CPEF Blog Competition Winner! Gender and the Environment

Central Pathfinders Environmental Foundation ran an environmental blog competition for the month of April along with several partners which includes myself, Yugen Caribbean, Harmony Eco Products, and My Beach, My Water.

Entrants were invited to submit any number of articles based on one or more of the following five
themes. –

  1. Gender & the Environment
  2. Sustaining all life on Earth
  3. Building a Zero Hunger Generation
  4. Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean
  5. Food brings Everyone to the Table

With her captivating piece on “Gender and The Environment”, Megan Pirali, a student at the University of the West Indies studying communications with a minor in marketing and management is the winner of the competition. She has always been avidly concerned about the environment and animal welfare, and through her writing and previous instances of blogging she has been able to share that concern. Her goal is to use her degree to further spread information to aid with climate change and other environmental issues. You can follow her journey on her blog https://meganzahra.com/.

Her piece is featured below !

Gender & The Environment

Bro is it gay to recycle?

It’s no secret that Trinidad and Tobago has a rampant culture of hyper-masculinity. Almost every man in this society will go the extra mile to prove that he name man. But how is this reflected in his day to day activities?

According to a study done by the University of Utah, researcher Aaron Brough found that environmentalism is often associated with femininity. Furthermore, an article by ABC News, toxic masculinity may be a shockingly large contributor to climate change. Consider the attributes of manliness; a big truck or powerful vehicle, large amounts of meat consumption and a “don’t-care” attitude. All direct and significant contributors to climate change. While I am in no way condoning the continuation of this machismo culture, this article will include suggestions to live comfortably while still assisting the global efforts against climate change.

The original thought of a hybrid or electric vehicle was that they were nothing but slow cars for tree huggers. Many still opt for the gas guzzling cars and SUVs for the sake of social status and appearance. I mean, when last you see two men racing loud sports cars on the north bound Solomon Hochoy highway, or a big diesel van sitting in traffic spewing thick black smoke out the exhaust. Common sights, right? But we have since moved from hybrids being only the slow old model Prius. Now many luxury brands are producing hybrid versions of popular vehicles that are just as stylish, comfortable and most importantly as fast as the rest. And you can even take things a step further by opting for a fully electric luxury vehicle such as a Tesla. You now have the option to maintain the same status and still save on gas and save the planet.

Now onto one of the biggest problems affecting climate change: animal agriculture. This is one of the easiest changes we can make in our everyday lives, yet it is still severely overlooked. According to an article published by the Guardian in 2017, animal agriculture alone is responsible for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases and it uses as much as 70% of arable land. Now we know Trini men love their meat, and they’d eat anything from beef to iguanas. Many of us include at least one form of meat in every meal. A typical Sunday lunch for the “man of the house” would mean his plate is half potato salad, green salad and fry rice and the other half is stew chicken. Seems like a lot for one person? Now imagine how many plates like this are served in thousands of households across the country weekly or even daily. Now I’m not saying that everyone should go vegetarian, but simple reductions such as a meatless day can have ripple effects and decrease the amount of meat produced. And lucky for you, thanks to modern innovation there are great soy-free meat substitutes that taste as good as the real thing. You can still get that juicy Beyond Meat burger for more than half of the environmental cost.

Finally, it may seem cool not to care, but your lack of empathy costs future generations their planet. This same don’t care attitude leads to littering. According to an article by WasteDive in 2016, men are more likely to litter than women. This is further supported by Brough who again writes that men attempt to secure their gender identity by remaining indifferent towards environmental issues. With the prevalence of littering in Trinidad and Tobago it comes as no surprise that a large contributor to the problem would be men. Approximately 22.3% of men smoke in Trinidad and Tobago as opposed to 5.1% of women according to The Tobacco Atlas in 2015. And where do these cigarettes go? Of course, they are carelessly tossed into drains and grassy areas. It’s no secret that flooding in the rainy season and bush fires in the dry are continuous problems for our twin island state, yet simple care and concern for the environment can eradicate these problems almost overnight.

 Is your masculinity really worth the degradation of your home and the home of your great grandchildren?

Would you maintain your current lifestyle if you could see the irreparable damage that you are causing?

These simple fixes are just the start but can greatly decrease the problems we are facing today.

Sources:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/04/animal-agriculture-choking-earth-making-sick-climate-food-environmental-impact-james-cameron-suzy-amis-cameron

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.abc.net.au/article/11797210

https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucw044

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