Model Texts by Student Authors
Effective Therapy Through Dance and Movement95
Two chairs, angled slightly away from one another, a small coffee table positioned between them, and an ominous bookshelf behind them, stocked with thick textbooks about psychodynamic theory, Sigmund Freud, and of course, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is a psychoanalytic psychotherapists's typical clinical set-up. Walking into the room, your entire body feels tense- rigid with stress as you enter the therapist's office only to find the aforementioned sight. Your heartbeat reverberates throughout your body, your throat tightens ever-so-slightly, and your mouth goes dry as an overwhelming sense of nervousness sets in.
Now, imagine instead walking into a beautiful studio, wearing your most comfortable clothing. You take off your shoes, and put your hands in the pockets of your sweatpants as you begin to slip and slide around the sprung hardwood floor whilst a childish smile creeps across your face. Your therapist is not there necessarily to dissect your personality or interpret your behavior, but instead to encourage your mental and physical exploration, leading you on a journey of self-discovery. This is the warm and encouraging environment that dance/movement therapy (DMT) may take place in.
In its essence, DMT is the therapeutic use of physical movement- specifically dance in this context- to encourage and support emotional, intellectual, and motor functions of the mind and body. The focus of the therapy lies within the connection and correlation between movement and emotion ("About"). Unlike so-called "normal" therapies, which are set in a clinical environment, and are conducted by somebody with an extensive background in psychology, DMT is generally practiced by individuals whose background is primarily in dance and the performing arts, with psychology or psychotherapy education falling second. Although some may argue otherwise, I believe that DMT is a viable form of therapy, and that dance and movement can act as the catalyst for profound mental transformation; therefore, when dance and therapy are combined, they create a powerful platform for introspection along with interpersonal discovery, and mental/ behavioral change.
Life begins with movement and breathing; they precede all thought and language. Following movement and breath, gesture falls next in the development of personal communication and understanding (Chaiklin 3). Infants and toddlers learn to convey their wants and needs via pointing, yelling, crying, clapping. As adults, we don't always understand what it is they're trying to tell us; however, we know that their body language is intended to communicate something important. As a child grows older, a greater emphasis is place on verbally communicating their wants and needs, and letting go of the physical expression. Furthermore, the childish means of demonstrating wants and needs become socially inappropriate as one matures. Perhaps we should not ignore the impulses to cry, to yell, or to throw a tantrum on the floor, but instead encourage a channeled physical release of pent-up energy.
I personally, would encourage what some would consider as emotional breakdowns within a therapeutic setting. For example, screaming, sobbing, pounding one's fists against the floor, or kicking a wall all seem taboo in our society, especially when somebody is above the age of three. There is potential for said expressions to become violent and do more harm than good for a client. Therefore, I propose using dance and movement as a method of expressing the same intense emotions.
As a dancer myself, I can personally attest to the benefits of emotional release through movement. I am able to do my best thinking when I am dancing, and immediately after I stop. When dancing, whether it is improvised movement or learned choreography, the body is in both physical and mental motion, as many parts of the brain are activiated. The cerebrum is working in overdrive to allow the body to perform certain actions, while other areas of the brain like the cerebellum are trying to match your breathing and oxygen intake to your level of physical exertion. In addition, all parts of the limbic system are triggered. The limbic system is comprised of multiple parts of the brain including the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, and hypothalamus. These different areas of the brain are responsible for emotional arousal, certain aspects of memory, and the willingness to be affected by external stimuli. So, when they are activated with movement, they encourage the endocrine system- specifically the pituitary gland- to release hormones that make you feel good about yourself, how you are moving, and allow you to understand what emotions you're feeling and experiencing (Kinser).
As a form of exercise as well, dancing releases endorphins- proteins that are synthesized by the pituitary gland in response to physiologic stressors. This feeling is so desirable that opioid medications were created with the intent of mimicking the sensation that accompanies an endorphin rush (Sprouse-Blum 70). Along with the beta-proteins comes a level of mental clarity, and a sense of calm. Dance movement therapists should utilize this feeling within therapy, allowing participants to make sense of crises in their life as they exist in this heightened state.
