Most world challenges we face are difficult to solve through individual action. However, there’s something each of us can do about climate change – and it begins at breakfast.

Every year, we learn that our scientific assumptions underestimate just how bad things are, and that the amount of time left to address this crisis is rapidly shrinking. 

The Amazon rainforest is on fire. Last month was the hottest on record. The first glacier has disappeared due to human activity. In India, a city the size of Manhattan just ran out of water. 

By the end of the summer, scientists estimate about 440 billion tons of ice will have melted or calved off Greenland’s giant ice sheet. That’s enough water to flood Pennsylvania about a foot deep.

Every year, we learn that our scientific assumptions underestimate just how bad things are, and that the amount of time left to address this crisis is rapidly shrinking. 

Most of the challenges we face around the world are difficult to solve through individual action. However, there’s something each of us can do about it. And it begins at breakfast.

You and me can collectively eat a plant-based diet two times a day or more, and effectively help solve our entire climate crisis, one bite at a time. 

Here are some stats to drive the point home:

  • 26% of our land globally is used to raise livestock, and 33% for growing feed. If we allowed this land to generate back into forest, we could offset up to half of all GHGs, and possibly all of them.
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 90% of deforestation in the Amazon. It’s also the leading cause of methane and nitrous oxide emissions.
  • Methane has 34 times the ability to trap heat in our atmosphere compared to CO2. Nitrous oxide has over 300 times that amount. 
  • Forests have more carbon stored in them than all of the known / discovered fossil fuels in the world. If we keep burning them down to grow cows/feed, it’ll be like burning all the oil/gas/coal in the ground, burning the planet up in the process.
  • If cows were a country, they’d be the 3rd largest carbon emitter behind China and the US.
  • Livestock also requires more refrigeration, which releases more fluorocarbons (thousands of times more global warming potential than CO2) into the air.
  • Rainforests normally store 200 tons of carbon per hectare. When you convert it to grassland to graze cows, its drops to 8. In contrast, when these forests are burned, they can release 200 tons of carbon per hectare.

It’s not enough to believe that climate change is real. You have to act on that belief, otherwise it’s not much different than those who deny it. Will future generations care if you believed, or took action to stop it? 

Changing your diet can feel intimidating so simply focus on eating sustainably for your next meal. And then try it again. 

Original source: https://www.forbes.com