“Climate change is the defining issue of our time” according to the United Nations. Due to practices such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and improper land use, green house gas emissions are at an all time high. These gases are accumulating in our atmosphere, trapping heat, and causing global temperatures to rise. To name only a few catastrophic outcomes from increased global temperatures, mankind is facing a shift in weather patterns as well as rising sea levels.
By far, the largest quantity of greenhouse gas in our atmosphere is carbon dioxide. This gas is produced primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, solid waste, as well as certain chemical reactions. Carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere when it is absorbed by plants. However, due to deforestation and improper land use, that absorption ability is outweighed by the amount of carbon dioxide being produced. For this reason, carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is growing exponentially.
In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we must all do our part in reducing what emission we produce by paying attention to our individual carbon footprints. A carbon footprint is the total carbon emissions caused by an individual or event. Your carbon footprint is increased by things like driving your car, using electricity, the amount of waste you produce, and what you consume.
As a member of 1% For The Planet and operator of a 100% renewable energy facility, fighting climate change and protecting our planet is one of our top priorities. If you’d like to contribute to the fight against climate change but you’re not sure how, we can help. A simple way to reduce your carbon footprint, along with switching to high efficiency lightbulbs and walking to work, is to shift your eating habits towards a plant-based diet.
A quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions come from food. More than half of those emissions come from animal agriculture. In fact, scientists say that livestock accounts for 14.5 – 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Of animal products, beef and lamb are to blame for half of those emissions. According to Peter Stevenson from Compassion in World Farming, “a reduction in meat consumption is essential if we are to meet climate targets.”
Transitioning towards a plant-based diet could reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70 percent, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. However, if you’re not ready to commit to a fully plant-based lifestyle, that’s ok! Any reduction in your animal products intake can reduce your carbon footprint. Even by participating in Meatless Mondays or simply reducing your animal product consumption overall, you can do yourself and the planet some good.
For example, the production of a half-pound beef burger releases as much greenhouse gas as a 3,000 pound car driving 10 miles. Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation! So, if you skip a burger just once a week and go for a plant-based alternative instead, that’s a great way to begin to reduce your environmental impact and total carbon footprint.
And don’t forget, this week is the Global Climate March! Go to https://350.org/global-climate-march/ to find out where a march is happening near you!