7.8 billion people. Not all of us have the resources, the money, or the time to go ahead and change the world. The problem, however, is that most of us don’t have the intent. Planting 10,000 trees or cleaning up rivers, this is what we tend to associate environmental work with. But the truth is that 80% of the world does not have the resources to do this, and 19 out of the remaining 20% does not want to do it. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to do it, because trees and cleanliness is not where the foundation of climate change is.
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Soon enough, climate change will be irreversible. This means that there is nothing anyone will be able to do to stop the world from coming to an end. But it’s not too late, not yet at least. So once again, the golden question - what can we do? Us high schoolers, people living hectic and stressful lives, do we even have time to think about climate change? I believe that we should stop trying to change our Earth. Cleaning it, purifying it, helping it breathe, all that can come later. First, we need to learn how to live with it. The Earth is but an ecosystem of millions of species, minerals, and phenomena, it has simply been overpowered by one particular species - us. If we begin to recognise what the world truly needs, we can begin thinking about climate change.
Being an environmentalist begins with you. Starting rallies, becoming an activist, conducting projects comes later, begin with yourself. If each one of us takes a step back and thinks about how we live, I’m certain nobody knows how to live in harmony with nature. Even I don’t, but the best we can do is try. The food we eat, the products and devices we use, the modes of transportation, everything contributes to our own footprint on the world. Yes, chemical and construction factories have a much larger impact than you having 3 cars at home, but before you even consider taking a step against factories, first acknowledge what impacts you have. Did you know that producing 1 pound of beef uses 1800 gallons of water, that is 90 showers worth of water. So you could stop eating beef for a month, or stop showering for an entire year, I don’t need to mention which option stinks less. And don’t feel too happy Indians who don’t eat beef, producing chicken uses 40 showers/pound too. Yes, leaving red meat is step one, and going vegetarian is even better, but becoming Vegan is the single greatest step an individual can take towards climate change. By switching from a meat lover to a vegan diet, one can reduce his/her carbon footprint by 50% straight.
Environmentalism is not a battle where we need to plant as many trees as possible, environmentalism is a game of making choices. Use a bike instead of a car, try road travel rather than air travel, use a fan instead of an air conditioner, eat locally produced and vegan food, make the right choice every steep of the way. Now consider this, 7.8 billion people, half of them end up reducing their carbon footprint by 50% - the results will be ridiculous. Before you go ahead making speeches on trying to save our planet and collecting funds to clean your local lake, or even before you start making changes in your household, make changes in yourself. Stop thinking about how you’ll save the planet, and learn to live with it.