Photo: May S. Young on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
Incase you’re living under a rock or somewhere off the grid like Tibet, you’ve probably heard that the Amazon rainforest has been on fire for over three weeks. In a time where climate change is a hot button issue, this news should alarm you. The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, covering over 5.5 million square kilometers and producing more than 20% of all oxygen. To give you an idea of how significant 20% is, the Amazon is referred to as our planet’s lungs. Suffice to say, it plays a major role in the fight against climate change.
There have been a reported 72,843 fires in the rainforest this year, the highest rate since Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) began tracking them in 2013. What’s really crazy about all of this is the fact that news outlets only began reporting on the fire this past Wednesday. Word of the fire set the internet ablaze as news spread throughout social media, with news outlets receiving heavy scrutiny for the three-week coverage delay.
Photo: Unknown on Pxhere, CC0 1.0
Thankfully, information on how you can help is now reaching the masses. In addition to speaking out, one celebrity is taking it a step further in an effort to show solidarity. Announcing that he is going vegan in response to the environmental crisis, writer, host, chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang had this to say:
“After watching videos of the Amazon on fire this week, I’ve decided that this corned beef I ate at Junior’s last week will be the last piece of beef I ever eat,” he wrote on Instagram.
As a famed restaurateur and former host of Vice’s HBO show “Huang’s World,” Huang is no stranger to eating meat. He continued, “[I love food] but I don’t love what food tv and more importantly what food has become in our culture: a drug.”
With a newfound beef with beef, he explained further, “I’m going to go vegan because it takes 20 times less land to feed a vegan than a meat eater and over 90% of the land cleared in the amazon rainforest since 1970 is used for grazing livestock, but if all of us just stopped eating BEEF it would solve huge problems.”
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After watching videos of the Amazon on fire this week, Ive decided that this corned beef I ate at Junior’s last week will be the last piece of beef I ever eat. I love beef, I love ox tails, I love Peter Luger’s, I loved growing up in a steak house cutting NY Strip on xanax. It was soothing but beef is fucking us. Actually, we are fucking ourselves on multiple levels and we need to make changes. Im going to go vegan because it takes 20 times less land to feed a vegan than a meat eater and over 90% of the land cleared in the amazon rainforest since 1970 is used for grazing livestock, but if all of us just stopped eating BEEF it would solve huge problems. Eat fish, eat chicken, eat pork until the next crisis but if all u can do now is quit beef, please do it. I know a lot of ass backwards people think vegetarianism or veganism is some uppity white girl thing to do but its not. There have been Asian Buddhist Vegetarians for thousands of years, Ital Rasta, Hindu as well, this is not some new age thing to laugh at. We are getting back to roots, healing the Earth, and ourselves. Ive eaten my last bite of meat. I wish I had planned this better and ate my mom’s ox tail soup but fuck it. There really isnt time to waste. Some things have to start today. I started to get these feelings shooting the last season of Huang’s World and fasted for 5 days because my producer David’s mom said I looked sick. She was right. The 5 days not eating fundamentally changed me and I shot the second half of the season while intermittent fasting. Ive made a lot of food videos because I love food but more than anything because food was fertile ground for exploring difference, but I dont love what food tv and more importantly what food has become in our culture: a drug. I had a really rough 2018- early 2019, got high and just ate myself to sleep watching Harry Potter a lot lol but Im getting back on my shit. Take a moment, think about it, and reexamine your relationship with food because it’ll make the Earth and ourselves very very sick if we keep abusing it.
Whether or not he sticks to his guns and truly switches to vegan, the stance alone is a powerful one. Oftentimes it takes celebrities speaking out to inspire action on a large scale and Huang’s actions are certainly commendable. You definitely don’t need to go vegan in order to help, but everyone should feel inspired to do something. It can be as simple as sharing a post. Let’s hope climate awareness continues to grow as the world comes together to save the Amazon.