Alex Heilmann: Help the climate by eating less meat

Published: 1/27/2020 9:07:11 AM
Modified: 1/27/2020 9:06:55 AM

The article “Confronting climate change” on Dec. 24 struck a chord for me and others because hopelessness is something that we all feel when hearing the constant news about nature’s decline.

When the Amazon rainforest was on fire a few months ago my friends and I all posted on social media in solidarity and some people donated money to help put out the fires, but I thought, “How will this prevent more fires in the future?”

I enjoyed John Howard’s take on this type of issue in the Jan. 14 Gazette, and I agree with his idea that individual and group actions can both have positive effects. One of the main individual actions that we can each take to have an impact on the Amazon and the climate is reconsidering our beef consumption.

It isn’t always talked about in mainstream media, but industrial beef production is one of the most environmentally damaging practices on Earth because of its involvement in methane release, deforestation and land and water use. The Amazon fires were largely caused by burning to create more grazing land for cows to supply beef to countries around the world, but mainly the U.S.

So, another important personal change everyone can make is to reduce their beef and meat consumption. The Amazon may seem far away, but our actions here can greatly affect it. Stores such as Stop and Shop (headquartered in Massachusetts) can be champions for the environment by pushing their supplier, Cargill, to end deforestation for their products. Cargill is one of the leading meat producers on Earth and is largely responsible for Amazon deforestation. As individuals in Massachusetts, we have the power collectively to influence Stop and Shop to clean up their supply chain and push Cargill to end their deforestation practices.

Global environmental solutions are not out of our reach; they can be influenced right in our backyards with our purchasing decisions and activism.

Alex Heilmann


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