What are the tenets of your life?
What do you do to craft a life that feels complete and rewarding? Is your life about pursuing a career? Maintaining personal fitness? Having a bomb ass wardrobe and sense of style? Is being close with your family a top priority for you? Exploring the world or leading a start up company? I’m genuinely curious – this is different for everyone and I think it’s fascinating to think what aspects people strive to attend to, knowingly or not, on a daily basis in order to live that they are satisfied with.
Being 23 and all, my core values and goals change depending on what time of day you ask me, but I am proud to say at least a few of them are starting to establish themselves as concrete. To name a few: I like to lead a somewhat active lifestyle paired with relatively decent dietary habits; I try to balance quiet, personal time with enough social interaction to keep me sane; I do my best to be attentive and proactive to facilitate a stress-free lifestyle; I keep up with my family and close friends as often as I can, and I try everyday to make my occupation one that is enriching for both myself and the people it benefits.
But, recently, I felt like something was missing.
Then I realized – maybe I was focusing only on myself. Although I work to serve others, I don’t really voluntarily do anything to give back, or have a “cause” that I’m passionate about. And I think that’s something incredibly important, and often overlooked by my peers. Community service or philanthropy should be a tenet of a rewarding life, don’t you think?
Well, upon realizing this, it didn’t take long for my “cause” to come rain down over me (lol). In the days that followed, I started to see it everywhere, literally. It was climate change. That was something that, when I read headlines or articles or statistics or sat inside watching flash floods rip through my neighborhood, really stirred something on the inside. So I decided I had to do something about it. Join a local organization? Maybe find a service trip? Heck, trade in my car for an electric one?!
Well, sometimes making a positive change doesn’t always have to be drastic. Isn’t that great news! There are tons of ways you can do your part to help with the climate change issue, or just to benefit the planet if you’re not convinced by any of this climate nonsense. Sure, you can recycle, drive less, replace your light bulbs and turn off your lights when you’re not home. But one of the shockingly biggest things you can do? Stop eating beef.
Now, I’m not saying this is for everyone! But hear me out real quick, because the facts behind this are pretty outstanding, and worth informing yourself about. Here’s a few that stuck with me:
- The livestock sector produces about 15% of global greenhouse gases, roughly equivalent to all the exhaust emissions of every car, train, ship, and aircraft on the planet (like what?!). (source)
- The production phase of red meat contributes to 83% of the average US household's carbon footprint, per year. (source)
- The conversion of fossil fuels used to produce feed for a single cow comes out 284 gallons of oil per cow. Just a single cow! (source)
- The production of meat & dairy uses one-third of the world’s fresh water supply. (source)
- In fact, while the numbers may vary, it can take over 1,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. By far, that's the most for any sort of animal meat production. (source)
So you know what I'm up to these days? Oh, just being a pescatarian. And what better month to make a personal change than Earth Month, of course?!
Now, like I said, this isn’t for everyone. I rarely eat red meat so it’s not a tough thing for me to cut it out completely. But if everyone could eat maybe one less burger a week, studies show it could make a huge difference! Crazy how just one small act could contribute so much in the long run.
I’ve linked to a few different videos below that I found to be really informative on the topic, and if you have a few minutes, watch one! I highly recommend the Al Gore TED Talk, because as shocking as his is to listen to, there’s a crazy twist at the end. Spoiler: our climate change efforts are actually starting to show progress. WHAT!!!
- Al Gore: The case for optimism on climate change. TED Talks, February 2016.
- VICE: The True Cost of a Dollar Burger. HBO, March, 2016. (This isn't the actual video, just the trailer, but you can watch it now on HBO Go or On Demand.)
- The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers. Center for Investigative Reporting, 2012.
- Also, I heard this recent Oscar winner made some movie called Cowspiracy or something? Idk, but probably worth checking out if you've got the time ;)
And you know, if you just love red meat, and don’t believe all these crazy storm patterns and droughts and melting icebergs have any relevance whatsoever, then maybe you can find another cause! Something that you do anywhere from once a week, to once a year that benefits other, be it donating to a charity or standing up for someone who’s being bullied. Make it a point to think about others, or our society, or our world, at least every now and then. Because you might just be surprised how rewarding you will find it to be.