every year since 1970, april 22nd has been earth day. this year's is arguably the most important yet - as leaders of 160 countries sign the paris climate agreement, which aims to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees celsius & aid developing countries in their bid to tackle climate change.
as someone who grew up with a dad almost maniacally obsessed with recycling, reducing waste, switching lights off, avoiding taking the car if possible etc etc, i love earth day. and i love even more the increased attention & acclaim it gets every year.
but, as with almost all good causes, it lends itself to glaringly obvious hypocrisy. and it's hypocrisy which is often unintended - and due, in its entirety, to genuine & inadvertent ignorance. but, often, this ignorance is actively maintained and consciously engineered. while, to a certain extent, people are ignorant because the vital facts are cleverly hidden by the massive corporations that rule our planet & require the continued obedience of consumers like us, it's also a very daunting task to forcibly remove yourself from behind this blindfold.
and this is where the hypocrisy occurs. with very little effort or digging, and with the resources that - thanks to the internet age - are available within seconds at our fingertips at all times, the 'inconvenient truth' is instantly accessible.
with very little effort you would know that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions that the entire transport sector. eating meat & dairy is more harmful to our planet than every single vehicle on the roads or in the air combined.
with very little effort you would know that fracking water use ranges from 70-140 billion gallons annually, but that animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually.
with very little effort you would know that we are predicted to see fishless oceans by 2048.
with very little effort you would know that 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second.
this isn't going to turn into a lecture. if you wants the facts, they're available to you. but people don't want the facts. it's easier to post something on social media today saying 'happy earth day!!' than to consider what impact you personally actually have on the earth every day.
cue: more hypocrisy. how can we ever hope to genuinely care for our planet, if we can't care for the actual living creatures that inhabit it?
it's easy to be annoyed about seaworld. it's easy to cry 'inhumanity!' for those poor wretched whales. but if you're doing so while wearing a faceful of mac makeup then you're a hypocrite. and i don't like to call people out - but it's the truth. caring about the prolonged suffering of helpless innocent animals is only valid if you care about all the animals on our planet who spend their unnaturally shortened lives in captivity, against their will, suffering for the benefit of humans. if you care about tilikum - but only because doing so doesn't affect your ability to wear ruby woo - then your compassion is a pretentious lie.
i've now gone a week without milk or eggs, and a week short of 7 months without meat. in that time i haven't used any makeup or toiletries produced as a result of animal testing. i haven't bought any leather. i have found an ethical & carbon neutral supplier for my t-shirts. my house has taken delivery of yet another compost bin to further reduce our impact on the environment. and it's not because i wanna get to be smug, or because it's easy, or because i'm in any way superior - but simply because the weight of my own hypocrisy had become too much for me to bear.
in a world where you can break a £539 phone and have it replaced for free by your provider the next day, we have grown accustomed to the expendability of everything we own. but we do not own this planet. it doesn't come with a warranty or insurance. our species has become so dependent on the concept of dispensability that we seem to not grasp the fact that, once we have used the earth up, there is nothing more. there is no plan b.
“global warming, along with the cutting and burning of forests and other critical habitats, is causing the loss of living species at a level comparable to the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. that event was believed to have been caused by a giant asteroid. this time it is not an asteroid colliding with the earth and wreaking havoc: it is us.”
think about it