Mauritius: Climate crisis - Why I think it's time for change

We are in a global pandemic and in a climate and ecological crisis. People are dying, animals are dying and ecosystems are collapsing.

Despite everything that's going on, we humans have turned a blind eye to everything. We continue like before refusing to change, all because of our materialistic and consumptive way of living. When we rip forests apart and capture billions of animals to feed our insatiable appetite for flesh and false cures, we bring viruses like the Covid-19 out of their natural quarantine. Over 2.7 million people have died of the Covid-19 virus, and yet people continue to travel the world without a mask. We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, and yet we continue to burn fossil fuels at unimaginable rates. Everyday about 150 to 200 species go extinct, and yet Jair Bolsanaro cares more about his personal net worth than the dying animals in the Amazonian rainforests. Our planet is headed for disaster but if we act now we can yet put it right.

There are times when I encounter some people who do not believe in climate change. In all honesty, I do sometimes understand why they do not, because if it was really as bad as the science was describing it to be, then that's all you would be hearing about, on the news, radios, newspapers, like there was a world war going on. But we do not. For the past year, the coronavirus has been making all the headlines, although I totally agree that everyone must be made aware of this dangerous and contagious virus, we must also remember and recognise the fact that we are in a climate crisis."While the coronavirus pandemic and climate change are inherently different issues, they share two important characteristics: both are global crises that threaten the lives of millions of people." - Greta Thunberg. The simple message that I am trying to spread across, is that we must be constantly talking about climate change until we get people to act.

There are a lot of causes to climate change, however there is one major cause that we are not talking about, industrial farming. Industrial farming is the rearing of farm animals, such as poultry, pigs or cattle using highly intensive methods. The living conditions of these animals in factory farms are abhorrent and abysmal. Here's the life of a modern calf in an industrial farm. Immediately after birth the calf is separated from its mother and locked inside a tiny cage not much bigger than the calf's own body and never seeing the sun. There, the calf spends its entire life, lasting about only four months on average. The first time the calf has a chance to walk, stretch its muscles, and touch other calves is on the way to the slaughter house. In evolutionary terms cattle represent one of the most successful animal species to ever exist. At the same time they are some of the most miserable animals on the planet.

Industrial-scale cattle ranching and soybean production are the leading causes to deforestation in the Amazon. However, in an interview, Lindsey Allen, the executive director of 'Rainforest Action Network' was questioned about the leading causes of Amazon destruction, she answered, "human intervention", and when she was asked to be more specific and provide a detailed answer, she got defensive and replied, "I don't necessarily know what it is". Could the executive director of one of the world's largest rainforests protection groups honestly not know what is going on, or even worse are they hiding it on purpose? And if so why? If you visit their website, the key issues they focus on are palm oil, pulp and paper, coal and tar sands. Why are they not focusing on cattle-ranching at all? Why are no environmental organisations doing anything about it? There have been people/activists who have spoken candidly against the destruction of rainforests and cattle-ranching.

For instance, Sister Dorothy Stang. She was a US born nun living in the heart of the brazilian rainforests and her life's work was to protect the Amazon. Walking back home one night, she was brutally gun down at point blank range by hired gunmen from a cattle industry. In other words she was killed for speaking out about cattle-ranching. Over 1,100 activists have been killed in the last twenty years in Brazil. The Greenpeace organisation has refused to give a statement or anything on this matter and remain silent. The environmental community is no longer a 'community', but a confederacy of fake and pretentious organisations which are covertly being funded by the very people whom they criticise. Lets not forget the "small detail" of the very trees we cut down are the same ones that recycle our breath...

OUR REFUSAL TO ACT

Green capitalism, a term that not everyone is familiar with. Green capitalism is the practice of a free-market economy in which natural resources are regarded as capital and profits are partially dependent on environmental protection and sustainability. An example of green capitalism is the McNeil Biomass Power plant. This power plant burns trees to create energy. The energy is then sold to numerous companies, who then describe themselves as 'green' or 'eco-friendly'. The McNeil Biomass Power plant claims that they are burning forest residue, when in reality they are the ones cutting down the trees, about 400,000 annually. Most people would believe that this method of creating energy would reduce our carbon emissions.

However, these biomass factories emit over 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This way of creating energy is evidently not the way forward because if we cut down all the trees in America it would create enough electricity for only a year. When we cut trees down, not only does our air quality worsen but also hundreds of thousands of animals lose their homes.

Another example is local this company sells bottles of water made out of biodegradable plastic for Rs 35. This bottle is made out of plants. For some reason, the exact details of the manufacturing of this bottle has not been published anywhere. This is probably the best example of green capitalism, because this company is convincing people that by buying their bottles of water, they are saving the planet. However, If we actually wanted to do something impactful for this planet, we would use our own reusable bottles, and not singleuse bottles that take hundreds and hundreds of resources to make. Water must be accessible to everyone so we shouldn't have to pay companies Rs 35 to put water into a biodegradable plastic bottle when we ourselves can buy a reusable bottle which can last us a lifetime. To be able to combat climate change, we must move away from being dependent to self reliant.

