The Turning Point: Why I Went Vegetarian

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On the 23rd of March I sat down in my BCM310 tutorial and watched exactly how Australian cattle in Indonesia are slaughtered (ABC’s “A Bloody Business”). I couldn’t stay for the second hour to watch the Blackfish documentary because it would have hurt me too much. I walked out of there with a promise to give up eating meat and so far, I haven’t broken it. My twin sister has been vegan for almost two years and constantly pressures the rest of my family to go vegan. I’d ignored her because I really like meat. Why would I give that up? But this video changed my mind completely. I was on the brink of tears. And I realised that despite how good meat tastes, I couldn’t be a willing party to the animal cruelty that exists in almost every animal-driven industry. The “open secret” of meat industries became too much to bear for me.

The motivation of giving up meat flagged during the first fortnight. I’d have late-night cravings for burgers, kebabs, chicken; basically all I wanted to eat when I was hungry was meat. Late-night cravings hit me so hard for the first month. My sister constantly shares videos about veganism on my Facebook timeline but all I had to do was think back to the single doco I’d watched to stay away from meat. It was hard though.

This topic ties back to humans in the media. The way we view animal welfare in the media isn’t taken seriously enough. Animals, inherently helpless and voiceless, need us to fight for their rights and lives. We can’t just spend a week outraged at Indonesian cattle abattoirs. We can’t give up bacon for the weekend and then give in to cravings. We need to lend animals our voices and our compassion to end the cruel treatment they endure every day of their lives. The benefits of giving up meat include helping the environment and keeping families together. It’s eye-opening to learn that animals are intelligent and compassionate beings. Their high cognition means that most will die scared. That is not the way I want any animal’s life to end.

Captain Planet’s Sidekicks

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In an article that I assumed was written by SBS’s Backburner (their satirical, comedic news section) it was stated that climate change is a UN hoax to end democracy. Chuckling whilst reading it, I was shocked to discover that this wasn’t satire. It is well known that Tony Abott is a climate change denier and after years of campaigning has finally scrapped the carbon tax. This news story comes at a time when we’re learning how the Internet is impacting our environment.

The massive amount of electricity needed to store all our Internet data is huge. Apple’s iCloud is now responsible for 2% of the global CO2 emissions. Our data use is also predicted to increase – as it has ever since the first computers were invented. My dad recalls being in university, studying software engineering, and his class having a hardrive memory of 25MB. Each PC was allocated 16KB of data. The year was 1983. In 2014, my new Lenovo laptop came with 1TB of memory. Oh how times have changed.

The sobering reality is that our Internet use is impacting the environment, despite the Internet as an entity being all but invisible. The good news is that a lot of companies are now turning to greener methods in order to save energy and lessen their impact on our environment. Greenpeace has put together an interactive report regarding this, grading several companies on how green they are and what methods they’re using to help the environment.

Notwithstanding the environmental impact of the Internet, the ability to access unlimited resources for learning on it means that each person can become educated on this issue and can learn how to “green up” their own lives. There are an unlimited amount of websites dedicated to teaching people how to use our resources wisely and with as little detrimental consequences as possible. The first step is to start.

Who else is trying to save the earth, apart from tech companies? Zoos Victoria has started an initiative to recycle your old mobile phones to save gorillas on the brink of extinction. Kenco Coffee has started a campaign to buy lands of rainforest to conserve. The idea of solar roadways was an immediate hit. It seems the idea of keeping our earth in tip-top shape is becoming far more popular – and keeping climate change deniers at bay.

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