It is Blog Action Day and the topic is the environment. I suppose the question is: what does this have to do with animal rights? My answer is: everything.
Animal rights starts for me with the most basic right: the right to live. People, animals, whatever species, we should have the right to live, unquestionably. That means not purposefully killing us for any reason. Not if we’re a “nuisance”, a “pest”, “unwanted”, or “tasty.”
This means not poisoning us. This means not destroying our habitat. This means protecting the environment, and thus the inhabitants of the earth. This means avoiding causing harm.
Humans have altered the earth and its populations and ecosystems in almost unimaginable ways. We have altered the paths of waterways, as well as their existence. We have removed vast populations from large regions of the earth. We have created substances that nature had never seen before, and we have distributed them so widely that it is believed by scientists who study these things that there is not a single organism on the planet Earth that does not have plastic incorporated into their individual environments on some level. Plankton in Antartica have been found to have plastic molecules in them.
When we contribute to the pollution and consumption of the Earth, when we cause harm to the environment, we are putting pressure on the most basic right of all Earthlings – the right to live.
The environment and animal rights are so intrinsically linked together that contributing to the industries that are in the business of raising and slaughtering animals for consumption cause the immediate environmental degradation of the surrounding area. The air, water, and land is polluted. Property values lower, health aliments increase. So much methane is added to the atmosphere that even the U.N. has finally admitted that animal agriculture has a major impact on the global climate. Methane, as we all should know, does not last as long as carbon in the atmosphere, degrading after about 10 years, but while it is up there, it has a 100 times greater impact on the issue of global warming, depending on how you calculate it.
Care about the environment? Care about animals? The answers are the same. Go vegan. Change your consumption, your carbon footprint, your habits.
It isn’t as difficult to make changes as we imagine. Certainly going vegan, while somewhat challenging in the beginning, is easier than learning to live with the major lifestyle changes that will be forced on us as the global climate changes drastically. Giving up some paper products, driving less, buying local produce, reducing our consumption (of plastic especially), reusing and recycling as much as we can, these are all minor changes in the grand scheme of things. If we haven’t passed the tipping points for the major changes in the global climate already, we’re within ten years of triggering them, some scientists believe. They could be wrong. The easiest and smartest option for every Earthling is to play it safe. Go vegan. Change your consumption, your carbon footprint, your habits. And maybe we’ll survive what we’ve done to the Earth.