In just 2 months (on Saturday, September 8th) we are demanding that our elected officials take a stand for our environment now. A sustainable future is something we hear of often and want to create but we are not striving enough to create it. That window of time humanity has to reverse the effects of excess carbon dioxide emissions and plastic pollution is closing fast.
Change certainly does occur from the bottom up, but we don’t have time to wait around. Citizens need to press their representatives about doing what is in everyone’s favor and not for profits. And this is what we are rising up for… to ensure that the decisions we are making cohesively fit with a healthy environment, to ensure that policy changes happen immediately, to ensure people and justice are prioritized above profits, and to ensure that our humanity is becoming sustainable now. (Click any below image to enlarge.)
As we demand these actions take place, we also understand the incredible amount of work that goes into it. Learning what old habits are not good for the earth, putting the effort into teaching others, and working together to build an infrastructure that respects the earth’s natural cycles. The Global Climate Action Summit takes place the following week from September 12 through September 14, bringing leaders from across the globe to talk environmental politics. It is a new era in time!
Yesterday was World Environment Day and it was awesome to see how many more people are becoming eco-conscious. The environmental conversation is becoming more prominent. People want to learn more and they want to get involved. Days like yesterday are meant to invoke thoughts like how we treat our environment, what is our connection to it, and how can our everyday behavior help sustain it?
It’s actually not that easy to grasp and there’s an explanation for this. Environmental science encompasses several sciences. It includes studies of biology, chemistry, geology, physics, ecology, and many other natural sciences, their relationship to each other, and the larger schema they make up. It’s basically a lot to scientifically keep up with especially because the world is ever-changing in nature.
An important discussion in the environmental world (no pun intended) is collecting and analyzing data to interpret human behavior, the damage done to the environment, and how we can remediate that. One way that people can do that now is by Greening At the Local Level and calculating their ecological footprint. This is important because it allows you to understand which parts of your everyday life are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. The excess of greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere and cause climate change; a later domino effect of changes like food disparities, soil erosion (growing deserts), wildlife adapting to different habitats, and many, many others can be observed around the world.
Now, what is Earth Overshoot Day and how is it relevant? This is the day that our annual consumption demands exceed what the earth can regenerate in a year—within nature’s means.
Formerly known as Ecological Debt Day, the world’s average overshoot day is August 2nd which leaves us at a big deficit. For the rest of each year we are producing more greenhouse gases than the environment can cycle naturally. Every year the overshoot date may change depending on the consumption rates analyzed. See image below for earth overshoot dates in different parts of the world for 2018. This gives humanity a different perspective of the same concept. Making it easier to understand because not only can we relate it to our everyday lives but we can also draw the connection to how we’re responsible.
This year’s earth overshoot date is August 1st. So what are some things you can do to help the cause? The Global Footprint Network is taking a stand to #MoveTheDate. By encouraging people to make small changes in their everyday life, they’re also encouraging that we push the overshoot date back. With doing this, we allow nature to naturally cycle greenhouse gases without an overabundance and that helps the atmosphere from warming.
Some ways to get involved that seem minor but help greatly include:
a plant-based diet
collecting trash locally
talk to your representatives
What are some ways that you help prevent excess greenhouse gas emissions? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an Instagram feature! ✨
I get asked the same series of questions very often: How did you stop eating meat? Do you still eat fish or eggs? What else do you eat? Do you miss meat? Why did you stop eating meat? The list goes on… This article should serve as an answer to all of the questions I receive and hopefully it will also serve as encouragement to going meat-less.
First and foremost, I want to mention that everyone’s experience when transitioning to a new diet is unique. Each of our physical body’s has its own set of requirements to be satisfied and properly nourished. The difficulty can range for everyone and not every food alternative will work for your palette. With that said, food can be a very personal subject.
We have been conditioned to believe a mass-producing meat industry is normal. For meat eaters, there’s this perceived convenience due to what they actually can’t see. Some of these thought-provoking things include: filthy living conditions for livestock, overconsumption of fresh water, high methane emissions, etc. If more meat eaters were aware of the process it took to get meat onto their table, they would most likely source it differently or change their overall eating habits.
As if the blindfold we live behind isn’t bad enough… current trends of accessibility to meat enable society’s meat eating habits. Citizens have more purchasing power with meat as opposed to plant-based foods. It reminds me all too much of environmental justice situations where our economy and governing systems idle on the communities that need change the most. Like when low-income communities or communities of color experience contaminated water supplies or landfill placement in proximity to them.
So why did I stop consuming meat? I use social media oftentimes to express that my reasons are multifaceted and there really is no one simple answer. The reasons are numerous and their severity vary in intensity:
Majority of animals in the meat industry are given a lot of antibiotics and are sometimes even force-fed to make them gain weight.
Cows have to endure being impregnated by human intervention (rape if you ask me) to produce milk as well as having heir newborn calfs taken from them so humans may have milk. Other animals can be in cramped or confined conditions that oftentimes are not as clean as they need to be. Animal abuse should never be tolerated, especially before animals are sacrificed for meat.
