Climate Change And The Bleak Future For Our Children

Climate Change And The Bleak Future For Our Children

I would love to have children one day, but I have an increasing fear that my future children will be born into a world where extreme weather and food insecurity is the new norm.

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Spring break began for UF students on March 1, 2019, which prompted me and thousands of my peers to return to our homes for a week-long vacation. For me, my trip involved returning to my slice of paradise in Jupiter, Florida. While I have been home, I have visited some of my favorite places like Jupiter Beach and also, Miami Beach. While visiting these places has been both refreshing and relaxing, it has also reminded me of the stark situation we are facing—climate change.

While climate change is on the top of my list of worries for the world, it is easy to push out of my mind since, for most of the year, it is out of sight. However, being home has helped to foster a new fear in me—a fear for my future children. While my parents and I enjoyed a mostly unchanged Jupiter, in terms of climate at least, I have doubts that my future children will be able to say the same.

Unfortunately, we are in a new geological time period—the Anthropocene. Moreover, we are rapidly approaching the point of no return in terms of fixing our struggling, gasping earth. Global warming is estimated to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if we continue at our current pace. While this may not seem striking, this has the potential to bring about devastating effects on the planet and consequently, the human race.

Even more frightening, if you were born in 2000, you too will be around 30 years old when climate change is in full effect. If you are anything like me, this will be around the time you will be wanting to settle down and have children. For us family hopefuls, this means that our children will be living and dealing with the worst effects of climate change in their young adult years.

As a future parent, this is particularly devastating and saddening. I am also not given much hope due to the snail-like speed of policymakers. We continue to pollute and rape the earth with no pause. If there is money still to be made, unfortunately, business will run as usual.

This is putting our earth, my peers, and our future children, at risk for disaster. As I sit on the beach in my hometown, I think of the bleak future that exists for my unborn children.

However, I still have a sliver of hope that we humans will come to our senses and realize that there is no human race without earth—a place to call home. Climate change is not only putting us at risk but our unborn children at risk.

If you aren't enraged, you aren't listening. Our earth needs us more than ever.

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10 Reasons to Stop Eating Meat

Why adopting a plant-based diet can help save both you and the planet.
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I first gave up meat a little bit over two years ago as a three-week challenge to myself to see how I could help clean up my diet. At the time, I was in my "health-freak" phase, looking to adopt a diet that would best benefit my body. Only later, after I had decided to stay vegetarian (and later, vegan), did I begin to look into what my plant-based diet meant for the planet, not just for me. The more research I did, the more convinced I became that cutting meat out of my diet is one of, if not, the best decision I have ever made.

Here are some facts and statistics that I found shocking, inspiring, and incredibly interesting that helped me to make the switch away from meat and into a lifestyle that has the power to change and repair not only ourselves, but also our world.

1. Adopting a plant-based diet reduces your carbon footprint by 50 percent.

A recent UK study found that meat-eaters have nearly twice the carbon footprint as those who follow plant-based diets. Just by giving up meat and animal products you can slash your carbon footprint in half, an incredibly easy switch that has a huge impact on our environment.

2. Plant-based diets can prevent (and potentially reverse) chronic illness.

Plant based diets have been known to significant lower risks of (and even reverse) heart disease, the number one killer in the United States. It has also been known to reduce the risks of both strokes and cancer, two other major killers in the United States.

3. More than half of the water consumed in the United States is used for animal agriculture.

Did you know it takes 460 gallons of water just to produce one quarter pound hamburger? Or that a single gallon of milk requires a whopping 1,000 gallons of water to produce? It takes over 1,200 gallons of water just to produce an eight-ounce steak, which is the equivalent to showering for 10 hours straight. So if you're someone who's worried about the water crisis currently occurring in states such as California, then a plant-based diet might be for you.

4. Animal agriculture is responsible for 91 percent of Amazon deforestation.

Rainforests are being cut down constantly so that the land can be used for livestock production. As it is, livestock takes up about 45 percent of the earth's total land. Nearly half of U.S. land alone is used for animal agriculture.

