The world is in trouble. There is currently more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there has been in the past 800,000 years, around 52 percent of the world’s wildlife has gone extinct in the past 40 years, and we’re being faced with the hard reality that both of these things are caused by our own daily actions. From deforestation to make way for cattle grazing or palm oil production, to rampant air and water pollution, the world’s delicate ecosystem has been thrown entirely off balance thanks to human action.
From our perspective, it can be easy to ignore that fact. Sure, we notice drastic changes in weather patterns and read reports about water scarcity and food security concerns – but we rarely stop to evaluate how our daily choices and actions might be influencing these things. Really, we’ve gotten quite good at separating out this “dark” side from everything we do in order to carry on polluting, destroying, and damaging the planet. But a recent image and fact shared by conservation photographer Paul Nicklen is sure to make you snap out of that blissful ignorance.
On Instagram, Nicklen writes,”99 percent of glaciers in the northern hemisphere are receding and many of these glaciers have shrunk to the point that they are on land only, adding no ice back into the marine ecosystem.”
You read that correctly, 99 percent – that is one, single percent away from 100, all receding due to rising global temperatures. Nicklen further explains that polar bears, seals, and walruses depend on this ice for survival as it provides them with ready access to fish, their primary food source. The polar bear pictured here is standing on a recently “calved” glacier, calving is a term used for the melting of a glacier, or what happens when massive chunks of ice separate from the main formation.
It can be easy to disassociate from this fact and image, thinking this is a problem that is far and above you – but in actuality, this rapid melting is happening because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, the majority of which are fueled by our food choices.
Animal agriculture is the single largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions and One Green Planet believes that our food system dominated by our appetite for meat and dairy is at the heart of our environmental crisis.
In addition to driving greenhouse gas emissions, this destructive industry currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources, and uses the majority of our freshwater stores. Additionally, this system causes rampant air and water pollution, land degradation, deforestation and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction. And yet, one in eight people still suffer from food scarcity.
It is One Green Planet’s view that our food choices have the power to heal our broken food system, give species a fighting chance for survival, and pave the way for a truly sustainable future. By choosing to eat more plant-based foods, you can drastically cut your carbon footprint and help to preserve the vital and delicate Artic ecosystem that so many species rely on.
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Image source: Paul Nicklen/Instagram