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How YOU Can Help Fight Climate Change

Global warming has become one of the most pressing issues of our time, and it is crucial that we take immediate action to mitigate its effects. Much of today's global warming is caused by the fossil fuel industry. Big corporations and legislation rule the world, making it feel like the small things we do like forgoing plastic bags at the grocery store or using metal straws don't make an impact. I, for one, feel discouraged when I hear the statistics on greenhouse gasses. The fossil fuel industry is responsible for 75% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and 90% responsible for the world's total carbon dioxide emissions. So what can we Arkansas residents do to reduce climate change apart from the unrealistic ideas of changing legislation? Well, it's simple, lower your consumption of meat or stop eating it altogether. . While there are various ways to combat this problem, one effective step individuals can take is cutting out meat from their diets.

I am sure you are wondering how this has any effect on global warming. The meat industry is responsible for 15% of global gross house gas emission, more than all transportation combined. This is due to the large amount of deforestation, and methane gas produced by the meat industry. Methane gas is released by cows as a bi-product ofto digestion, while deforestation comes as a downside to the large amount of clear land needed to raise livestock. The production of meat requires vast amounts of resources in order to feed the animals. Lilivestock produces methane through the process of digestion, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to global warming.

Plant-based diets have been proven to have a lower carbon footprint compared to meat-based ones. A study published in the journal Science found that if everyone adopted a vegetarian diet by 2050, global greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by up to 70%. Additional studies have shown that if everyone in the United States lowered their meat consumption by only 25% then the global greenhouse gas emissions would go down by 1%. If everyone in the United States just forwent meat one meal a week, then it would be the same as taking 550,000 cars off the road. If we come together to lower our consumption, we can make a big impact on the planet.

Lowering your consumption of meat not only has effects on the planet but, it also has many beneficial health effects. Eating less meat has been found to decrease the chances of developing certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease or lung disease. Meat has been found to be very inflammatory, causing many problems. Many people worry about having a lack of nutrition from abstaining from meat. Many plant based meals have the same if not more nutrients that you would be getting from eating a meat based meal.

Moreover, cutting out meat not only benefits the environment but also improves human health. Plant-based diets are associated with lower risks of heart disease, obesity, and certain types of cancer. They are rich in essential nutrients and fiber, while being low in saturated fats.

In conclusion, cutting out or reducing meat consumption is an effective way individuals can contribute towards mitigating global warming. By doing so, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock industry while improving our own health. It is imperative that we embrace sustainable dietary choices for the sake of our planet's future generations.

Ava McGee

12th Grade, Bentonville High School

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