Similar to the potential energy that is explored in physics, when set to music, physical movement manifests a mental state that allows for extensive exploration and introspective discovery. DMT is effect as a therapy in that it allows clients to manifest and confront deep psychological issues while existing in a state of nirvana- the result of dance. Essentially, DMT allows the participant to feel good about him or herself during the sessions, and be open and receptive to learning about their patterns of though, and any maladaptive behavior ("About").
Playing specifically to this idea of finding comfort through one's one body, a case study was done involving an adolescent girl (referred to as "Alex") who struggled with acute body dysmorphic disorder- a mental illness whose victims are subject to obsession with perceived flaws in their appearance. The aim of the study was to examine "the relationship between an adolescent female's overall wellness, defined by quality of life, and her participation in a dance/movement therapy [DMT]-based holistic wellness curriculum" (Hagensen 150). During the six-week-long data-collection and observation period, Alex's sessions took place in a private psychotherapy office and included normal dance and movement based therapy, along with a learning curriculum that focused on mindfulness, body image, movement, friendships, and nutrition. Her therapist wanted not only to ensure that Alex receive the necessary DMT to overcome her body dysmorphic disorder, but also to equip her with tools to better combat it in the future, should it resurface.
In total, the case study lasted four months, and included nine individual therapy sessions, and a handful of parental check-in meetings (to get their input on her progress). Using the Youth Quality of Life-Research Version (YQOL-R) and parent surveys, both qualitative and quantitative data were collected that revealed that Alex did indeed learn more about herself, and how her body and mind function together. The psychologists involved concluded that the use of DMT was appropriate for Alex's case, and it proved to be effective in transforming her distorted image of herself (Hagensen 168).
Some may dispute this evidence by saying that the case of a single adolescent girl is not sufficient to deem DMT effective; however, it is extremely difficult to limit confounding variable in large-scale therapeutic experiments. In the realm of psychology, individual studies provide data that is just as important as that of bigger experiments. To further demonstrate DMT's effectiveness on a larger scale though, I turn to a study that was conducted in Germany in 2012 for evidence.
After recruiting 17 dance therapists and randomly selecting 162 participants, a study was conducted to test the efficacy of a 10-week long DMT group and whether or not the quality of life (QOL) of the participants improved. Ninety-seven of the participants were randomly assigned to the therapy group (the experimental group), whilst the remaining 65 were placed on a waitlist, meaning they did not receive any treatment (the control group) (Bräuninger 296). All of the participants suffered from stress and felt that they needed professional help dealing with it. The study utilized a subject-design, and included a pre-test, post-test, and six-month follow-up test. As hypothesized, the results demonstrated that participants in the experimental DMT group significantly improved the QOL, both in the short term (right after the sessions terminated) and in the long term (at the six-month follow-up). The greatest QOL improvements were in the areas of psychological well-being and general life in both the short- and long- term. At the end of the study, it was concluded that, "Dance movement therapy significantly improves QOL in the short and long term" (Bräuninger 301).
DMT does prove to be an effective means of therapy in the cases of body dysmorphic disorder and stress; however, when it comes to using DMT in the treatment of schizophrenia, it seems to fall short. In an attempt to speak to the effectiveness of dance therapy in the context of severe mental illness and disorders, a group of psychologists conducted a study to "evaluate the effects of dance therapy for people with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses compared with standard care and other interventions" (Xia 675). Although DMT did not do any harm, there was no identifiable reduction in the participant's symptoms, nor was there an overall improvement in mental cognition. It was concluded that the results of the study did not affirm nor deny the use of dance/movement therapy amongst the group of schizophrenic participants (Xia 676).
I believe that the aforementioned case study brings to light something key about DMT: the kinds of people and mental illnesses that it can be successful for. As demonstrated by the study conducted on schizophrenic patients, DMT isn't necessarily effective for the entire spectrum of mental illnesses. DMT has been shown to more effective for those dealing with less serious mental illnesses, or are simply struggling to cope with passing crises in their life. For example, problems with stress, self-image, family, time management, and relationships are ideal issues to deal with in a DMT setting (Payne 14). Studies have shown that these are the most successfully resolved personal conflicts in this therapy.
