Climate change is real and caused by human activities. Not only do 97% (or more) climate scientists agree, but even 62% of the American public agreed in a December 2018 survey, an increase of 10 points since March 2015.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in October 2018 warn that we have only 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe. At the same time, U.S. carbon emissions surged in 2018, and the Trump Administration has reversed or eliminated 78 environmental rules (and counting).
As Nathaniel Stinnett of the Environmental Voter Project notes: “To avert catastrophe, the climate movement needs to hit a grand slam on Election Day in 2020.”
The means voting in every election, but it also means being conspicuously visible in our own actions to reduce fossil fuel consumption, to, as climate scientist Peter Kalmus puts it: “live well and spark a climate revolution.”
What is the most effective action you can take? As Joseph Poore from the University of Oxford explains: “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.” Your diet also has the potential to be the most visible aspect of your life, especially in the age of Instagram.
Switching from a meat-based diet to a vegan diet overnight can be a difficult. A surprising number of foods are not vegan friendly. Chocolate, bread, and even wine may not be vegan. Even veggie burgers and non-dairy creamers may have hidden dairy. And even if you don’t worry about the hidden ingredients, it’s a major life change to completely convert your diet.
But you don’t have to do it all at once, and you don’t have to go whole hog (no pun intended). I’m a big proponent of the notion that we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. For a long time I was a vegetarian who occasionally ate fish because my husband likes to eat fish. I still thought of myself as a vegetarian, not a pescatarian; fish was not a large or essential part of my diet. But I wasn’t so strictly vegetarian as to make my husband’s life more difficult (he’s the family cook). Currently I’m a mostly vegan who eats pizza. It’s the one thing I haven’t managed to give up. And that’s okay. Eating a 95% vegan diet is better for the planet than a not-at-all vegan diet.
If you’re interested in trying to reduce your meat consumption, then join us for Meatless Monday, an international movement with a one message: “one day a week, cut the meat.” If you’re already vegetarian and interested in pushing yourself further, try doing vegan Mondays.
Remember the two goals: 1) reduce your consumption of meat and animal products; 2) do so visibly and conspicuously.
So cut the meat one day a week, and post about it on social media. Use the hashtag #MeatlessMonday, and let’s all have fun together! Post your successes, your challenges, your questions, your recipes. But most importantly, have FUN. No shaming and no harassing. We want everyone to join us, not to feel like they’re not welcome.
And if you’re a Democratic candidate at any level, we would LOVE to see you incorporate this into your campaigns.
We need to save the planet, and we need to do it quickly. Let’s take action and do it as loudly as possible!