For many of us, our diets are a touchy subject. No one likes to be told what to eat, and many Americans are particularly sensitive to the subject of their meat consumption.
Over the decades, as meat has become more and more affordable and ubiquitous in supermarkets, animal products have become less of a garnish within a meal and more of a staple. But we can’t avoid an uncomfortable truth: today’s meat production processes are unfortunately some of the largest contributors to anthropomorphic-related climate change.
Indeed, a report from 2006 places 18% of global GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions at the feet of the livestock industry, and more recent analysis suggests that the number is closer to a staggering 51% [more information is available here and here]. Livestock contribute to GHG emissions through respiration, methane emissions, livestock land use, and related energy used for the “production, distribution, and disposal” of byproducts and packaging. Antibiotic resistance and medical treatment for livestock are additional concerns that have emerged as the international meat industry has exploded in recent years.
Cutting back on meat consumption even one or two times a week is one way to significantly reduce your own carbon footprint (by as much as a ton!), and the diversity of today’s food options makes that a relatively painless decision. Here are a few additional resources on going meatless, below:
image source: http://sphere.heifer.org/site/?c=edJRKQNiFiG&b=4172985