Although DMT may not be an effective treatment for certain people or problems, it is unlikely that it will cause detriment to patients, unlike other therapies. For example, it is very common for patients in traditional verbal therapy to feel intense and strong emotions that they were not prepared to encounter, and therefore, not equipped to handle. They can have an increased anxiety and anxiousness as a result of verbal therapy, and even potentially manifest and endure false memories (Linden 308). When a client is difficult to get talking, therapists will inquire for information and ask thought-provoking questions to initiate conversation or better develop their understanding of a patient's situation. In some cases, this has been shown to encourage the development of false memories because the therapist is overbearing and trying too hard to evoke reactions from their reluctant clients. These negative side effects of therapy may also manifest themselves in DMT; however, this is very unlikely given the holistic nature of the therapy, and the compassionate role of the therapist.
Along with its positive effects on participants, another attribute to the utilization of DMT is that a holistic curriculum may be easily interwoven and incorporated alongside the standard therapy. Instead of participation only in standard therapy sessions, a therapist can also act as a teacher. By helping participants learn about mindfulness and introspection techniques, along with equipping them with coping skills, the therapist/teacher is able to help their clients learn how to combat problems they may face in the future, after therapy has ended. Like in the case of Alex, it is helpful to learn not just thinking and behavioral patterns, but what they mean, and techniques to keep them in check.
A holistic curriculum is based on "the premise that each person find identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to spiritual values such as compassion and peace" (Miller). In other words, when instilled in the context of DMT, participants learn not only about themselves, but also about their interactions with others and the natural world. Although some find such a premise to be too free-spirited for them, the previously mentioned connections are arguably some of the most important one's in an individual's life. Many people place too great of an emphasis on being happy, and finding happiness, but choose to ignore the introspective process of examining their relationships. By combining DMT and a holistic curriculum, one can truly begin to understand how they function cognitively, what effect that has on their personal relationships, and what their personal role is in a society and in the world.
Finally, DMT is simply more practical and fun than other, more conventional forms of therapy. It is in essence the vitamin C you would take to not just help you get over a cold, but that you would take to help prevent a cold. In contrast, other therapy styles act as the antibiotics you would take once an infection has set in- there are no preventative measures. When most people make the decision to attend therapy, it is because all else has failed and speaking with a therapist is their last resort. Since DMT is a much more relaxed and natural style of therapy, learned exercise and techniques can easily be incorporated into daily life. While most people won't keep a journal of their dreams, or record every instance in the day they've felt anxious (as many clinical therapists would advise), it would be practical to attend a dance class once a week or so. Just by being in class, learning choreography and allowing the body to move, one can lose and discover themself all at the same time. DMT can be as simple as just improvising movement to a song and allowing the mind to be free for a fleeting moment (Eddy 6). And although short, it can still provide enough time to calm the psyche and encourage distinct movements of introspection.
DMT is an extremely underrated area of psychology. With that being said, I also believe it can be a powerful form of therapy and it has been shown to greatly improve participants' quality of life and their outlook on it. As demonstrated by the previous case studies and experiments, DMT allows clients to think critically about their own issues and maladaptive behaviors, and become capable of introspection. Although DMT may not be effective for all mental illnesses, it is still nonetheless a powerful tool for significant psychological change, and should be used far more often as a form of treatment. Instead of instantly jumping to the conclusion that traditional psychotherapy is the best option for all clients, patients, and therapists alike should perhaps recognize that the most natural thing to our body-movement- could act as the basis for interpersonal discovery and provide impressive levels of mental clarity.
"About Dance/Movement Therapy." ADTA, American Dance Therapy Association, 2016, https://adta.org/.
Bräuninger, Iris. "The Efficacy of Dance Movement Therapy Group on Improvement of Quality of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial." The Arts in Psychotherapy, vol. 39, no. 4, 2012, pp. 296-303. Elsevier ScienceDirect, doi: 10. 1016/j.aip.2012.03.008
Chaiklin, Sharon, and Hilda Wengrower. Art and Science of Dance/Movement Therapy: Life is Dance, Routledge, 2009. ProQuest eBook Library, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/lib/psu/detail.action?docID=668472
Eddy, Martha. "A Brief History of Somatic Practices and Dance: Historical Development of the Field of Somatic Education and Its Relationship to Dance." Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices, vol. 1, no. 1, 2009, pp. 5-27. IngentaConnect, doi: 10.1386/jdsp.1.1.5/1.
