Environment & Conservation

Today, climate change is a paramount issue, and it is up to every person to do their part to minimize the damages. To me, sustainability is doing one’s part to reduce their carbon footprint in a way that benefits all areas of their life, and is cost effective and sustainable in their lifestyle. After attending the Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador Summit and meeting dairy farmers (and visiting dairy farms), I have been inspired to get more involved in sustainability efforts in my school and community.

I have a passion for the environment and that is one of the reasons why I feel it is so important to look into how dairy farms reduce their carbon footprint. Dairy farms are portrayed as places that negatively affect the environment and many people don’t take it upon themselves to do the research on how sustainable they are becoming. I used to be one of these people; however, after talking to numerous dairy farmers and doing extensive research, I have learned that there are many measures that dairy farms are now adopting that are significantly reducing these farms’ carbon footprint.

Once I began to conduct my research, I realized how much dairy farmers really do care about reducing their emissions. With new innovations and creative ideas, dairy farmers are doing their part to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses being released from their farms. Cow manure is a large source of methane, which is a harmful greenhouse gas, and some farms now have methane digesters which turn the manure into energy. The larger farms now have this device, but due to its cost many farms cannot afford it. There are also many programs that are working to create environmentally friendly devices that dairy farms can use. Besides these devices, dairy farmers recycle much of what they use. They use their water in many different ways before it is consumed by the cow, and when the cow’s manure is used as a fertilizer, it allows the soil to absorb more water. Bigger dairy farms can also use renewable energy, and smaller ones that cannot afford things such as methane digesters can do their part to recycle a lot of the resources that they use. Farmers can also invest in LED lights and make it one of their priorities to limit their carbon footprint. Besides that, dairy farmers have a passion for what they do that is unparalleled by any other group, and that is what makes them so special. They know that in order to do what is best for their farm, they have to do what is best for their animals and the environment. But it is important to keep in mind, while these are great steps to preserve the environment, there are still many measures that need to be taken to ensure that every farm can implement these changes in a way that is affordable and sustainable.

Kayla Bello
Youth Council Leader
Florida
9th Grade