OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE
In the words of Greta Thunberg, “Our house is on fire,” both literally and metaphorically. Writing this in October 2020, California is ablaze, with a record 3.9 million acres of land burned this year– an area greater than 10 times the size of London – and there are still 2 months of the year remaining.
The Amazon Rainforest is one of the most important areas of biodiversity on the planet. Well over 2 million acres of this tropical rainforest were destroyed in 2019, and this number is growing year on year. This vast majority of this destruction is caused by fires started deliberately to clear land for farming – most commonly cattle grazing and soy production for animal feed – with little regard for the environmental cost. Not only are the fires a direct contributor to global warming, releasing huge quantities of carbon, but they are also destroying biodiversity, threatening wildlife and contributing to the mass extinction of species. To those of us in Europe or even North America, the Amazon may seem a long way away, but our demand for cheap food is one of the main drivers of this deforestation. Our everyday choices have a direct impact on the environmental disaster occurring in the Amazon, and the easiest way to ensure you are not contributing to this disaster is to stop eating meat.
Another way in which we are literally burning our planet is by burning fossil fuels. When we extract fossil fuels, we are extracting carbon, and burning this carbon converts it into atmospheric carbon dioxide. We cannot afford to continue doing this; instead, we must pursue alternative, renewable energy sources; however, governments disincentivise this change by continuing to subsidise fossil fuel production. It may seem that there is little an individual can do, but by taking a few simple steps such as cutting down on travel – specifically flying and driving – and switching to a green energy supplier, you will reduce your personal carbon footprint and influence your friends and family to do the same.
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