You’re probably assuming this is going to be about animal agriculture. While that is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gasses and so a major cause of climate change, animal agriculture in itself is not the problem (although it does have many problems.)
The real underlying cause of climate change is our greed. We want everything as soon as possible and as easily as possible. We crave convenience and we crave it now. The Western world desires a wide selection of everything and the byproduct of this incessant greed is an excess of waste, an excess of pollution, a humanitarian crisis, deforestation, over-fishing, over-farming, and so much more. This incessant greed is the biggest cause of climate change. It’s everything that is wrong with society and the world.
When do we want it? Now!
With the rise of same-day delivery and the disposable nature of goods, the demand we are putting on companies to produce a lot and produce it quickly is wreaking havoc.
Fast production of goods usually means poor working conditions, poor materials and a whole lot of pollution. The fast fashion industry is producing so much pollution during manufacturing, maintenance and disposal that it is becoming an increasing threat to our world. Most things we order online then rack up more pollution during delivery and are also packed in plastic. When we mass buy products from the internet because we need something else to add to our ever-growing pile of trash we are unknowingly adding to the climate crisis.
** Tip: If you want to buy something online, wait until you are sure you can’t find it locally and then order a few things that you actually need at once, this way the number of deliveries is reduced and so is the packaging **
Overconsumption and the cause of climate change
One of the main reasons that animal agriculture is a big contributor to climate change is because it is done unsustainably. Our greed when it comes to consuming and buying food is driving companies to over-farm. We can not continue to consume this much meat or the world is literally going to die.
While we are putting increasing amounts of pressure on manufacturers to produce more we are also wasting more. From cheap dresses having an average life span of 5 weeks to the ridiculous amount of food we are wasting, we are simply producing too much waste for the earth to deal with. Landfills are becoming landfulls and waste is spilling out into our water sources and other environmental areas. Incorrectly composed food waste produces methane gas, and nutrients that could be recycled back into the ground are lost.
Reduce and Reuse
Recycling is a wonderful thing. It is helping to keep at least some waste out of landfill and used again. However, especially for plastic items, recycling is not endless. Plastic can be recycled a limited number of times before it breaks down into nanoparticles destined for oceans. On top of this, a lot of recyclable waste isn’t being recycled and is instead, going to landfill or being incinerated. Due to the convenience of recycling, we skip the first two steps of the famous reduce, reuse, recycle motto. We toss something into the recycling and think wow I’m saving the planet.
But, really we should be focusing on the first two and recycling should be the last stop. By reusing the products we already have we can reduce the amount we buy. We don’t need to buy new clothes all of the time. We don’t need the latest and greatest thing to come out. Reusing items that we already have not only saves money but also saves our environment.
By reducing how much we buy we are ultimately reducing the chain of pollution and climate change. Reducing demands on manufacturer means pollution during production is reduced. Not ordering as much cuts down transport pollution. Not throwing as much out means waste pollution is reduced.
If we really want to stop this climate crisis (and why wouldn’t we? Our lives depend on it) then we have to stop this greediness that is spreading through society. We have to become grateful and satisfied with what we already have. We have to be patient and creative to reuse our current belongings.