Eat less meat and take a load off the planet

Posted by Laura Grant on October 1, 2008
Posted in Food, Green tips, Lifestyle

Want to do something to help combat global warming? Eat less meat. This is the sage advice of the head of the world’s top scientific body on climate change, the IPCC.

“Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there,” Dr Rajendra Pachauri, was recently quoted in The Observer as saying.

This is one of the most effective lifestyle changes you could make to decrease your carbon footprint. Meat production is responsible for about a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, says the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Emissions are generated along the chain from clearing forests to grow crops for animal feed or to provide pasture for livestock, to the fertiliser needed to produce enough food for animal feeds to the methane emitted by flatulent ruminants to the carbon emissions produced during the transport of meat products to markets around the world.

Researchers at the University of Chicago have said that becoming a vegetarian does more to fight global warming that trading in your big butch gas-guzzling car for a hybrid, the Observer reports

According to the Worldwatch Institute, 42kg of meat is produced per person per year, last year about 60 percent of that meat was produced in developing countries. But in terms of consumption, people in the developing world eat about 30 kilograms of meat a year compared with the more than 80kg a year that a person in the developed world eats.

Worldwatch notes that global meat production is expected to reach 456-million tonnes by 2050 – this is nearly double that of 2001.

So, perhaps today – which happens to be World Vegetarian Day – is a good day to go meatless and to resolve to start being mindful about the amount of meat (including chicken) we consume and the effect it has on the planet.

Comments

One Response to “Eat less meat and take a load off the planet”

  1. Mya
    October 2nd, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

    Those statistics were so incredibly shocking the first time I read about them. I am still appalled by facts like it takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat while it takes only 25 gallons of water to grow one pound of wheat…However, even if we’re constantly bombarded with stats like this we still have to face the issue of changing a culture that is hundreds of years old which is in itself a daunting and seemingly impossible task. I actually work for a campaign called Meatless Monday where we advocate going meatless one day a week to reduce your saturated fat intake and thereby lower your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. I think that taking small steps such as going meatless one day a week is absolutely necessary for a movement of this magnitude to take off. See http://www.meatlessmonday.com/dyk_envioronment for more info!

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