Environmental effects (and climate change)
Producing meat is a large uses of our fresh water. From the amount of water animals need to survive, to the amount of water necessary in production of meat, and even down to the water in vegetation that more and more livestock animals need to eat.
Large livestock populations emit a large amount Methane from their excrement. Methane is more dangerous than Carbon Dioxide, allowing the atmosphere to heat quicker.
Big spaces of land are also turned into grasslands for livestock, this causes the environment to experience a loss of land that could provide for a more biologically diverse community.
In human’s history, meat was not an everyday delicacy. It was one that was recognized as a sacrifice of the earth and was ritualistic. Not only was it consumed way less frequently as it is now, portions were also not as big as they are now. The push for consumerism has taught us not to value the life of an animal to be quite frank.
Now, how did I stop eating meat? I honestly tried more than once to become a vegetarian and the first time, I relapsed. It was hard because I attempted to do it without any planning or prior research. But that attempt helped me to establish that I would no longer eat red meat (beef, lamb) or pork (pig).
To make it more of a successful experience, for my second attempt I transitioned slowly. In 2015, I began experiencing digestive issues and it was the perfect scenario to motivate me. Just as the human body takes time to heal, it takes time to adjust to new habits such as a diet change. I began eating chicken less frequently and intentionally looking for more alternatives to add to my diet. I found that: foods like mushrooms were tasty and provided awesome texture; vegetable mixes were underrated especially when you tried new ones together or made a homemade vegetable soup; and potatoes are filling plus can be eaten in many different ways. I stopped eating chicken too but I was still eating seafood.
I began limiting my seafood intake to only fish… and it difficult. Fish was my favorite of everything I was going to stop. So, just as I had done with chicken, I ate fish less and less frequently but also made sure I was adding to my alternative choices. At this time, I was already developing favorite snacks and meals.
Early this year, I completely stopped consuming dairy (milk, cheese) and eggs. Although I don’t have any inclination to drink milk and have been drinking alternatives for some time, I am extra careful when ordering drinks and reading ingredient labels. I have learned that reading labels becomes an art as a person with a vegan diet.
So the last and final question, do I miss meat?, and my answer is yes. There are times that I get an indirect craving for meat but it’s my body asking for something else nutrient wise . Earlier on, when I did give into temptation, meat simply tasted raw no matter how well cooked it was.
And now I can’t even stomach to smell meat being cooked. I hope this brought some insight and thought to you.
Here’s what I learned. Organic compost is made from food scraps, coffee grounds, soiled paper, and also leaf & yard waste. The process generally takes about 6 months, requiring a sheltered & enclosed space away from rodents (inevitable New York natives) and the elements but allowing for air to pass through. You can check to see if your compost is ready by taking a handful and putting it in air-tight bag. Smell the contents the next day and if it smells like ammonia, your compost is not ready. A good compost is thoroughly decomposed.
The reason for these efforts? Collecting organic compost recycles it completely and creates a mutualistic relationship between our trash & our sustainability needs as of lately. It also prevents it from entering landfills as trash. When organic matter finds itself there, it can produce methane as it decomposes which is more toxic to our atmosphere than CO2; adding to our greenhouse gas issue. You know, climate change.
I hope this encourage readers to think about their trash a bit more consciously. If you’re considering composting but just want to learn more, consider reaching out to the NYC Project Compost sites by clicking here. There are a few different ways to get involved no matter who you are… try it out!
I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a People’s Climate Movement of New York event today. The evening kicked off with PCM‘s very own Leslie Cagan speaking and opening the floor for what the rest of the event would be like. We heard from more speakers from various organizations that shared information about the following campaigns and their efforts: Climate Works for All, DivestNY, Fossil Fuel Infrastructure, National Legislation, NY Renews, and last, but not least, Puerto Rico Recovery.
The purpose of the event was to bring like minded individuals into a space where they can collaborate their efforts into where it’s needed most. Among some of the causes that were discussed today include:
Fracking and how it affects nearby communities.
Climate changes direct link to increased natural disasters.
The humanitarian and environmental crisis that Puerto Rico is currently experiencing.
Elizabeth Yeampierre, of UPROSE, elaborating on the crisis in Puerto Rico.
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James thanking the group and toasting to the collective good work as well as the work ahead.
I had such a good time connecting with people who share the same passions as myself. I was initially afraid of going because I’ve never sat down and discussed these kind of things just because. But more than ever it’s becoming an important conversation to have. Right now the conversation is among those organizing positive change but soon enough it will be a regular thing for everyone — because the environment is our counterpart.
I’m glad that I took a chance and encourage everyone to. If there is an effort listed here that you would like more information on, please let me know. I will be more than happy to guide my readers in the right direction of something that draws their interest.
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Soundview Park CleanupAugust 18, 2019 at 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Barretto Point Park CleanupAugust 24, 2019 at 11:00 am – 2:00 pm