Monday with Ms. Marvel: going vegetarian

In+her+weekly+column%2C+Monday+with+Ms.+Marvel%2C+Wingspan%27s+Trisha+Dasgupta+reviews+different+political+issues+and+relatable+topics+in+everyday+life.

Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan's Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Staff Reporter

The climate movement has been steadily gaining momentum in the last few years, and we can already start to see change start to manifest in the way that more and more consumers are starting to switch to more sustainable lifestyle choices. Earlier this month the Golden Globes made news by shifting their catering to be fully plant based and vegan, and according to studies conducted by GlobalData, the number of U.S. residents who eat vegan or vegetarian diets is at an all time high. 

I’m really excited to say that as of four months ago I also stopped eating meat in order to stop contributing to the meat industry, as it is one of the biggest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. My decision to go vegetarian was based on a few different things, but mainly because I want to do everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint. 

In the months since I’ve gone vegetarian, I’ve received a lot of positivity from friends and family, but probably just as much—if not more—negative feedback as well. Not all of my classmates and relatives have been as quick to embrace my change of diet, even though I never actually asked them to. I ask them to simply respect my decision, and yet that has proven to be very difficult for some. 

I’ve been told multiple times by multiple people that this is just a phase and won’t last, and that going vegetarian is useless because it’s not really going to do much in the grand scheme of things. 

Now, only time will tell if that first point holds any merit, but as it stands, I fail to see the logic behind that last sentiment. 

While I can concede to the point that yes, one person going vegetarian isn’t stopping climate change in its tracks, that’s not the goal I’m trying to achieve. I’ve never claimed that my new diet is single handedly stopping global temperatures from rising, because I know that it’s not. My decision to go vegetarian came from my desire to go to bed at night knowing that I am doing whatever I can to reduce my carbon footprint and the negative impact that my actions have on the climate.

I’ve also drastically reduced my use of single use plastics, started to shop from organisations that have eco-friendly business practices, and I work with the city of Frisco’s Teens4Greens program, whose goal is to keep our city green. You can’t disagree with facts, and the fact of the matter is that regardless of your personal beliefs, my decisions and actions are in no way hurting the situation, even if they aren’t reducing global carbon emissions as much as I’d like them too. 

It’s so easy to stand idly by and make fun of teenagers trying to do whatever they can without lifting a finger yourself, isn’t it? I’ve found that most of the people who make fun of my diet, or tell me my attempts are futile, haven’t taken any action on their end. You can’t tell someone that their actions aren’t doing anything when you are not doing anything. 

As we head into this new decade and this new year, our society is going to have to make serious decisions about climate change, or suffer the consequences of it. Action is needed, because make no mistake, this is a crisis. 

Change needs to happen, and I know that going vegetarian doesn’t make me Greta Thunberg, but I also know that change isn’t something that one person is responsible for—it’s something that is made real by millions of people coming together. My decision to go vegetarian is one that millions of other people all around this country and the world are also making. It is a sign of something bigger: a movement of people, mostly younger people, who have risen to the occasion and taken matters into their own hands. 

Now, of course, every movement has a counter movement, and there are plenty of people who still don’t believe in climate change, or don’t want to take any action to help reduce carbon emissions. But it’s not that group of people I’m worried about. I’m more worried about those who, despite knowing the severity of the situation, decide to not take any action because they think it won’t matter. The ones who make fun of vegetarians and vegans and call their attempts futile. The ones who have given up hope. 

Audre Lorde once talked about these people, the ones without hope, during the civil rights movement. She told the world that our silence would not protect us, and now it’s time to realize that neither will our apathy. 

Whether you want to be a part of the climate movement or not is up to you, but don’t pretend that pestering teenagers about their diets is anything other than rude. Future generations are watching us, and history doesn’t remember those who complain about change, it remembers the ones who bring it.