Hagensen, Kendall. “Using a Dance/Movement Therapy-Based Wellness Curriculum: An Adolescent Case Study.” American Journal of Dance Therapy, vol. 37, no. 2, 2015, pp. 150-175. SpringerLink, doi: 10.1007/s10465-015-9199-4.
Kinser, Patricia Anne. “Brain Structures and Their Functions.” Serendip Studio, Bryn Mawr, 5 Sept 2012, serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/Structure1.html.
Linden, Michael, and Marie-Luise Schermuly-Haupt. “Definition, Assessment and Rate of Psychotherapy Side Effects.” World Psychiatry, vol. 13, no. 3, 2014, pp. 306- 309. US National Library of Medicine, doi: 10.1002/wps.20153.
Meekums, Bonnie. Dance Movement Therapy: A Creative Psychotherapeutic Approach, SAGE, 2002. ProQuest eBook Library, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/lib/psu/detail.action?docID=668472.
Miller, Ron. “A Brief Introduction to Holistic Education.” infed, YMCA George Williams College, March 2000, infed.org/mobi/a-brief-introduction-to-holisticeducation/.
Payne, Helen. Dance Movement Therapy: Theory and Practice, Tavistock/Routledge, 1992. ProQuest eBook Library, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/lib/psu/detail.action?docID=668472.
Sprouse-Blum, Adam, Greg Smith, Daniel Sugai, and Don Parsa. “Understanding Endorphins and Their Importance in Pain Management.” Hawaii Medical Journal, vol. 69, no. 3, 2010, pp. 70-71. US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104618/.
Xia, Jun, and Tessa Jan Grant. “Dance Therapy for People With Schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 35, no. 4, 2009, pp. 675-76. Oxford Journals. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbp042.
We Don't Care About Child Slaves96
When you walk into the mall or any department store, your main goal is to snatch a deal, right? You scout for the prettiest dress with the lowest price or the best fitting jeans with the biggest discount. And once you find it, you go to the checkout and purchase it right away. Congratulations- now it's all yours! But here's the thing: the item that you just purchased could have possibly been made from the sweat, blood, and tears of as six-year-old child in Vietnam. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), one in ten Vietnamese children aged 5 to 17 are slave workers, and Vietnam is the second biggest source of imported goods to the U.S. This means that a lot of the things we get from Target, Walmart, and countless other stores are made by child slaves. The problem is that the bargain on that cute shirt we just go was too good for us to think twice- about where it came from, how it was made. As a society, we need to take action against child labor by being conscious of where we buy our goods so we don't feed the system that exploits children.
When we think of child slavery, we are horrified by it. How can someone treat children in such a way? It's horrific, it's terrible, and it's a serious crime! But then again, those shoes you saw in the store are so cute and are at such a cheap price, you must buy them! Even if they were made by child slaves, you can't do anything about that situation and purchasing them won't do any harm at all, right? The unfortunate reality is that we are all hypocritical when it comes to this issue. I'm pretty sure that all of us have some sort of knowledge of child slave workers in third-world countries, but how come we never take into consideration when we but stuff? Maybe it's because you believe your actions as one person are too little to affect anything, or you just can't pass up that deal. Either way, we need to all start doing research about where we are sending our money.
As of 2014, 1.75 million Vietnamese children are working in conditions that are classified as child labor as child labor according to the ILO (Rau). Most of these children work in crowded factories and work more than 42 hours a week. These children are the ones who make your clothes, toys, and other knick-knacks that you get from Target, Walmart, etc. If not that, they're the ones who make the zippers on your coats and buttons on your sweater in a horrifying, physically unstable work environment.
How exactly do these children end up in this situation? According to a BBC report, labor traffickers specifically target children in remote and poor villages, offering to take them to the city to teach them vocational training or technical skills. Their parents usually agree because they are not aware of the concept of human trafficking since they live in an isolated area. Also, it gives the family an extra source of income. The children are then sent to other places and are forced to work in mostly farms or factories. These children receive little to no pay and most of the time get beaten if they made a mistake while working. They are also subject to mental abuse and at the worst, physically tortured by their boss. Another reason why children end up in the labor force is because they must provide for their family; their parents are unable to do so for whatever reason (Brown).
