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  • Writer's pictureArielle Kouyoumdjian

Climate Stories From Around the Globe: Eating for the Earth



For all the time we spend with food, we sure don’t know too much about its life beyond our plate. Where does our food come from? Where does it go? We’re just the middlemen in a ceaseless cycle of sustenance and spoil. Turns out, ⅓ of all food goes to waste (UN). The amount of greenhouse gasses produced by US food waste alone is equivalent to the emissions of 37 million cars! (USDA). This dilemma of decadence can be traced from the literal roots of food production–methane emitting crops and wasteful watering systems–to individual extravagance: Americans waste about one pound of food per person, daily. That’s enough to feed an extra 2 billion people annually (UN). Scientists believe that reducing food waste is the most impactful solution to the climate crisis, above green energy, vegetarianism, and reforestation. Below are two stories from climate-concerned teens, who've changed their eating habits to protect the planet.


Tastes Like Home

By Matt Brow, 18, VA

Starting on January 1st and for the foreseeable future, my family has committed to eat exclusively local food. We took on this challenge to (try to) mitigate our climate impact, and support local farmers and their more ethical farming practices. That looks like shopping at farmers markets, cow-shares, and deliveries from a local dairy. It is certainly difficult and more expensive but definitely worth it! Local food just tastes better, and it helps to know that the animals we eat are treated with dignity. This journey has forced us to be more conscious of the food we buy and consider what we really need vs. what we buy because it is conveniently placed at eye level on a supermarket shelf. No more Flamin Hot Cheetos Mac & Cheese for me!


I'm Vegetarian Because...

By Jack Morgan, 17, VA

I’m a vegetarian because the meat industry is killing the planet. Animal agriculture alone amounts to almost 20% of climate-warming emissions, more than cars, planes, trains, and ships combined. Beef production is the world’s leading cause of deforestation. 80% of the country’s farmland is used for meat production and feeding livestock. Over 150 BILLION TONS of water have been used in meat production this year, which I remind you hasn’t even been a MONTH yet at the time of writing this. By the end of the year, this stat is expected to be around 2,000 trillion tons of water. Almost 3 billion tons of CO2 from the meat industry have been emitted into the atmosphere over the past month as well. “Every four pounds of beef you eat contributes to as much global warming as flying from New York to London”

- The Guardian, 8 October 2019.

Do you see the problem? One person might not change the world by themself, but by being vegetarian, people see me, and people hear me, and I am making a difference. Even cutting only a portion of the meat from your diet can have a huge impact. Try to be conscious of your actions, because eating meat contributes to one of the world’s most destructive industries.

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Camille Kouyoumdjian
Camille Kouyoumdjian
05 may

This is so informative and interesting! Thank you for providing a platform for youth to discuss these important issues!😄

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