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A drop in the ocean


Finlay S



Finlay S
00:00 / 04:33

I am Finlay from Christchurch, New Zealand. I am a drop in the ocean.

My story starts during the summer holidays two years ago when Mum took us to Willowbank Wildlife Park. Straight into the farm animal section, we went. Darrel the Cow gets my first handful of pellets. He is my favourite. His eyes remind me of Mango and Moose, my dogs. I love my dogs. Back home for dinner that night and Dad’s Barbequed Kiwi Burgers didn’t feel as awesome as normal. I kept thinking of Darrel the Cow.

Since then, eating meat hasn’t really worked for me and I’ve learnt a lot more about how raising animals for meat really hurts the environment. I started doing some research and found out that farming animals for meat is one of the biggest polluters in New Zealand. Did you know that our meat industry processes over five million cattle per year and more than 25 million sheep. You know there’s only five million of us right? And, it takes over 15 thousand litres of water to produce just one kilogram of beef for your table, compared with just one thousand litres to produce the same amount of wheat and two thousand litres for a kilogram of rice. And it’s crazy that half of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and most of this is methane from the farmed animals – from their farting and burping. The rest is nitrous oxides from fertilisers, poo and wee. This stuff is really bad because it also pollutes our waterways. By comparison, our livestock poos and wees 40 times more organic waste than our entire population of five million.

These are all such massive issues, and they're not just our massive issues either, they are our planet’s massive issues. Much, much, MUCH bigger than my individual drop can help with. But not bigger than all of our drops combined. If we are to start making a difference – if we are to start solving some of these massive issues —then we all need to start thinking globally and acting locally. Am I really just a drop in the ocean?

Let’s get back to my story. That Christmas, Nana gave Mum an awesome vegetarian cookbook – Super Good by Chelsea Winter.  It finally felt like the right time to let the family know what I really felt about Darrel the Cow and about not wanting to eat meat. Since then we’ve all been eating much much less meat – some weeks no meat at all, just vegetarian. The more friends I talk to, the more of them also feel like it’s a good idea - and their families too. Also - my dad has lost 10 kgs and now he has a chance of keeping up with me on our bike rides. Not just him, but everybody is healthier.

So, as it turns out my drop is no longer just a drop… it has become many, many buckets. You can make a difference too! Whether you want to… stop deforestation … slow air pollution or… save the snow leopard. Start by thinking globally and then acting locally.

Take time to understand the ingredients in the foods that you eat – does purchasing some items support bad farming practices?

Take time to look at the labels on your clothes – are children being forced to work in these factories?

Take extra time for the environment – how about walking or cycling to the shops instead of taking the car?

I am Finlay from Christchurch, New Zealand. I am NOT just a drop in the ocean.

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