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The art of lamenting is taught reasonably early, from school texts to social interaction; we have adapted ourselves to mourn and grieve losses, personal and otherwise. Our impotent laments grow louder when the loss compensates us with the fulfilment of a personal want, including but not limited to the lives of thousands of powerless animals. As a species, we seem to have largely accepted our approaching doom as a consequence of the detrimental human impact on the planet. We discuss conservation tactics and debate on social conflicts with neighbours but make few conscious efforts to back our heated arguments up with viable personal goals. But it is far less convenient to alter one’s own wasteful habits and lifestyles and make a actual positive global change one person at a time than simply complain and call out and expect our arguments to persuade somebody else to start.
An astounding 2,000 species are susceptible to extinction every year, as climate change and global warming accelerates what was earlier a naturally gradual process. Chain reactions begin on small scales — every individual’s carbon footprint contributes to the making of a global epidemic. By persuading ourselves to make minute changes to our lifestyles, we have already become successful participants in the movement towards slowing down the sixth extinction. The United States alone has had a 500% increase in vegan diet followers since 2014 , and approximately 400 million animals were saved from slaughter as a result — resulting in the construction of larger grazing areas and greener plots than industrial slaughterhouses for relocating the animals. The global meat industry produces 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions, one of the biggest contributors to environmental destruction. It is certainly difficult to make sudden changes to a stable lifestyle such that conservation happens with great magnitude. But the small steps themselves can lead to a larger change.
Every consumer makes a difference, and when one person decides to stop consuming meat and promotes the vegetarian lifestyle, the unethical and dishonest meat industry without a doubt faces a drop in sale statistics. When a group of people stop purchasing ivory souvenirs and decor, retailers start to worry about a decline in ivory sales, thereby shifting hunters out of their illegal activities, sparing thousands of innocent elephants’ lives on a daily basis. When a country’s collective purchase of bovine leather and other animal-derived materials declines, and consumers become actively aware of animal cruelty, clothing industries are forced to become cruelty-free. As a result of persistent protests and increasing awareness among the youth, Gucci, along with leading market giants such as Armani and Calvin Klein, has committed itself to stop using fur. Breaking the fur industry not only saves animals but saves Earth’s rivers from being polluted with over 1,000 tons of phosphorus used to clean feces from fur annually, as researched by PETA . The ripple effect among the consuming youth is stronger in the 21st Century and so with the full capability to inflict change, why not begin with a small step to sustain a global home for ourselves and the future of humanity?
If statistics are not persuasive enough, you may find it disturbing to learn that know young rabbits are electrocuted to death for fur. Or that with every carton of eggs purchased you unknowingly promote and fund chick-culling , a regular but little-publicised process within the egg industry. Newly hatched and deemed useless male chicks are thrown alive into machines, chirping in suffering, which grind their little bodies into a slush of organs and bone. Over 6 million chicks are brutally massacred every year by the global egg industry for people to enjoy an omelette for breakfast when they have healthier, cruelty-free alternatives. The poultry industries still chop beaks off conscious chickens and slit their throats even as they thrash and flail helplessly. The rising consumption of sushi and fish has led to overfishing, marine habitat destruction, and the extinction of endangered and beloved marine animals.
We must unlearn society’s callous consumption habits and tell ourselves that there is no difference between the animals on our plates and those we keep as pets. Check product labels for animal testing, and study a company’s ethical reputation before making a purchase. We are fully capable of feeling empathy and making conscious efforts to research and understand ways to save ourselves and nature before it really is too late. The existence of these creatures is necessary to sustain our global ecology, climate, and ultimately our own survival and we must stop promoting their extinction through exploitation for luxury.
By changing yourself you set off a change in the world, and we must tear apart the mentality that we as individuals cannot do enough.