Just One Day a Week
How you can help by skipping meat and cheese on Mondays
Many people already know that the beef industry contributes to global warming. Just for starters, it takes huge quantities of corn to fatten up the cows, who emit huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere.
But there are several other culprits, including cheese, lamb and other animal foods.
The Environmental Working Group’s new report, The Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health, has fascinating and enlightening information – like that one pound of beef requires 30 pounds of CO2 equivalents in emissions … but that one pound of lamb requires 43 pounds of those emissions.
The one-day-a-week solution
One of the biggest takeaways of the report is that if everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, over a year, the effect on emissions would be the equivalent of taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
Waste not, want not
The scientists who wrote the report factored in all stages of food production, processing, consumption and waste disposal. One of their conclusions:
“Twenty percent of beef’s emissions are related to the amount that we waste and send to landfills.”
Another conclusion, which should not be news to most people, concerns the health effects of eating more meat and cheese. The report notes that they are contributing to the nation’s most prevalent diseases.
“On the health front, the scientific evidence is increasingly clear that eating too much of these greenhouse gas-intensive meats boosts exposure to toxins and increases the risk of a wide variety of serious health problems, including heart disease, certain cancers, obesity and, in some studies, diabetes.”
Here’s one of the charts in the report, showing which foods are responsible for most and least CO2 emissions:
Overall, if you must eat meat, the report advises opting for grass-fed meat, lean cuts, meat without antibiotics or hormones, organic meat and certified humane meat. And don’t waste any.
For more information, see the full report.