Emil Guillermo: On Earth Day, save the planet. Save yourself. Go vegan.

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On the week of Earth Day, there was a tornado warning in California’s Central Valley.

A tornado warning in the middle of the farmlands where many of our Chinese, Japanese and Filipino ancestors worked in the 1860s, the 1930s, and the 1940s.

In 2022 there is a tornado warning.

That should be enough to convince you that climate change is real.

That is, if you still need to be convinced after the examples of extreme fires and flooding and the wild swings in temperatures–examples that abound not just in California, but all around the world.

California’s still not Kansas, but to paraphrase that infamous tornado victim Dorothy, “Toto, we’re not on the same earth anymore.”

You want the old earth back? The planet the way we used to know it? Then act now or we’ll be lucky to preserve what we have.

There’s enough science out there to convince you that the destruction from climate change is real.

Do I need to cite the benchmarks from the UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in 2021? To avoid catastrophic climate change, the world has known since the Paris meeting of 2015 that temperature increases need to stay below 2 degrees Celsius of warming (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The goal was to hold warming to under 1.5 degrees C. Nothing like a little buffer. But we haven’t achieved that.

We’re more like 2.1 degrees C.

And that means we get to see in real time the previews of what real catastrophic change could look like. But just a taste in the hopes we might self-motivate to do something to save the planet.

But since now we’re thinking about it, what can we do about it on just one day?

If you’re in an urban area, you can plant a tree. In Boston, the city found planting trees in Chinatown helped reduce the summer heat there significantly, making Boston’s Chinatown cooler and more livable.

Here’s another idea. Stop eating meat.

Not necessarily go vegan. But if you’re an Asian with a distaste for lactose, you’re halfway there already.

Go all the way. Stop eating meat.

Here’s the benefit to the earth: One study published in the journal Science said that without meat and dairy consumption, farmland could be reduced by more than 75 percent—an area equivalent to the size of the U.S., China, the EU, and Australia combined—and still be able to feed the world.

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research.

It’s even more important than cutting down on gas and fuel consumption, like buying an electric car, because that would only cut out greenhouse gas emissions.

All that just from abstaining from meat on Earth Day.

And if you like it, add a few more meatless and dairy-less days to your week. Soon you’ll be vegan and then you’ll see the other benefit—to your health.

Are you pre-diabetic? Have diabetes? Just one will kill you, you know.

Over 30 million people have diabetes in the U.S. and the majority have type 2 diabetes, which is avoidable and reversible through diet.

But most Asian Americans aren’t being screened for diabetes and don’t know they have it.

According to the FDA Office of Minority Health and Health Equity podcast, researchers are finding that risks for type 2 diabetes develop at a body mass index of 23.

That may sound skinny. But that might fool you into thinking you are not at risk.

Size doesn’t matter.

Of AAPIs, the FDA cites these ethnicities most at risk for diabetes: Pacific Islanders, which includes Samoans, Marshallese and others, Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, and South Asians, which include Asian Indian, Pakistani, and others.

While East Asian Americans, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, have lower rates of diabetes, they still have a higher risk compared to non-Hispanic whites.

The lesson then is to screen for diabetes even at a low BMI of 23.

Then go vegan and help the earth and yourself.

Do it for Earth Day and see why you should do it always.

Or you can wait until the next tornado warning in California.

NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on my “Emil Amok’s Takeout” at 2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. Updates at Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.

The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF’s views or policies.

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