Beef and I have shared our final meal together, and I didn't even give it the opportunity to really "wow" me in our final encounter. Let the record show that my final consumption of beef came on November 1st, 2016, it was an ingredient in my 3 Delights Fried Rice that I picked up from a local Chinese restaurant. Beef has sang it's swan song as a part of my diet and I'm moving forward, head held high.
Giving up beef may seem like a no-brainer to the majority of you, but to fully understand what it means to me you need to take a moment and consider where I come from. In the state of Texas, barbecue is king. People are so obsessed with finding great barbecue that they will drive hundreds of kilometers on the weekend and in some cases stand in lines for hours just to try certain restaurants. My favorite NBA team does commercials promoting beef sold by a local supermarket chain. Beef has been a substantive part of my 28 years on this earth. So why I am deciding to give it up?
The answer to the question is pretty simple, I felt that I could do more. Do more to reduce my carbon footprint, for those who do not know cows represent about 65% of the total livestock sector's 7.1 Gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent each year (just under 10% of the total global GHG emissions). Do more to raise awareness of the climate related issues facing us today. Most importantly, do more to signify to others just how seriously I believe that we need to start changing things before we get to a point of no return.
I'm not asking you all to give up eating all meat, or even for you to give up eating beef (though a reduction in the beef consumption definitely wouldn't hurt you). I am simply asking that you take a step back, assess your day-to-day life and weekly habits and figure out what single habit you could do less of or give up all together in order to have a positive impact on the world around you. Perhaps you could carpool with a few coworkers one day a week, raise the temperature on the thermostat 1 to 2 degrees in summertime or upgrade your windows so your home is more energy efficient. You can even do something as small as cooking double the portion size of food and storing the leftovers so that you are using energy to cook half as often. All of these reductions may not seem like much, but when they are summed over hundreds of millions (or even billions) of people the impact can be immense.
Please do not make this change because I asked you to. Do it because you want to. Do it because deep down you know it is the right thing to do. Do it because if you are reading this post somewhere on the internet it means that you have access to electricity and thus are living in a better situation than around 1 BILLION people in the world today.
- Alex Stark
02 November 2016