“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”
-Cree Native American Proverb
One of my English teachers has a poster with this quote in her room, and I have never really understood its meaning until recently. I realized that so much of what humans do is for money, that we don’t even realize we are destroying the world around us. From a young age, we are taught to want to be successful and make money, making us forget other things that matter too; how many of you aspire (or aspired) to be rich and famous as opposed to being someone who saves the environment. This Cree proverb tells us to live in balance with nature or the consequences will be severe. Cutting meat out of your diet is the best way to live in balance with nature. Deforestation in Brazil accounts for 75% of their greenhouse gas emissions, a very large number seeing as Brazil is the worlds 4th biggest greenhouse gas emitter. From 1996-2006, Brazil cleared 10 million hectares of rainforest, about the size of Portugal, and 80% of the rainforest cleared was for cattle farming. So how do you stop cattle farming, and therefor deforestation? Simple- stop eating beef. Rivers being polluted (poisoned) is also a huge issue in the world, as there are some pollutants that just can’t be filtered. Most rivers are polluted by farm runoff, which happens when cows poop and it rains, the rain sending all sorts of pollutants rushing into the river nearby. The river could very well be the same river that the town downstream gets their water from. Again, stopping the cattle farming producing the farm runoff is easy to do; all you have to do is stop eating beef. Fishing seems to be harmless to most people, after all the ocean is so huge you can’t possibly fish everything out of it. This thought is false however, as trawling is killing out fish faster than we could ever expect. By 2050, 90% of the species of fish we eat will be extinct, plus other species of plant or animal killed by the destructive nature of trawling. Like I said before, the easiest way to stop trawling is to cut fish out of your diet.
The situation in the proverb is happening faster than we think, every day we pollute more rivers, clear more acres of rainforest, and trawl more fish. The way to stop this is simple however, just stop eating meat.