Social Change Starts at the Individual Level

Whew! Spring quarter is finally coming to an end and I could not have asked for a better ending to my quarter with finishing our group action projects. My action project group decided to focus on the political ecology of the mass livestock farming and meat production and focus on the negative impacts it has on our environment. Over the course of our action project, I felt like I gained new friends but also learned much more about how to work in a group setting and use everyone’s strengths to develop a plan.

Our group decided to do a screening of the documentary, Cowspiracy, and organize a panel to discuss the impacts that mass livestock farming has in our society as well as guide us through ways we can be more sustainable with our meat consumption. Although we were unable to get anyone from NGOs and UW faculty, we still had a successful screening with the friends we invited and had a thoughtful discussion on how reductionism would be a reasonable route to be more sustainable. I realized at the screening that the topic of meat is really a untouched topic when it comes to the harmful impacts it has and that people are not as willing to accept the facts of just how much resources and energy goes into producing meat. People are not willing to give up indulging in a ribeye steak or a big angus burger because consuming a lot of meat has just been included in my diet as well as a lot of my friends. It is difficult to change our eating habits and people do not really think about how much water goes into producing one steak or how much greenhouse gases has been emitted to produce it.

It became obvious that in order to really attempt to more sustainable, it has to start with your own individual self and then spread the word around to our peers and the public. We cannot expect to see change when I myself am not changing my eating habits. I think the biggest lesson I got is that we can’t change everyone’s perspective and force them to be more sustainable. However, we can change our own outlooks and habits first before trying to force others .

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