Marching isn’t enough. Go vegan.


Anna Levine

If you really want to make a change, adjusting your diet is just as important as creating a great sign.

Anna Cowden, Online Copyeditor

Your perfectly crafted “anti-Trump, but pro-environment” pun you pasted on your poster board is not enough. It will garner support from other supporters, and it might even receive a laugh or two if your punchline against the government is especially witty. But it is not enough.

You are idealists, believing protesting will mark true change. You wish for a healthy environment for future Americans, free of climate change and a government willing to protect it with strong regulations.

However, it’s imperative to note that the majority of these idealist protesters, while mostly altruistic and well-intentioned, are nothing short of mere hypocrites. While holding signs in Macken Park encouraging the government to implement more environmentally friendly policies will spur some conversation about the crippling state of the environment, this isn’t enough in terms of drastically limiting the scale of climate change.

Going vegan will.

Limiting the amount of animal products consumed can greatly slow down the rate of climate change. A study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concluded that animal agriculture takes the bill for the top cause of climate change. Animal agriculture is directly responsible for a quarter of all global greenhouse emissions, releasing dangerously large amounts of nitrous oxide and methane.

While reducing water through actions such as cutting shower time from ten minutes to five minutes does save a good portion of water, it doesn’t come close to the amount of water saved from opting for a veggie burger instead of a Big Mac. It takes 660 gallons of water to produce a hamburger.  To put that statistic in perspective, the average American uses roughly 17 gallons of water per eight minute shower. It would take a 5.2 hour shower to reach the same gallons of water used to produce one hamburger.

Animal agriculture is also a chief cause of deforestation. As animal products increase in demand in Latin America, Brazil has lost an area three fourths the size of Texas due to cattle ranching. Farm animals and animal production facilities cover one-third of the planet’s land surface, using more than two-thirds of all available agricultural land including the land used to grow feed crops.

As glaciers continue to retreat, sea levels rise, hurricanes and other extreme weather events occur more frequently and species such as penguins and polar bears struggle to survive, it’s our duty as global citizens to make adjustments to our eating habits. If you want to be on the right side of history, make the switch to a plant-based lifestyle as these trends continue.  

I’m not saying you shouldn’t attend the march. But if this march is your top action in combating climate change, then your actions aren’t doing enough to affect the ripples of change for our planet.

Your actions are greater than words sprawled on a poster. Take the same tenacity and passion you show in taking part of the Science March on Saturday about “saving the planet” and apply it to your diet. It doesn’t just have to be the government making adjustments for hefty environmental regulations to help the planet. If you are willing enough to call out our government for weak environmental regulations, then you should be willing to adjust your eating habits.