Die. That’s the best thing you can do for the planet right now, especially if you’re from the UK, where you have an average carbon footprint of 10 tonnes per year. If you’re having trouble visualising, check this out.
But what does that mean? Well according to a study by The Max Plank Institute for Meteorology, published in Science, one tonne of CO₂ contributes to three square meters of Arctic summer ice lost.
Once you’re dead, you can finally stop breathing. Not only does breathing produce CO₂, but it actually USES UP oxygen. You can also stop; driving cars, taking flights, leaving the TV in standby mode, buying cucumbers with the plastic on, and much more. So just die.
2. DON’T DIE
I hope you didn’t just act on my first piece of advice, because my second piece of advice is don’t die, whatever you do. Why, you ask? Well look no further than my A-level biology notes…
Look to the dead cow and you will see two possible outcomes of your death. Best case scenario, decomposers eat your body and respire your carbon into the atmosphere, bad. Worst case scenario, you get fossilised, your fossilised body turns into fossil fuels, and then BP come along to dig you up and burn you so your grandkids can play Fortnite, catastrophic.
3. Go vegan!
It takes around 15,000 litres of water to produce a kilogram of beef. What the fuck. Say you eat a 200 gram burger, that’s like 3000 litres. Imagine drinking 3000 litres of water in one sitting and not dying, that’s basically what you’re doing when you eat a burger. It would take you 5 years to finish that much water if you were drinking your recommended daily amount, and who’s really out here doing that?
4. Don’t go vegan
All the good avocados do for your serotonin levels is probably undone by the amount of depressed they make you as a result of their contribution towards the end of the world.
The Water Footprint Network claims that a single avocado requires 227 litres of water to grow, which is a lot when you compare it to other foods like apples, which require 68 litres, or tomatoes at only 12.5 litres. As a result, avocados are causing droughts in places like Chile, due to illegal farming methods¹.
Not only that, but where they are grown, avocados are a monocrop², this means the soil is weakened, and the crops become vulnerable to disease. This means pesticides are needed to continue growing them year upon year, and these chemicals eventually find their way into the water cycle. I don’t need to explain why this is bad.
So what’s the point?
I’ll tell you. The point is, saving the world is not your problem. While it’s good to do your bit, this really only serves to make you feel better. It’s up to our governments to stand up to multinational corporations, and force them to start abiding by stricter environmental regulations. Look at Bhutan, it’s actually in their constitution that 60% of their land should be covered by forest, so it’s no wonder they’re the world’s only carbon negative country.
It is also on our governments to direct public spending towards making greener ways of living more accessible to the poorest of us. When you are one of 1.3 million people living in Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar, you aren’t thinking about the polar bears when you’re burning coal to keep yourself warm, at a rate that ensures children living there have a lung capacity 40% smaller than that of their brothers and sisters in the countryside³.
All that aside, what if you simply would rather not give up your popcorn chicken and your next day delivery? With reports estimating “a high likelihood of human civilisation
coming to an end” by 2050⁴, why even bother? Why not just live our best lives for the next thirty years and go out in a ball of flames?
I don’t suggest you stop being conscious of your impact on your planet, but the reality is, unless you want to devote your life to the cause, you can’t do much by yourself.
Do continue sharing pictures of the Australian Wildfires, next to pictures of your trip to Thailand, because our hypocrisy has helped to raise over 140 million Australian Dollars (£72.3 million) in aid.
So in summary; take part in something bigger than yourself, because look what we can do when we band together, but what use is it when world leaders won’t acknowledge the threat our species poses to the planet? Or even worse just ignore it and carry on as usual.
Just enjoy life, and be a good person. That’s my conclusion. Don’t beat yourself up about the planet. Or anything actually. We’re all gonna get engulfed by the sun at some point anyway.
- Guardian article explaining the avocado drought
- Monocrop: The agricultural practice of growing a single crop year after year on the same land, Wikipedia
- A really interesting National Geographic article that expands on this issue
- Source: Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, Existential climate-related security risk
- Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
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