When I look around at what’s going in on the world I feel powerless and depressed. I have to keep reminding myself things are not always what they seem, that I have more power than I think I do. Yet, it’s incredibly difficult. I want other people to tell me happy, optimistic things, but I’m realizing (yet again) I have to do that for myself. Environmental sustainability seems to have gone down the drain.
Yesterday, I saw pictorial evidence of how severe the drought and climate in California is.
Water and meat
Those pictures are startling. This is usually where I would tell you to stop watering your lawn or to turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth. However, only about 4 percent of California’s water footprint is individual, personal use. According to a 2012 Pacific Institute report, 93 percent of California’s water use goes to agriculture.
When I say “agriculture” I don’t mean lettuce. I’m talking about meat. OneGreenPlanet.Org wrote an article about this and cited studies from Cornell among others that found it takes 100 times more water to produce one pound of animal protein than one pound of grain protein.
I really hate talking about food choices because I was teased so mercilessly for being a vegetarian as a child. And I have an eating disorder so I’m really uncomfortable talking about food in general. However, if you are as scared looking at those drought pictures as I am, perhaps it’s time to get uncomfortable. According to the Environmental Working Group, if everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, it would be like not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
Of course, political action is also necessary, but cutting down meat consumption is something we as individuals have control over right now. And if you want to contribute even more, there’s a petition you can sign that urges the California legislature to reject any attempt to weaken, water down, or delay implementation of California’s best climate change law.
The things that give me hope about the environmental state of the world are that things like the People’s Climate March that happened last year, that some cities have banned plastic bags, and that the awareness about eating better has taken off. It’s a small thing, but I’ve also started blogging for Going2Natural.com, where I and others are writing about the small things we’re doing to save money and promote a more sustainable lifestyle.
This morning I woke up with the lyrics “Ooh child things are gonna get easier” stuck in my head. Maybe it’s the universe’s way of telling me things will get brighter but only if you and I take the necessary action steps. The Earth is crying out to us, asking us to take care of her. Will we heed that call?
This is an edited version of a post originally appearing on my personal blog, Another World is Probable in 2014.