I don’t know about y’all but it seems like now, more than ever, social media is less original posts and status updates and more “So-in-so and four others shared an article from CNN.” With the Coronavirus outbreak, I would predict that almost everyone’s screen time is up an hour or two (or maybe three or four). We’re getting updates thrown at us from every news source out there, reliable or not, and it seems like more and more people have shared different updates about their day-to-day quarantined lifestyle. I appreciate a good dose of social media — I’m a 23-year-old journalist, how could I not? But I think the best thing I’ve seen on social media this week is the appreciation of agriculture.
Yes, I know this column is supposed to be part five of The Vegan Diaries — and trust me, we’ll get there — but let’s take a moment to recognize how many people are publicly appreciating our farmers and ranchers. This past week, I saw people who I would’ve never thought agriculture was even on their radar share their gratitude for the ag industry. Between my personal Facebook friends, local news channels across the globe, and even Ellen DeGeneres, it’s almost as if people finally realized that we are one of (if not the most) essential industries. And here’s what I have to say about that: IT IS ABOUT DANG TIME.
If you’ve kept up with AvA from the beginning, you know that the topic I talk about and reference most frequently is climate change, specifically the false accusation that agriculture is destroying the planet via Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG). Over the weekend, there was a graphic floating around on Facebook and Instagram, both which I was tagged in countless times. Essentially, the graphic said: Non-essential travel is restricted, and more people are working from home, yet we have the same amount of cattle and our carbon footprint is decreasing.
This week’s Vegan Diaries update just so happened to be the week where I had planned to focus on carbon footprint. This seemingly newfound appreciation for agriculture and the realization that ‘hey, maybe it’s really *not* killing our planet’ couldn’t have come at a better time.
When I started AvA, I was dead set on getting my facts from un-biased, government funded organizations. If you’ve paid attention in the past could of updates, I added an update at the bottom with some fast facts about my experience on the vegan diet. Every week, I’ve ended the update with the same sentence, “I checked with the Environmental Protection Agency (aka the un-biased, government funded agency which focuses on combatting climate change) Carbon Footprint Calculator, guess what? My carbon emissions have yet to change.”
I’ve said made this sassy remark every week for one reason and one reason alone: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not take diet into effect when calculating carbon footprint.
Why, you ask, does the EPA not take diet into account? I’m glad you asked. There are two logical explanations behind this, the first being that it really doesn’t matter. Including my diet change, I was unable to calculate my carbon footprint with an unbiased, government funded source and had to resort to various third-party calculators. Every single one of these calculators gave me a different number while my factors stayed the same. I pose the question: if my numbers (energy used, miles traveled per week, number of domestic flights I’ve taken, etc.) was consistent throughout, shouldn’t my carbon footprint have been the same number all across the board?
Math doesn’t lie, but activists with an agenda do.
The other reason I believe the EPA does not take diet into account when calculating your carbon footprint is, put simply: a girl’s gotta eat.
Traveling to work? Honestly, I could walk, bike, or even ride a horse to reduce my carbon footprint.
Flying domestically? Yeah, it would take me about 17 extra hours to get back to Texas, but it would reduce my carbon footprint to drive instead of fly.
Domestic energy level? Heck, if I kept all my lights off and didn’t ever run my AC, do you know how much my carbon footprint would be reduced?
The bottom line is, the organizations that have the un-biased research to back them don’t care about whether I eat a salad for every meal or a steak because it really doesn’t matter.
I would be remised if I didn’t include what some of these websites gave me as my final carbon footprint result. Keep in mind, when figuring these numbers, I kept the time frame (a year) and my other variables the same and just checked the box that said “vegan,” when finding the difference. This is a comparable calculation.
- Mossy.earth gave me a 2.05 percent reduction for going vegan.
- Nature.org gave me a 12 percent reduction for going vegan.
- Conservation.org gave me a 9 percent reduction for going vegan.
- Footprintcalculator.org gave me a 1 percent reduction for going vegan.
- Coolclimate.berkeley.edu gave me a 4 percent reduction for going vegan. If I’m going to trust any of these third-party websites, it’s going to be this one because it is backed by university.
- EPA.gov gave me a 0 percent reduction for going vegan.
The bottom line here is this – I have been vegan for a month now, and yeah, it’s not been the best experience, my weight has fluctuated almost as much as my energy level, my hair is brittle, and I have an over-whelming desire to eat a burger or drink a glass of wine. But I am thankful for this experience because it did lead me to prove the one thing I’ve been arguing since August 2019: agriculture is not destroying the planet — agriculture is feeding it.
I know many of you are more than likely skeptical of this journey and have questions about the process. I would love to visit with any of you about this experiment and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (406) 259-4589.
To follow this journey in depth, subscribe to my YouTube channel, like the Activists vs. Agriculture Facebook page, and follow me on Instagram @mayzie_purviance.