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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

A daily protest

<r’s Earth Day passes, environmental activists walk away proud with a feeling of some accomplishment; “We’ve won today!” they think. Seeing so many people involved in something related to the environment can be really exciting for an environmental activist because it can be difficult to get people directly involved. Although most people do really care about the environment, it can be tough to find a way to constructively participate. And that is why Earth Day is such a great time to see people involved and talking about the environment, but alas, it is only one day. But I believe that through consuming food, we can protest every day.

Not only does food construct community, memories, and satiated appetites, eating it is one of the most intimate ways to reconnect to nature. All food comes from the soil and the sun, the product of nearly magical chemical interactions. But this interaction with the Earth can also be environmentally stressful. According to a study conducted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, “the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent than transport.” Food is therefore extremely important to consider when thinking about environmental issues.

Making changes in what one eats can make a huge difference in one’s personal carbon footprint. It is important to acknowledge that not everyone has a choice about what they can eat and that eradicating hunger in our society should of the highest priority, but for those who do have a choice, they can make a substantial difference in their carbon footprint. Never taking any transportation again in one’s life – no cars, boats, trains, or airplanes – would not make as much a difference as if one did not eat meat, dairy, or eggs again. Both are drastic lifestyle changes that few would be willing to make, but decreasing one’s intake of animal products in any capacity can be an easy way to make a big difference. It can be difficult to choose a more sustainable way to travel – paying for offsets when flying or deciding to drive home during spring break rather than flying – but committing to Meatless Monday will cost the same and not take several hours away from your day. It can be delicious too! Choosing to eat differently can act as a way to reaffirm one’s commitment to the environment everyday.

Not only can one diminish their carbon footprint through what they eat, one can spread awareness though their food choices. All vegetarians know that they will be immediately asked why they choose to eat as such after declaring their dietary preference. Although these interactions can be admittedly annoying and awkward at times for both parties, people tend to learn a little about how agriculture affects our planet during these interactions. Being a political eater for me and for many others is our way to protest quietly but powerfully. I can be a protester every day of the week through the food I choose to eat making everyday Earth Day.

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