Can You Save the World by Eating Less Meat?

By | Mar 30, 2010

We’ve gone over three weeks with no fast food in our household, and have noticed some dramatic changes. For one, we’re spending less time fighting wicked cravings for Big Macs – whatever they put in that sauce makes you want to indulge. Second, we’re far less interested in sugary drinks and snacks like coke and chips. The longer we eat fresh food prepared by us, the more money we save and the healthier we feel. (Doesn’t it make you wonder how all those chemicals affect your body?)

We’ve been eating far fewer portions of meat compared to before, and have been seeing benefit to that, too. I am by no means suggesting that people should go without meat if they enjoy it, but reducing comsumption brings about serious benefits.

Consider how that hamburger is produced:

  1. Petroleum-based chemicals are sprayed on farmland in order to yield grain crops
  2. The majority of our farmland is used to produce feed for meat animals
  3. The average cow is slaughtered at 21 months – that means 21 months of eating grains and corn which may have otherwise fed people; 21 months of producing CO2 and methane greenhouse gas emissions
  4. The cow is transported by truck to slaughterhouse
  5. The cow is slaughtered and transported by truck to processing
  6. Once processed, beef is trucked to grocery stores, restaurants, etc for consumption

Without being scientific about it, every time we bite into that Big Mac, we pollute as much as we would if we were driving an SUV on the highway each day. By some estimates, the meat industry causes more emissions than the entire transportation system.

In our household, meat won’t be eliminated from our diet any time soon. Nor does the environmental aspect of the problem hit close enough to home to cause a cutback. Instead, we’ve embraced the healthy feeling we get from consuming more fruits, nuts and vegetables; it feels more pure, somehow.

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