5. Vegans use 1/18 of the land and 1/13 of the amount of water used by meat eaters.

An acre and a half of land can be used to produce either 375 pounds of meat OR 37,000 pounds of plant food. For a world facing global hunger and starvation, utilizing the land to produce the maximum amount of food possible not only benefits the human population as a whole, it just makes sense.

6. Livestock and animal agriculture are responsible for around 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions.

That's more than biomass burning, human sewage, atmospheric deposition and fossil fuel processes combined.


7. Going plant-based for a year can save more trees and forests than going paperless for a year.

On average it takes about 55 square feet of rainforest to produce one pound of beef. This calculates to around 45 to 55 trees. So going a a full year without beef would allow you to save around 3,432 trees, which is almost 404 times more than you would save going a year without paper.

8.Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, if every American dropped just ONE serving of chicken from their diet every week, it would be the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road. If everyone in America stopped eating meat at all for only one day a week (such as meatless Mondays), it would be the equivalent of taking a 5,000,000 cars off the road. And that's just America!

9. Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of species extinction.

More than 100 animals are lost every day to rainforest destruction, which is largely attributed to animal agriculture.

10. Adopting a plant-based diet helps reduce waste pollution.

Every minute in the United States, 7 MILLION pounds of waste and excrement are produced by animals raised for livestock. The average dairy farm (2,500 cows) actually produces the same amount of waste as a city with 41,000 residents. That's insane.

Cover Image Credit: Amber Locke

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This Company Is Cleaning The Planet Pound By Pound

There are tons of small steps that can be taken to decrease your impact on the planet.

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Recently, a movement to abandon plastic straws has taken the world by storm, it seems.

This comes as a response to the environmental problems raised by plastic items, such as straws, specifically pertaining to sea turtles.

Any step in the right direction is still productive and beneficial, and making a minor change such as this one can still contribute to a great ultimate result.

Some, however, are taking bigger steps and greater initiative to make changes that are directly visible.

4ocean, a company selling bracelets made from recycled materials, is making waves in the ocean cleanup crisis. Founded by Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulz, 4ocean's $20 bracelets fund the removal of one pound of trash from oceans and coastlines for each purchase made. An incredible 4,525,472 pounds of trash have been removed by 4ocean in under two years.

The bracelets come in varying colors, with varying backstories. The company takes on partnerships in order to make contributions to other ocean cleanup, marine life conservation, and environmental movements and funds.

4ocean could be a major player in maintaining our oceans and making the planet beautiful, and safe, again for all living beings. $20 may seem steep for one bracelet, but when you consider all of the good that will come just from that one purchase alone, it is absolutely worth it.

On a smaller scale, minor lifestyle changes can still make a difference, such as stopping the use of plastic straws and other items. We all have to start somewhere in this journey, and all that matters is that you start. Anything that benefits our planet and environment in any way is still a contribution, no matter how small.

Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Stop running water while brushing your teeth, and only turn the tap back on when needed. Wash laundry in cold water, and clean your dryer's lint regularly to make items dry faster. Take shorter showers.

Meatless Mondays, or any day of the week, are another great way to cut down on your negative impact on the world, and this is something I am specifically a big advocate of as a vegetarian. There is really no excuse to continue contributing to an industry that is so immensely harmful. Love burgers? The Impossible Burger is frighteningly realistic, and completely plant-based. Boca offers veggie burgers and"chik'n" patties, which will make you forget you aren't eating actual chicken. Even aside from these two options, there are tons of other products out there that will make the switch easy. If going full vegetarian or vegan is too much too fast, simply cut down on the amount of animal products you are consuming.

Or, if contributing to funds, charities, and businesses that are pushing for a healthier planet is more your speed right now, take that initiative. Make purchases from 4ocean, and other companies like it. If enough of us get on board, spread the word, and follow through, you never know what kind of beautiful results we might see.

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