It’s funny how sometimes you can be so close to something that you overlook an important part of it! That saying “He can’t see the forest for the trees” applies nicely here – especially in light of what I missed. One of my team members at Lightlife mentioned that I overlooked one of the most effective ways you can make a difference for our environment on Earth Day in my previous post! By reducing or eliminating meat from your diet, you’re making an impact on meat production, which — according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization — accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.1
As a vegetarian myself, I sometimes forget how much of an impact my diet decisions have on our planet everyday! Since eating meatless is something I do all the time, it didn’t dawn on me that my Earth Day post was missing some vital information for our veggie-friendly readers. However, I think it’s extremely important for everyone to realize the effects of their diet choices — on Earth Day, and every other day as well. After reviewing some of the facts, it has only reinforced my passion for eating meatless, and I have a feeling it will do the same for you all.
Even though Earth Day has come and gone, I’m a big believer in that every day should be treated as Earth Day. So I thought it would be appropriate to share some surprising facts about meat production. After reading them, I’m pretty sure you all will be able to make your own conclusions on how eating less of it can help make a difference for our Mother Earth each and every day.
- Beef is the single food with the greatest potential impact on the environment.2
- The enormous volume of meat, pork and poultry farm waste can’t be re-processed, and can potentially end up in our waterways.3
- Less than half of the harvested acreage in the US is used to grow food for people. For every sixteen pounds of grain and soybeans fed to beef cattle, we get back only one pound of meat.4
- On average, land requirements for meat-protein production are 10 times greater than for plant-protein production.5
- Producing 1 kg of animal protein requires approximately 100 times more water than producing 1 kg of grain protein.6
Surprised? Old news? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Lightlife Team Member
2 Baroni L, Berati M, Cenci L, Tettamanti M (2006). Evaluating the environmental impact of various dietary patterns combined with different food production systems. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Eur J Clin Nutr. 61(2):283
3 Conrow R, Cox C, Disla L, Lanou A, Neulist S (2005). The Promise of Plant-based Nutrition. Nutrition Advocate. 3(9):6-7
4 Gussow JD (1994). Ecoloogy and vegetarian considerations: does environmental responsibility demand the elimination of livestock? AM J Clin Nutr 59 (Suppl), 1111S
5 Leitzmann C (2003). Nutrition ecology: the contribution of vegetarian diets. AM J Clin Nutr 78 (Suppl), 658S
6 Pimentel D, Piementel M (2003). Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment. AM J Clin Nutr 78 (Suppl), 662S