I’m tempted to make this a full “we’re killing ourselves through our diet and our diet is killing our plant which is in turn going to kill us all off,” kind of post…but I’m just going to stick to us killing the planet for now.

Yesterday a UK article started circulating around Facebook titled We have 12 years to act on climate change before the world as we know it is lost. How much more urgent can it get? This article, by Will Gore and published on Independent, is written simple enough for us all to understand (as if the global warming crisis has not been easily understandable for decades now) and everyone seems to be in a bit of panic.

The article mentions that the rise in global temperature will cause flooding leading to a mass migration from areas that are no longer inhabitable and that “Coral reefs will vanish; many ancient trees will not survive; [and] extreme weather events will become even more common.” Gore goes on to discuss how one of the most powerful politicians right now, Donald Trump, is skeptical of global warming and believes it is a ploy from China… meanwhile China is at the top of the charts for producing CO2 emissions. Gore suggests that we can help as individuals, but is wondering if we are actually willing to. And I mean, he’s right.. Are we willing to make changes to sustain our planet so not only the younger generations but the generations to come are able to live comfortably… or even live at all? 

One of the main excuses I have seen for people to not make a change in their life to counteract the effects of global warming, is that we think we cannot make a difference as an individual. Excuse my language but, this is Bullshit italics, bold, capital B. The amount of influence we have over other people is insane, especially now with social media. But you don’t even need to go as far as becoming “instagram famous” to influence enough people to make a change. All you need to do is make a change in your life, and people will notice, ask about it, and if you have the facts to back it up… they’re likely to follow suit. So let me give you some facts you can spew at them.

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.”

– The Dalai Lama

We’ve all heard how we can carpool, walk, ride our bikes, and take public transportation to help reduce our carbon footprint… and yes, these are some things that we can change individually and quite easily to make an impact. But to be honest, these changes alone are not enough to save our planet at the rate that we are going.

So what can we do to really help save this incredible planet that provides us with everything we could ever need and are so fortunate to live on? Well, first off let’s talk about the main contributor to global warming… Anyone know what it is? Take a guess. Nope, it is not cars, planes, and trains. Guess again… Ahh, thats it… animal agriculture.

Host: Ding, ding, ding… we have a winner! The number one contributor to global warming isssss…ANIMAL AGRICULTURE! Animal agriculture, is there anyone you would like to thank for getting you this place today? I mean, you have made it to first place!

Animal Agriculture: I would like to thank everyone who buys and consumes burgers regularly! Oh and steak! And dairy! Even bacon!

No, but seriously guys, lets look at some facts:

  • The average meat-eating American consumes about 270 pounds of meat each year, this is about 37 cows!
  • Cows on average produce 154 to 264 pounds of CO2 per year…

Now that we have some stats let’s discuss a scenario. We’re going to use a real life situation for this one: my family.

My family is made up of seven people. Mom, Dad, five daughters. Get your calculators ready because here comes some math…

7 family members x average 37 cows consumed per year =

259 cows needed to feed my family each year

Ok, so now lets take those 259 cows and see how much CO2 they produce per year. We’ll go for the middle-ish number here to keep things simple…

259 cows x 200 lbs of CO2 =

51,800 lbs of CO2 produced each year by just my family alone

I know we were talking about how we can make a difference as individuals here and this is where it comes into my play: the influence we have over the people in our lives. My sister has been a vegetarian for a few years now and influenced me to become vegan. So my sister alone lowered our families contribution to CO2 emissions each year by about 14,800 lbs. In turn, together we have had an influence on the amount of meat our mom consumes and as head of grocery shopping in our household she no longer even buys beef, bringing our families contribution to CO2 emissions each year from animal agriculture down to, maybe, a few thousand (considering the rest of my family still consumes beef on occasion outside of the house).

Now, let’s keep in mind that this does not discuss the fact that meat from about 100 cows is used to make one burger, or that we consume a hell of a lot of dairy in America, or that the feces from pigs sit in piles on these factory farms rotting away and producing more CO2 as we consume our bacon for breakfast every morning without a care in the world, or that animal agriculture is also one of the main contributors to deforestation and guess what else is contributing to global warming..you’re right… deforestation!

If these facts are hard to follow at all here is a little visual created by Luke Jones to put it in perspective.

So how can you make a difference? In the perfect world we would love all creatures and not harm them, we would all follow a plant-based vegan diet. But I’m not saying thats what you have to do right this second (although that should be your goal). For now, you can start by decreasing the amount of animal products you consume. Or switch to a vegan diet yourself. And spread the word. Be an influencer.

Conclusion: Thinking that you, as an individual, cannot make a difference (in any matter, not just when it comes to global warming) is the biggest threat to the human species.

For more information check out http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts.