Between reusable bags, commuting on bikes, and composting, we’re already taking the right steps to help the environment. And now, there’s another thing to add on your list of to-do’s.
Paul McCartney has recently launched Meat Free Monday, an environmental campaign to raise awareness of the impact of meat production and consumption has on climate change. Although eating meatless a few times a week to help the environment is old news, having a celebrity backing helping launch a worldwide initiative will, hopefully, fuel the
fire a little more.
Many folks are unaware that the production of livestock is responsible for a lot more than feeding a few omnivorous bellies. By swapping to vegetarian meals a few times a week, the benefits are pretty darn great.
The livestock industry is responsible for up to 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, some of which are emitted directly in the form of methane from livestock. Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Other emissions include nitrous oxide from manure (which has 298 times the potency of CO2), as well as those from fertilizers and transport.
The UN recently reported on the same topic. As our planet’s population moves towards 9.1 billion people by 2050, it will be unsustainable to continue a meat and dairy-rich diet. Meat producers, on the other hand, are hoping to double the global production of meat by 2050. This doesn’t seem possible.
Because it takes about 8kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef, it doesn’t quite make sense to focus on the meat over the grain. Millions of people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, and the majority of the grain goes to feed our livestock. 3.5 acres of land is used to feed the average meat eater, while only half an acre is used to feed a vegetarian. By focusing on less meat, we can feed more folks, and therefore, help reduce world hunger.
In addition to a healthy planet, vegetarian diets have also been linked to personal health. Less meat, dairy and eggs is connected to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The American Dietetic Association recently reported that vegetarian diets result in lower overall blood cholesterol, a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and a reduced rate of cancer and Type 2 diabetes. This is alongside a lower Body Mass Index and more nutrient-rich diet. They also have a lower Body Mass Index and a more nutrient-rich diet. (And there is more where that came from)
It’s not to hard to nix the meat once a week. It’s actually pretty simple: a bowl of oats with fresh berries for breakfast, a classic PB&J, hummus and pita or lentil soup for lunch, and a fresh pasta primavera for dinner.
The most important part? Spread the word. The more people that take part, the better it will be! Share your ideas, tell your friends, and get it started in your community.
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