One key thing you can do to help make it happen
Many of the things we’re told we should do to put a brake on global warming seem like they’re out of our control. And leaving the car in the garage, turning off the air conditioner, etc. can feel awkward and impractical. But there’s one simple thing we can all do that will make a big difference:
Cut down on the amount of meat we eat.
The simple fact is, greenhouse gas emissions from cows (front end and back end) are greater than all the vehicles in the world combined.
The rising demand for meat and dairy products, particularly among the new middle classes of China and India, means that we can no longer talk about the rising levels of greenhouse gases without talking the food we eat.
Very simply: a vegetarian diet actively lowers greenhouse gases; a meat and dairy diet adds to them.
You don’t have to go all-veggie all at once. A veggie day just once a week makes a big difference. School children in Baltimore are already doing it. Catholic people traditionally go meat-free once a week, too. (Save the fish by sparing them, too, on your meat-free day.)
There’s a whole organization, Meatout Mondays, that promotes this campaign and offers simple recipes to help you join in.
As more and more celebrities have joined in the Meatout Monday approach, the cattle industry has gone into crisis PR management.
Right after former Beatle Paul McCartney addressed the European Parliament on the subject, shortly before the do-nothing Copenhagen environmental summit, the factory farming industry and other meat farmers from around the world leaped to the rescue of their business.
“Cutting out meat one day a week might seem a simple solution, but there is little evidence to show any benefit,” said Rod Slater, the chief executive of Beef and Lamb New Zealand. “Suggesting meat’s not green is an emotive slur on [this] industry.”
But a study in the November 2009 issue of the magazine World Watch claimed more than half of human-produced, planet-warming gases are caused by meat industries.
Meanwhile, the World Organization for Animal Health is organizing a new study of the effect of meat output on climate change.