Fight climate change by changing your diet

The recent Australian apocalyptic bushfires shook the entire world, demanding the need for recognizing the severe concept of climate change, with a devastating impact on Australia, you and the whole world.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

With more than 370 million carbon dioxide emitted, 5.4 million hectares of land burnt (which is twice the size of Belgium), 1 billion animals already dead (with Koalas on the brink of extinction), almost 2000 homes destroyed and about 27 people died. The fires have spread to New Zealand, turning glaciers brown and even regions of South America.

While researching for stats and facts about the global impact, the bushfires have and personally visualizing the glaze of smog that covered the skies as Melbourne's air quality reach 'worst in the world' as bushfires continue to burn across Victoria, I felt genuinely petrified. What are we doing? Why are we living as though we have another planet to go to? Why do we wait for a disaster like this to happen to call it a CLIMATE EMERGENCY?

Smoke from the NSW bushfires reaches Melbourne's CBD Credit: Twitter/@helodare

As 7 billion occupants on this Earth, we need to work as a whole to overcome the issues of global warming and environmental destruction if we are going to leave this place worthwhile for our coming generation. Is this the kind of world you want to bring children into? However, I think as we are constantly evolving on the brim of innovations and creativity. At least, this is bringing us together as one to come up with solutions that will add value to the world and make a difference that is needed now.

Residents of Mallacoota in Victoria are evacuated by army personnel on January 3.

All of us aren't doctors or scientists, but all of us are consumers, and it isn't quantum physics to understand that our choices as consumers make a big difference. It is the only reason some products are successful, and some are fails.

The process of making a difference starts by knowing and understanding. The famous Cowspiracy documentary shed some wisdom on how animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. If you haven't already watched Cowspiracy, I highly recommend you to view it.

We understand the urgency of this situation and tend to take steps such as using re-usable plastic, consuming less fuel, driving bikes instead of cars, taking shorter showers, switching off the air-con when it's cold enough, composting, recycling, etc. but what we can do collectively as a group, which most people refrain from hearing is change our diet to plant-based.

Switching to a plant-based diet?

It takes a whole lot of water, millions of acres of fertile land to grow feed, that is often thousands of kilometres away and requires energy to produce and transport.

If animal agriculture is eliminated as a whole then, 34–76 gallons of water could be used effectively, 45% of land on Earth could be used to plant forests again, 51% of greenhouses gases caused by livestock and their byproducts would be extinguished, we could continue to have a fishful ocean and live guilt-free with more compassion towards one another.

Keeping all these factors in mind, we can approach a significant shift in our planet's climate, a change that will impact every living being on Earth and the coming generation. One step that everyone takes can have a substantial impact. One person CAN make a difference. Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, and 20 lbs CO2 equivalent.

Eat for the future in the present

Like I mentioned before, KNOW before you PRACTICE. Do you feel like you are not ready to go vegan or give up meat or milk completely? Reading the science behind why going Vegan is essential, and you won't be able to ignore the benefits your choice would have. Just like how we stop smoking because we think it risks our children’s' lives. We are at that stage with consuming meat, and your children are affected passively just like by the smoke from your cigarette but indirectly.

The truth about the connection between animal agriculture and climate change has long been hidden by environmental organizations whose main job is to preserve the environment. After watching this list of documentaries, you will think twice as a consumer while you're purchasing meat or milk or other animal products like leather, fur, silk etc. -

  • Cowspiracy - The Secret of Sustainability

  • The Game Changers

  • What The Health

  • Forks over Knives

Empower yourself with the truth. If you can't go plant-based completely, take baby steps. Try out the method suggested by Jonathan Safran Foer, who in his book We Are The Weather, proposes abstaining from animal products for the first two meals of the day, and in doing so, he calculates, save 1.3 metric tons of CO2e emissions per person per year (of the 7,516 million tons of CO2e emissions that the FAO estimates that livestock produces per year).

Every bite counts.

It's time we take responsibility for our actions. It is easy to stay outraged at our politicians for making particular decisions or not acting upon an emergency immediately. Still, we have to do what we are asking for - we need to make sacrifices of instant gratification for long-term welfare, health, and peace for the world.

It is so strange yet simple how a global crisis like Climate Change has so much to do with something so little as our eating habits.

A wallaby licks its burnt paws after escaping a bushfire near the township of Nana Glen in New South Wales in November 2019. WOLTER PEETERS/THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD VIA GETTY IMAGES

Climate change resulting in bushfires has been like a wake-up call, not only to Australia but the whole world. It is ignorant not to acknowledge that real problems are happening with global emission at a record high, with the sea levels changing and temperatures rising causing devastating heatwaves, unpredictable weather patterns, flooding, displacing communities and wiping out more species; all of which will impact life negatively in many ways including with food, water shortages, and health-impacting pollution levels. We know this already, though. It has been decades since we have known we have an issue that needs addressing.

Let's tackle this decarbonisation by choosing plant-based or nature-based options and reduce our carbon footprint. With the help of new innovations, we can all take a small step to restore harmony between us and the planet and kick climate-crisis in the butt today.


Your help matters.

Donate directly to the Australian Red Cross, providing relief and support for all those affected by the Australian bushfires.

By: Vishva Dave