Today, we live in a world where we are all aware of everything that is going on. But we still refuse to act upon the issues which are threatening our very existence. We are aware that animal agriculture is responsible for more than half of the world wide greenhouse gas emissions and yet we continue to buy meat and dairy pro- ducts. We are aware that burning fossil fuels is affecting the air we breath, and yet we continue to travel in vehicles run by petrol. We are aware that our democracy is slowly falling apart, and yet we continue to vote for egocentric and incompetent leaders.

This is what we call cognitive dissonance, the mental discomfort created by holding more than one conflicting belief at once. This is how our brain is stopping us from taking climate change seriously. "Action on climate change has been stymied by politics, lobbying energy companies and the natural pace of scientific research - but one of the most significant barriers is our own minds." Our minds have led us to think in certain ways, to believe certain things. For instance, why do we think that it is okay to eat cows, chickens and pigs but not our pet dog or cat? Is it because of the way these animals look? Or is it because a dog is considered 'cute' and a pig is considered 'ugly' so that means that it is okay to eat a pig and not a dog? These are all questions we need to ask ourselves. We need to have the ability to second think everything we see and hear. We need to be accepting of the harsh reality of today's world. We simply need to have a mind of our own and not think like a sheep.

Veganism is one of the many solutions to combat climate change. The term 'veganism' interprets a way of living that refrains from consuming animal products. In addition, it isn't about being perfect but it is about causing the least amount of harm possible to animals. In my view, veganism is the way forward because by not eating meat and dairy products we are reducing our carbon emissions, we are saving forests from being cut down, and we are saving the lives of many innocent animals.

To put it into context if everyone in the US stopped eating meat for just one day we could prevent 1.2 million tons of CO2, 3 million tons of soil erosion, almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, and 4.5 million tons of animal excrement. In addition we could save 70 million gallons of gas, 100 billion gallons of water, 1.5 million pounds of crops Seems low??, and 3 million acres of land. By being vegan we would have an incredibly positive environmental impact on the planet as we are reducing our carbon footprint by up to 73 per cent. Not only would veganism help solve the climate crisis but we would also be improving our health. It has been scientifically proven that humans do not need to consume meat as there are examples of vegans such as Venus Williams (tennis player), or Jane Goodwal (English primatologist) who have led completely normal lives without meat or dairy products.

There is a real problem with how we automatically associate cows with milk. In truth all mammals produce milk and the only purpose of that milk is to feed their babies. Cows only produce milk when they are pregnant and nursing. The only way that we humans obtain their milk is by taking their babies away from them after we have forcibly impregnated them. The dairy industry is an extremely awful place full of suffering and cruelty where cows are locked up in cages and tortured from day to night. We humans keep plunging into new depths of venality and inhumanity, and my only question is how much longer are we going to continue like this?

Globalisation is a word that everyone has heard of at least once or twice before. The term globalisation signifies when many countries around the world rely on only one country for certain resources and goods, making that one country have more control and power over the world. There are different types of globalisation such as political, economic, and social. One major factor in globalisation is importation and exportation. China is the largest exporter in the world and has the largest number of dominant industries that manufacture products and materials for exportation. The most prominent goods from China are electronics involving data processing technologies, as well as textiles including clothing, optical gear, and also medical equipment. However, there is a big problem when we export or import products from other countries, it is the carbon footprint we are leaving on this planet.

The amount of air and water pollution caused by airplanes and ships which are transporting goods is above and beyond shocking. This is why we need to move away from being dependent to self-reliant. We should not depend on certain countries and companies for literally everything. We must learn to depend on ourselves for simple things. We must create communities where we support our local farmers and our local businesses. This is what we call localization, and this is the way forward. Instead of going to supermarkets to buy vegetables which are being imported from foreign countries, we should buy vegetables from our local farmers who are just a few steps away from our homes or even bet- ter if we have the resources we could plant our own fruits and vegetables in our backyards. Mauritius is considered an independent country and yet we depend on India and China for almost all our resources. 'Let's think local, support local, buy local.' 'Think locally and act globally'.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected each and every one of us, either in a direct or indirect way. It came a period of time when the whole world was under lockdown. This gave us time to think, to reflect on our way of living and how it is destroying our one and only planet. Supermarkets were closed, 'la boutique chinois' was closed, so this allowed us to learn to fend for ourselves, we learnt to grow vegetables in our gardens, we learnt how to cook and bake, and we learnt so many other things. We could hear the birds singing again, the air was cleaner and fresher, everything seemed to be falling back into place very quickly. So maybe we could look at this pandemic from a different aspect, a more positive point of view. In my opinion, our unethical and unsustainable way of farming is breeding pandemics such as this one. We need to use the short time we have on this planet to create the change needed to prevent future pandemics.

The older people say that they love their children with all their heart and yet they are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. The older people usually say that we owe it to the younger people to give them hope, but we do not want you to be hopeful. We want you to panic. Children all around the world are sacrificing their education to spend their days protesting for a future and yet world leaders and corporations care more about investing in oil companies and bailing out big banks. We need to start prioritizing the environment over the economy and people over profit. I am confused why I am still going to school and working up towards a future.

I am not even sure of having. Why should I go to school and learn about facts when facts quite evidently do not matter in this society. Today we use about 100 000 000 barrels of oil every day. We are leading ourselves towards the extinction of the human kind. However, there are no politics to change that. So we cannot save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed, everything has to change and it has to start today. The choice is yours.

More From: L'Express

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

X