Monday, March 8, 2010

Meatfree Mondays- saving our planet one hamburger at a time

A new study coming out of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies shows that when it comes to the net contribution to climate change the world's biggest problems are 1. on-road transportation, 2. burning biomass for cooking

(more than three billion people, or half the world’s population, cook in their homes using traditional fire and stoves; burning biomass fuels like wood, dung and crop waste. Day in and day out, for hours at a time, families breathe in lethal fumes from these cooking fires!)

and 3. raising animals for food.

If you are reading this, you probably do not use a biomass stove for cooking, but changing your diet can be the greatest and greenest personal lifestyle choice.

There are many reasons to decrease or eliminate meat consumption including compassion for other living things

(56 billion animals - 10 billion in the U.S. - are raised and slaughtered annually for food- hubby and I loved the Temple Grandin movie on HBO last month so much that we watched it two times in the same night, but even though her work made slaughterhouses more humane, they are still slaughterhouses and it's hard to think that our purchases support them)

the impact on our health

(eating less meat may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity)

and meat consumption's impact on the environment.

GASES: The livestock industry produces 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Who would think global warming by cow farts would not be a laughing matter!

: Livestock production is land intensive: a recent report by Greenpeace on land use in the largest meat producing state in Brazil found that cattle production was responsible for vastly more deforestation than all other crops combined.

CEREAL CROPS: A third of all cereal crops, and well over 90% of soya, goes into animal feed, not food for humans. Eating less meat will free up a lot of agricultural land which can revert to growing trees and other vegetation, which, in turn, will absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

WATER: Livestock production is water intensive: it accounts for around 8% of global human water use. The estimated 634 gallons of fresh water required to produce one hamburger is enough for a four-hour shower!

POLLUTION: Livestock production is the largest source of water pollutants worldwide- principally animal wastes, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures.

And worst of all, the meat industry is set to double its production by 2050 so even if they manage to lower emissions by 50%, as they have promised to, we will still be in the same position!

Meatfree Mondays is a wonderful program with delicious recipes by amazing chefs and some great ways to work small changes into your life that can make a global impact.

We have been doing this for a while now and have cut meat back to the weekends- I am still working on eliminating meat completely. Meatfree Monday is a good place to start for the serious changes we all need to make for a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and our planet.

New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what's wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants, too much fast food) and how it's putting the entire planet at risk.

It's 20 minutes, but if you listen to it while you are making dinner you won't regret it, I promise.


fhiona galloway said...

I totally agree. I am a veggie and have been for years.
Stop the mass meat consumption now!

Sherry said...

oooh, taking this TEDtalk to my studio this afternoon. Thanks.

I have not eaten meat for many of the reasons you mentioned for almost 20 years. About 10 years ago I stopped poultry.

I could go on and on...

stacy di said...

I love the meat free mondays idea! Our family doesn't eat much meat as it is...but making a designated day to go without meat is a fantastic idea!

I loved the Temple Grandin movie as well...Claire Danes was incredible!