How Does Your Diet Affect The Environment?

How Does Your Diet Affect The Environment?

Your diet has more impact on the environment than driving your car does.
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Not many people give much thought as to how their diet impacts the environment, the animals, and our future. And some people don't care at all. But it is a real problem as our diets are linked to the environment through the companies you fund and your personal emissions. By giving your money to the meat industry (not necessarily local farms, but factory farms), you're funding the depletion of our water sources and destruction of the environment with clearing of land and costs of production/transportation (supply and demand) and are therefore increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Decreasing or eliminating your funding to the company directly affects the damage done to the environment by cutting emissions (both industrial and personal) and deforestation.

Why change your diet?

Everyone has the ability to adjust their diet for the sake of our future and the future of the environment. We all live on this planet and we should all want to keep it sustainable. Limiting your meat intake can cut down GHG emissions significantly; imagine the positive effects if everyone were to do the same, in addition to those that would eliminate meats from their diet completely. From the chart shown here, you can see the carbon footprints based on one's diet; simply cutting down on meat consumption (typically red and processed meats) or cutting it out completely decreases your footprint by half!

Emissions from meat production are extremely high.

Meat products are the top food contributors to carbon emissions in comparison to plant foods. Currently, the animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of GHG emissions while livestock and their byproducts are responsible for 51 percent of GHG emissions. These emissions are expected to grow to a scary 80 percent by the year 2050, which would mean devastation for our planet and way of life. For more information, follow this link (which also contains information about the next two sections as well).

Less meat equals more water.

Meat production uses astonishing amounts of water annually that could be put to better use or could be conserved all together. Animal agriculture consumes between 34-76 trillion gallons of water annually. In the U.S., 80-90 percent of water consumed is by animal agriculture. The range for the production of beef is between 442-8000 gallons of water per one pound. The average daily water footprint based on diet goes as follows: Omnivorous diet-4000 gallons, Vegetarian diet-1200 gallons, Vegan diet-300 gallons.

Additional benefits.

Limiting or eliminating meat from your diet won't just benefit the environment, it will help you as well! Other benefits (personal and general) include: decreased risk or type II diabetes, cancer, and coronary heart disease, conservation of rain forests, animal life, and water, less water pollution, and a lower amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere.

I understand that this article will challenge your way of life, but that's the purpose of it. But remember, you weren't forced to read anything. All I'm asking is for you to understand that our future rests in our hands, and you have the ability to make a change every time you go to the grocery store and every time you sit down to eat.

Cover Image Credit: Choose Veg

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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