Vegetarians for Earth: Solving the Climate Crisis Starts With You

Ana Fernandez, News Editor

   As climate change continues to progress with catastrophic effects, people have turned to more sustainable lifestyles that will lower their carbon footprint.

   The journal “Climate Change: Global Sea Level” published by NOAA, reports that sea levels have risen eight to nine inches since 1880, and even with a low emission plan, the sea levels are expected to rise another 12 inches by the end of the century. The worst-case scenario, continuing with high emission rates, points out that the sea level is likely to rise a whole 8.2 feet compared to the levels at the start of the 21st century. Therefore, the reality that port cities will begin to sink every year becomes more prominent.

    People have begun to switch their diets, as one of the many solutions to solve the climate crisis is to lower the overall amount of meat that humans consume because it lowers an individual’s carbon footprint. 

   A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by anything from  individual humans to organizations and corporations.

  Greenhouse gases are emitted by ordinary processes necessary to keep society functioning, such as fuel for airplanes, trucks, or cars. These gases are fatal for the earth because they get trapped in the atmosphere and cause the temperature to rise. 

   A portion of emissions also come from chickens, cattle, sheep, and pigs –otherwise known as the live-stock sector. As the human population continuously increases, so does the demand for meat, which in turn produces more and more gases. This demand is unnatural in the sense that the human population was never meant to get to 7 billion, and so, the planet is not prepared to sustain all living things.

   The animal’s manure and gases released through enteric fermentation (a digestive process) increase the proportion of methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere: nefariously known greenhouse gases. According to “Livestock and Climate Change” by Animal Frontiers , “Methane, mainly produced by enteric fermentation and manure storage, is a gas which has an effect on global warming 28 times higher than carbon dioxide.”

   Further adding to the problem, cattle ranchers clear land and trees, taking away more oxygen-producing entities, and less oxygen increases the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere that fuels climate change.

   In order to maximize sustainability and eco-friendliness, people have begun making small changes to their diets. An individual change can make a huge impact. If humans were able to lower the greenhouse gases released by the food sector, it would be a crucial step forward to curbing climate change.