The plastic purge is still underway. My new eco-friendly soaps and cleaners arrived, and I'm very pleased with them so far. They clean, they smell nice, and what more can you ask? More updates on that coming soon- I'm running out of shampoo, and looking into a more conscientious replacement for that and other personal products.
This next phase addresses diet.
You've probably heard the phrase "meatless Mondays", which at some point was coined to encourage people to eat more plant-based meals at least once a week, promoting healthier eating habits and a reduction of carbon emissions caused by animal agricultural. There is also evidence to suggest that if everyone maintained a completely vegan diet, it could nearly eliminate food-related carbon emissions, which make up nearly 15% of all manmade emissions. This seems like a simple solution- maybe not an easy one, but a simple one.
Here's the problem: it isn't necessarily people's unwillingness to eat more vegetables that is preventing a solution like this from being implemented. It's that it doesn't account for other factors- like poverty, farm labor, food deserts (seriously, read up on them), and more. Ideally, we will one day address these problems as a nation, but from an individual standpoint, there's little one can do in the face of big social issues like these.
One factor that affects me personally is that I live with chronic illness. I won't get too much into that here, but I will say it affects my metabolism to the point where my previous attempts to switch to all plant-based meals have made me sick. Protein and iron are things I have to have in my diet, and unfortunately the absorption rates of non-heme iron are slower and less effective than heme-iron. I don't seem to do well without certain fats either. I have yet to find a solution to this that will allow me to cut meat from my diet entirely, but I'm hoping that I can possibly work something out with my doctors in the future.
For now, the one option I have available to me is to eat as little meat as possible- especially red meat since it is the largest contributor to animal agricultural emissions.
I've been working on slowly cutting meat from my diet, and right now I'm to the point where I usually only cook meat with dinner, and I avoid red meat as much as possible. I'm hoping that by the end of 2020, I will be able to completely eliminate red meat from my diet (dairy products too since that's also related), and eat as little meat as possible without it affecting my health.
If you haven't done it yet, I strongly encourage you to take one day from your week to eat more plant-based meals and as little meat and dairy as possible. And after a while, should your health permit it, I encourage you to raise that to two days. Then three. Who knows where you'll be by the end of the year?
While the other factors may still be at play, you as the individual can, at the very least, do your best with what you have. Remember, when it comes to climate change it's not about finding one perfect solution, it's about finding many solutions, together.