In 2013, BBC uncovered the story of a Vietnamese child labor victim identified as "Hieu." Hieu was a slave worker in Ho Chi Minh city who jumped out of the third floor window of a factory with two other boy to escape his "workplace." Aged 16 at the time, Hieu explained that a woman approached him in his rural village in Dien Bien, the country's poorest province, and offered him vocational training in the city. He and 11 other children were then sent to the city and forced to make clothes for a garment factory in a cramped room for the next two years. "We started at 6AM and finished work at midnight," he said. "If we made a mistake making the clothes they would beat us with a stick." Fortunately for Hieu, he managed to escape and is one of the 230 children saved by The Blue Dragon Foundation, a charity that helps fight against child labor (Brown).
For the rest of the victims, however, hope is yet to be found. According to the US Department of Commerce, most of the apparel that is sold in the US is made overseas, and Vietnam is the second biggest source for imported goods right behind China. Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka are also on the list of the top sources of US apparel imports. This means that the demand for goods from these countries is high; therefore, the need for child slave workers is increasing.
One of the biggest corporations in the world that has an ongoing history of the use of child slaves is Nike. According to IHSCS News, workers at Vietnam shoe manufacturing plants make 20 cents an hour, are beaten by supervisors, and are not allowed to leave their work posts. Vietnam isn't the only place that has factories with dangerous working conditions owned by the athletic-wear giant (Wilsey). Nike also has sweatshops in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, and China, just to name a few, that have all been investigated by officials due to inhumane working conditions. Everything from clothing and shoes, to soccer balls are potentially made by child slaves in these countries (Greenhouse). Please keep this in mind the next time you visit your local Nike store.
Vietnam has actually been praised for its efforts in combating child slave issues. According to The Borgen Project, Vietnam has increased the number of prosecutions it holds to help end overseas gang activity (Rau). However, the country lacks internal control in child trafficking, and traffickers who are caught receive light punishments. The person who trafficked Hieu and 11 other children only faced a fine of $500 and his factory was closed down, but he did not go to court (Brown).
Let's be real: doing our part to fight against child labor as members of a capitalistic society is not the easiest thing to do. We are all humans who have needs and our constant demand to buy is hard to resist, especially when our society is fueled by consumerism. However, big changes takes little steps. We can start to combat this issue by doing research on where we spend our money and try to not support corporations and companies that will enable the child labor system. We can also donate to charities, such as The Blue Dragon Foundation, to further help the cause. Yes, it is hard to not shop at your favorite stores and I can't stop you from doing so. But all I ask is that you educate yourself on where you are spending your money, and hopefully your moral compass will guide you onto the right path. If you are horrified by the thought of a 5-year-old child being beaten and working 24 hours a day, do not be a part of the problem. Keep Hieu- and the other 1.75 million children who are currently suffering in Vietnam- in mind the next time you buy something.
Brown, Marianne. "Vietnam's Lost Children in Labyrinth of Slave Labour." BBC News, 27 Aug 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-23631923.
Greenhouse, Steven. “Nike Shoe Plant in Vietnam Is Called Unsafe for Workers.” The New York Times, 7 Nov 1997, www.nytimes.com/1997/11/08/business/nike-shoe-plant-in-vietnam-iscalled-unsafe-for-workers.html.
Nguyen Thị Lan Huong, et al. Viet Nam National Child Labour Survey 2012. International Labour Organization, 14 Mar 2014, www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---ilohanoi/documents/publication/wcms_237833.pdf.
“One in Ten Vietnamese Youngsters Aged 5-17 in Child Labour.” International Labour Organization, 14 Mar 2014, www.ilo.org/hanoi/Informationresources/Publicinformation/newsitems/WCM S_237788/lang--en/index.htm.
Rau, Ashrita. “Child Labor in Vietnam.” The Borgen Project, 20 Mar 2017, https://borgenproject.org/child-labor-vietnam/.
Wilsey, Matt, and Scott Lichtig. “The Nike Controversy.” EDGE Course Seminar Website, Stanford University, 27 July 1999, web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/trade_environment/wheeling/hnike.html.
