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.