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Letter: Eating less meat can help change the world

Want to change the world? Here’s how. It’s easier than you think. If you’re anything like me, you may be frustrated about how rapidly the environment is deteriorating. However, there is so much we can do that benefits our Earth, even when we feel like the power is out of our hands. It’s easy to feel like just one person can’t make a difference, but if everyone thought that all the time, we would not be where we are today with all the positive changes and progress that continues to occur. It all starts with just one person.

So you may be wondering, ‘What can I really do that will make a difference?’ Let’s take into account the water footprint that the average person has in just one day. It takes a lot of water to produce just 1 pound of beef. And by a lot, I mean 2,500 gallons. It’s hard to think about just how much water this is. Try to imagine a large table with 25 one-gallon containers of water on it. Even this number is a lot. 25 gallons is how much water it takes to produce 1 lpound of wheat. Now think of 100 of these tables. That’s​ how much water it takes to produce 1 pound of beef. Around CSU, there are numerous campaigns for being more environmentally friendly. In the showers of some of the residence halls, there are even posters reminding you to take a short shower to save water. Yet, you can actually save more water by not eating 1 pound of beef than you can by not showering for six months​. Cows are big animals, and big animals require lots of resources and produce lots of waste and greenhouse gases. 51 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to animal agriculture.

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With these statistics, we can probably start realizing that one person does make a difference. What one person does can set up the change for this world that we need to see in order to heal our environment. If you’re looking to reduce your meat consumption or cut out meat completely, Meatless Mondays are a great start. It’s very simple. Every Monday, you try your best to eat vegetarian for every meal. If every person in the United States ate no meat or cheese for just one day a week, it would have the same environmental benefit as taking 7.6 million cars off the road. We already learned that livestock and their byproducts produce a lot of carbon dioxide which contributes to greenhouse gases. By choosing not to eat animals and/or their secretions, we can make a conscious decision to better our Earth. It’s very easy to disconnect from these animals by looking at the packaged meat we see in grocery stores and not associating what we see as “food” as previously being a gentle, sentient being.

The reality of it is that they are exploited and abused. 98 percent of packaged meat comes from factory farms, where “farm” animals (cows, chickens, pigs, etc.) are crammed into small spaces and forced to live in unsanitary conditions. These animals suffer a miserable life and are killed in extremely inhumane ways. Not to mention, eating animal protein is not the best thing we can do for human health. For just one example, eggs contain high levels of cholesterol, pollutants, salmonella, carcinogens and many other harmful elements. Eggs lack antioxidant phytonutrients that plant foods such as fruits and vegetables contain. There are so many people on this Earth who live a full, thriving, healthy life from eating a plant-based diet.

With this information we can change the world. Animal agriculture causes species degradation and decreasing biodiversity, and if we want Earth to thrive and have an abundance of plants, beautiful landscapes, intriguing animals and everything else that makes nature so breathtaking, then we have to learn to coexist in a way that is evolutionarily advantageous for us as humans. In the long run, we cannot live in this way and continue depleting our Earth because this is the only one we have.

Letters can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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