Mic Wakeup: Fact-checking Trump, going vegan to save the earth and North Korea causes Olympic drama


It’s Thursday, Feb. 1. Here are three stories you need to read.

Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union — here’s how factual it was

On Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address. Though a large majority of Americans said they approved of Trump’s speech, it appears everything in it wasn’t exactly truthful.

Take, for example, Trump’s claim that he and his fellow Republicans just passed the largest tax cut in history.

“We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history,” Trump said. “Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.”

However, according to Politifact, the recent tax bill is only the fourth largest to be enacted since 1940. Moreover, the site explained that when adjusted for inflation, this bill is only the seventh largest ever.

Read up on Mic’s State of the Union fact-check here.

Sorry, but going vegan won’t save the planet

Veganism can be a wonderful choice for some people. Be it an ethical or wholistic health choice, the diet truly can be a game-changer. However, if you chose this animal-free lifestyle, please refrain from claiming you’re saving the planet by reducing your carbon footprint.

Many vegans tend to believe that if everyone ate the same way and the United States stopped producing meat, we could save the environment immediately. However, as a November report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes, if this actually happened we wouldn’t have enough food to feed the nation.

“Different types of carefully balanced diets — vegan, vegetarian, omnivore — can meet a person’s needs and keep them healthy, but this study examined balancing the needs of the entire nation with the foods we could produce from plants alone,” Mary Beth Hall, one of the study’s researchers and an Agricultural Research Service animal scientist at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, said in a statement. “There’s a difference between what’s possible when feeding one person versus feeding everyone in the U.S.”

Moreover, the team found that if the entire country moved to a plant-based diet it would only decrease total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 2.6%. Surely a win, just not as big of a win as many would hope.

So what is the most sustainable option for both the environment and providing enough food for everyone? According to a 2016 study published in the journal Elementa, that honor goes to “dairy-friendly vegetarian” diet, which feeds 807 million people to veganism’s 735 million.

North Korea’s involvement in the Winter Olympics is causing some strife

The Olympic Games are meant to break down barriers and bring all people together over a sporting event or two. However, this winter’s games, held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are already causing drama before the Olympic flame is even lit.

And it all comes down to the fact that North Korea — an oppressive, dictator-run nation — is sending its athletes to the games. Moreover, North and South Korea have decided to use one unifying flag for the opening and closing ceremonies.

“Even in a situation where North and South Korea are in a good relationship, I think the government should prioritize South Korean athletes and be considerate to them first,” Kang Ji-yoon, a 20-year-old college student living in South Korea, said about her feelings toward the one Korean team in an interview. “My feelings about the flag are very negative. I don’t think it’s appropriate. We’re not a unified country yet … Also, it’s not our official flag,” she added.

However, for others the unified front has eased the anxious feelings that decades of contentious rhetoric between the two countries has brought.

“It will give some relief to the tense relationship between North and South Korea,” Lee Sang-cheon, a 47-year-old office worker, said. “The problem is, the process of [collaborating with North Korea] has caused a lot of problems and upset in the South — especially with the women’s ice hockey town. I feel bad about that. I think this is necessary for holding a peaceful Olympics.”