Carnivore Consumption Killing Climate97
The year of 1955 was the year of many revolutionary names: you might remember the rise of Elvis or the valor of Rosa Parks that year. Some might recognize it as the birth year of two of the 20th centuries best and brightest: Mr. Jobs, and Mr. Gates. However, I recognize it as the birth year of a pair even brighter than that of Steve and Bill. A pair of golden arches that is: McDonald's was founded April 15, 1955, and ever since then, the market for fast, greasy, and cheap food has been a staple in many countries around the world. Which has led to a steady rise in the consumption of meat and other animal products. This spells out disaster for not only personal health but the health of the environment. The direct link between the consumption of animal products and global warming is negatively effecting the health of this generation. If action isn't taken by each of us, global warming will be hazardous for future generations who will be left with the burden of reversing the wastefulness of their greedy ancestors.
While there are many industries that contribute to global warming, the food and farming industry has one of the largest impacts on the environment. For starters, every step of the process, from birth of the calf to the burger patty sizzling on the grill, produces near irreversible damage to the environment. All livestock, not only cows, passively contribute to global warming. "Livestock, especially cattle, produces methane (CH4) as part of their digestion. This process is called enteric fermentation, and it represents almost one third of the emissions from the Agriculture sector" ("Greenhouse"). While this may seem insignificant to nice small farms with only a few cows, large corporations own thousands of cattle, all of which add up to significant amount of enteric fermentation. Not to mention, the thousands of gallons of gas that goes into transporting the cows and there are tons of coal or fossil fuels being burned to power big warehouses where cows and other various meat-producing animals are crammed into undersized cages, where they are modified and bred for slaughter.
Moreover, the driving of semis release carbon dioxide into the air. These trucks are used to haul the animals, their feed, and the final product, your food. The final number of trips, when all said and done, adds up to an enormous amount of gas being burned. "When we burn fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, we release carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 builds up in the atmosphere and causes Earth's temperature to rise" ("Climate"). In summary, the burning of gas and other fossil fuels in one major way the meat, and the entire food industry contributes to global warming. The rising of the earth's temperature is like the flick of the first domino in the line. Heating of the Earth being the first domino leading to melting the ice caps and so on. Everyone has head the spiel of melting ice caps and "saving the polar bears!"; however, there are many serious and harmful effects of such CO2 emissions. Some may rebuttal that "global warming doesn't have any effect on me", but there is a list of health problems caused by global warming that do negatively impact humans.
Unless people can come together and reduce, not just their CO2 footprint, but all greenhouse gas emissions there will continue to be an increase medical problems globally. The rising temperatures is causing longer allergy seasons and an increase in allergens or dust, pollen and other particles in the air. "Research studies associate fine particles [allergens] with negative cardiovascular outcomes such as heart attacks, formation of deep vein blood clots, and increased mortality from several other causes. These adverse health impacts intensify as temperatures rise" (Portier 14). For further explanation, polluting the atmosphere by burning gas and raising mass numbers of livestock is causing the global temperature to rise. These negative health issues are only the outcome of global warming. I have purposely omitted the health problems, though many, of eating red meat. Cutting meat out of your diet will improve your individual health, but more importantly, it will improve the health of the earth. Some critics might argue that eating just one burger can't raise the entire Earth's temperature. The simple answer is, it doesn't. However, making the conscious decision to eat meat on a day to day basis adds up to a slew of health problems accompanied by a large personal carbon footprint.
Acidification of the oceans is one of the harmful effects on the environment caused by an inflated carbon footprint. This happens when the CO2 that is released into the atmosphere, absorbs into the ocean, thus leading to a change in the pH level of the ocean. "High concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increase the amount that is dissolved into the ocean, leading to acidification... many [people on coastal regions] depend on marine protein for daily subsistence, the consequences of perturbing delicate ocean and coastal systems will be far-reaching" (Portier 6). This is problematic for any who live on coastal regions and may rely heavily on seafood in their diet but is also a problem for the fish as well. Disrupting an entire food chain could have many unforeseen consequences.
