We're damaging our lands and we only have a short period of time before we can fix it, or we could face irreversible damage.
A major United Nations report was issued Thursday warning that if humans do not stop degrading the environment, we will reach a level of global warming of which there may be no return.
This news comes after another report was issued nearly a year earlier claiming that if we don't get our ish together by 2030, we won't be able to rely as heavily on fossil fuels along with other crucial environmental consequences.
If you're like me, you're not necessarily thrilled about the idea or possibility of giving up anything you love to indulge in on a regular basis, but, according to these major reports, our planet may depend on it.
So what will really happen if we don't do anything to prevent this?
Let's think about what happens when the global climate increases. Sea levels can rise, displacing over 10% of the worlds population. A third of life will face extinction. Glacial ice caps will melt faster than they already are. The earth will experience droughts and famine on a totally different level, and a third of the planet will be out of fresh water, according to the historic climate change agreement during the UN summit in Paris.
If the world's temperature rises by just two or three degrees, "up to 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest will be destroyed and warmer soil will kill vegetation and release more carbon," according to SkyNews.
What can I do?
The 2019 UN climate report highlights the importance of making changes to our diet. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recommends actually eating the food you buy, reduce water waste, and consume less meat.
Avoid Wasting food
A little less than half of food produced in America winds up in landfills. This corresponds to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food per year. The more waste that ends up in landfills, the more energy is needed to manage it.
Reduce water waste
It also takes a lot of energy to produce drinkable water. So solutions like taking shorter showers and avoiding running water when you're not using it at that very moment can contribute to improved global health on a larger scale.
Cut down meat consumption
I recommend reading an article by academic journal The Conversation titled, Five ways the meat on your plate is killing the planet. Literal human consumption of meat isn't harming the environment, but the resources and energy needed to feed and care for livestock is putting a strain on the environment. Things like water degradation, acid rain, and deforestation can happen at a faster rate because of the gas emissions resulting from livestock farming.
For more information on what you can do to improve your carbon footprint, check out the Natural Resources Defense Council's website.