed to two things, and those are industrialization and the way humans live. The industry that gets most of the flack as far pollution is concerned, is power generation, especially coal power plants. The second culprit is transportation. The roads are filled with hundreds of millions of cars and not to mention the aviation sector. All these players are dumping millions of pounds of green house gases into the atmosphere. However, there is a third player who rarely gets mentioned, which is strange considering that it is the single biggest culprit, and that is the food industry, specifically the animal farming side.
Is Going Vegetarian the Best Option?
The reasons behind the media and people in general, ignoring food’s role in global pollution are many. However, the main one is because we humans are attached to the food we eat on a deeply personal level. After all, humans cannot survive without eating. What gets lost in the conversation is that it is specifically the meat or animal-based food industry that is the most polluting one. According to the U.N, farm animals, whose products people consume or use, such as pigs, cows, poultry and sheep, contribute nearly 18% of the global total greenhouse gas! To put that number in perspective, that is more than automobiles and all other forms of transportation, combined!
Numbers like these, naturally raise some questions. The most prominent among them would be do humans really need to be so dependent on animal products for survival? The answer is a simple “no”. However, convincing people to become vegetarian’s wholesale may not be practical. Nevertheless, studies have shown that even a relatively small change in the diet, can make a big difference. For example, if taking a holiday from meat products for just one day of the week, can make quite an impact.
What is a Flexitarian?
No matter which data you look at, regarding switching from a heavy meat-based diet, the answers are the same. And that would be that it is time to become a flexitarian. A play on the word “vegetarian” a flexitarian is someone who drastically reduces meat consumption and includes more grains and vegetables to the diet. The specific numbers are 75% less beef, 50% fewer eggs, 60% less milk, and 90% less pork.
The number of ways to help spread the word and to get people towards a more flexitarian lifestyle are many. On a grassroots level, it can be done through social media. Other ways include imposing a “green tax” on all meat products. Whatever the method is, the important thing is to let people know that there needs to be a fundamental change in thinking to make life on this planet supportable.