Meat loves will interject: "well food other than meat is produced in factories, don't contribute to global warming too?" These arguments are not invalid; while the meat industry may cause much of the food and agriculture's emissions, other methods of food production are outdated and harmful as well. The problem of global warming, is not solely the fault of the meat industry, the blame should be put onto anyone who produces more than their fair share of greenhouse gases. For example, the way rice is cultivated could very well be a place CO2 emissions could be cut. "A change in rice processing and consumption patterns could reduce CO2 emission by 2-16%" (Norton 42). The implementation made to reduce the footprint of rice cultivation, could then be remodeled to be effectively used to reduce the pollution of the food and agriculture sector as a whole.
However, more simple things than changing the way food is produced can help save the environment. It can be as simple as picking up a piece of litter off the ground to deciding to recycle all your bottles and cans. But for those looking to make a greater contribution to saving the world, stop eating meat. Or, if that is too difficult, reduce the amount of meat you eat. A paper published by the World Resources Institute "showed that reducing heavy red meat consumption, would lead to a per capita food and land use-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction of between 15 and 35 percent by 2050. Going vegetarian could reduce those per capita emissions by half" (Magil). As a vegetarian I gave up eating meat mainly for this reason. But not only can you save the environment by giving up meat, by doing so you can save more than just your life, but millions of lives; "switching to vegetarianism could help prevent nearly 7m premature deaths and help reduce health care costs by $1b" (Harvey). As mentioned, there are multiple positive impacts of eliminating meat from your diet, and it is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. In tandem, being aware of your carbon footprint is very important, because not monitoring individual emissions is causing greenhouse gases to reach dangerous levels. Which is beginning to cause a variety of health problems for many people which will only intensify if nothing is done on a personal and global level.
Not only do we have to worry about the changes to ocean and costal life, but life everywhere will get far worse if nothing is done to stop the warming of our planet. A world dominated by scientifically advanced greedy carnivores is not a world worth saving. The earth is on a slippery slope that is leading to extinction. The way we consume animal products is irresponsible because it poses a major threat to the environment and endangers humans. To respond to this, we need to develop new ways to combat ecological problems and change wasteful consumption habits. If we cannot stop our polluting and wasteful ways, we are destined to lose the planet that harbors everything we know.
To change the eating habits of an entire nation might be a feat all its own; changing the eating habits of an entire world seems impossible. I am confident that it all starts with one person making the right choice. I urge you to follow not only in my footsteps, but join the millions of others who are putting down their steak knives to fight climate change. I find it horrifying that some people would rather destroy their own race than change what goes on their plate. There is overwhelming evidence that illuminates the fiery connection between global warming and serious health problems. Now this generation and future generations will need to create regulations and invent new solutions to enjoy the same planet we have all called home.
Adams, Jill. “Can U.S., Nations Meet Emission Goals?” CQ Researcher, 15 June 2016, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqr_ht_climate_change_2016.
“Climate Change Decreases the Quality of Air We Breathe.” Center of Disease Control and American Public Health Association, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 18 April 2016, www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/pubs/air-qualityfinal_508.pdf.
“Climate Change: How Do We Know?” National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Earth Science Communications Team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 18 June 2018, https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/.
Doyle, Julie, Michael Redclift, and Graham Woodgate. Meditating Climate Change, Routledge, August 2011.
“Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11 April 2018. www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gasemissions#transportation.
Harvey, Fiona. “Eat Less Meat to Avoid Global Warming Scientists Say.” The Guardian, 21 March, 2016, www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/21/eatless-meat-vegetarianism-dangerous-global-warming
“Human Induced Climate Change Requires Immediate Action.” American Geophysical Union, August 2013, sciencepolicy.agu.org/files/2013/07/AGU-ClimateChange-Position-Statement_August-2013.pdf.
Magill, Bobby. “Studies Show Link Between Red-Meat and Climate Change.” Climate Central, 20 April 2016. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/studies-link-red-meatand-climate-change-20264
Norton, Tomas, Brijesh K. Tiwari, and Nicholas M. Holden. Sustainable Food Processing, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. Wiley Online Library, doi: 10.1002/9781118634301.
Portier, Christopher J., et al. A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 22 April 2010, https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/a_human_health_perspective_on_climate_change_full_report_508.pdf.