As business students and part of the new generation, our focus has to be on our planet and its wellbeing. Our predecessors have done a good job of ruining Earth and do not seem to be bothered about the accelerating climate change. They keep acting on economic grounds instead of shifting towards environmental protection. 

It took some of the highest ever recorded temperatures for world leaders to start discussing means of slowing down and reversing global warming. During the G7, climate emergency and biodiversity protection were at the heart of the summit and leaders agreed to act and donate €20m to fight wildfires. But still, not all leaders share the same view. Some still place higher importance on the economy than on the environment.

President Trump: Climate change is a ‘niche issue’ in comparison to the economy. 

President Bolsonaro alias ‘Trump of the Tropics’ – extremist view, denying climate change. ‘Environmental policies are suffocating the government.’

Due to global warming, this summer holds the record heat-wise. Most European countries have suffered for the past months, staying in with the AC on maximum speed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that this past July was the hottest July on record. The next five hottest Julys were all in the past five years.  So it isn’t surprising to see multiple wildfires under such conditions – Amazon, Siberia, Indonesia… These fires are prone to happen because of land dryness and overall heat. But did all these acres burn solely because of accidental wildfires or do humans play a part in all that?  

CNN Meteorologist Haley Brink: ‘The fires are definitely human-induced and cannot be attributed to natural causes like lightning strikes.’

The Amazon rainforest does not burn naturally. Its name says it all. Rain-forest. It remains drenched and humid for most of the year, meaning that a lot has to happen for a wildfire to start and become as colossal as it was this summer. 

People ignite fires in the Amazon solely for economical purposes. The land is cleared for cattle using the slash-and-burn technique – illegal this time of the year. And then, after those animals are slaughtered, you get your steak*. 

Thus, one of the reasons the Amazon burned is because of our increasing consumption of meat. Eating meat kills more animals than you think. Nothing has been verified, but it is known that ranchers set fires to the Amazon to graze cattle and grow crops to feed them. This year’s massive wildfire is just one of them. More than 90% of the Amazon that has been cleared since 1970 is used for meat production

So eating meat is indirectly linked to climate change. If you do not care about the Amazon and all other forests destroyed for meat production, think about water consumption. We are told to take showers instead of baths, not to leave the water running when it is not needed, and so on. The equivalent of water needed to produce one steak would be enough to fill 50 baths. So every time you savour that steak, you are ‘flushing down’ 2,400 gallons of water. 

So far, there has been an 84% increase in wildfires in the Amazon compared to last year. The impact these wildfires will have on our future is not clear yet, but it becomes more and more urgent to act and stop the global warming spiral. 

Most of us have seen the news about the Amazon forest burning, and the research suggesting that 2050 will be a critical year regarding climate change. Some of us have reposted these posts on Instagram, using the platform to reach as many individuals as possible and increasing awareness. 

But it ends there. A minority has actually taken action in the real world. It’s easy to repost pictures, but once we talk about eating less meat or reducing the use of single-use plastics, no one’s there. Why bring reusable cutlery to Coachella if you can just use the plastic forks they provide, drink from their plastic bottles and leave everything on the grass for others to pick up? 

So here is a checklist of easy environmentally friendly actions. Pick the ones that apply:

Book of the month: Marc Dugain – Transparence

*This is by no means supposed to turn you vegan. These are just some facts in order to educate you about the consequences of your choices. 

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