To Do Something or Nothing: The decisions we face in a state of climate change

Animals are going extinct due to humans.

We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction wave in the past 65 billion years.

When we think of climate change, we imagine the concept as too large of an issue for us to waste our time dealing with. The reality is a lot of the decisions made daily by each and everyone of us heighten the problem extremely. Most of these decisions aren’t made with the awareness that we must always have in order to fix this growing problem.

Climate change is disastrous and impactful. We are all contributing to it. If you want to get informed, allow me: Based on research done by climate scientists at NASA, climate change occurs because of the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere constantly. These greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, etc., and they all “trap” heat.

There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than any other greenhouse gas. However, the effect of methane gas is 23 times higher than the effect CO2 has on the environment. The drastic effects of climate change are real and scary. Eventually it’ll be too hot to grow certain crops because of the droughts that’ll begin to occur. If the global temperature rises an additional 3.6°F, U.S. corn production is expected to decrease by 10 to 30 percent.

These things are only the beginning: natural disasters will get more extreme, animal populations will continue to die out, and countries will end up with extreme government spending due to the repairs needed for the destruction of these natural disasters. So what can we do? How are we all contributing? How do we stop it? Are you scared? I’m scared.

You might be surprised to know that a lot of these problems can be prevented by changing how you view your consumption of food. By no longer consuming meat, or at least reducing your intake of meat products, it would force the industry to adapt. By also eating more sustainable or seasonal foods, i.e. foods with less of a carbon-footprint or foods grown during season in your specific region, any consumer can help aid in the process.

Most methane gas is released during the process of meat production. Cows release about 100 kg of methane into the atmosphere a year. Livestock uses around 30% of the earth’s land surface and is a major contributor to the increase of deforestation. In the Amazon, already 70 percent of former forests have been turned over to grazing.

This leads to endangerment of species because of the destruction of their natural habitats. Bees are even dying at an alarming rate, because they’ve lost their habitats in the Southern U.S. and Europe. We can’t have bees dying, because they pollinate to help plants live and help crops thrive. Without plants or crops, we’d have a decline in oxygen.

Even then, according to Wired Online Magazine, the only thing that can save us from the sixth mass extinction is “systematic societal change”. Sure, a vegan lifestyle would be helpful, but at this point, we might be too late. Let’s face it, the meat industry is not going to shut down anytime soon, but any action is still better than no action.

Little steps can help, even if not on a world scale, and actively thinking about how our actions affect the planet on a greater scale is important.

The world is changing rapidly, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. But if we make changes and take accountability for our actions as a society, we might be able to make it more livable for generations to come.