Ancora Imparo

11 February 2008

More on the Environmental Costs of Eating Meat

Filed under: environment,global warming — Darmok @ 05:59 UTC
Tags: ,

Livestock’s high energy costs
See full-sized image or accompanying article. Credit: Bill Marsh/New York Times.

An article in the New York Times last week further explores the costs that consuming animals has on the environment. (Please see also my previous post, “Vegetarianism vs. Meat-Eating and Global Warming”.)

Here’s a short excerpt:

…But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation. To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. …

The only way we can make environmentally friendly changes is to be informed of the impacts those choices will have. This thought-provoking article helps to show just how our food choices can drain resources and contribute to pollution in varying amounts.

So if you’re thinking about purchasing a more fuel-efficient car or trying to think of what else you could do to help the planet, cutting back on meat is another option. In addition to the obvious health benefits and improvements in animal welfare, you can now add conservation of water, ameliorating climate change, and numerous other factors to reasons to reduce your consumption of meat.

(Thanks to my sister for sharing this article with me.)

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5 Comments

  1. […] Ancora Imparo: More on the Environmental Costs of Eating Meat […]

    Comment by Veggie Tuesday « the mindful mission — 12 February 2008 @ 10:21 UTC

  2. I am glad people are becoming aware of some of these issues that contribute to global warming that were never addressed before. Although emissions from cars cause a significant amount of pollution, this causes so much more!

    Comment by bebesundrop — 13 February 2008 @ 07:15 UTC

  3. Here is another article on the same issue from “New Scientist”:

    http://environment.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg19526134.500

    Comment by bebesundrop — 13 February 2008 @ 07:17 UTC

  4. Thanks for pushing that we can do good by cutting back. If it is all or nothing, than I am lost. I will not become a vegetarian. But cutting back? Yeah, I’ve been doing that anyhow. I can be more conscious of it.

    Jonathan

    Comment by jd2718 — 20 February 2008 @ 17:22 UTC

  5. I think that’s key: you can do more good by making modest but realistic changes is better than attempting grand ones and failing.

    It’s like driving: the best would be to skip the car all together and walk, ride a bicycle, or use public transportation. But if that’s not practical, even every car ride one forgoes is helpful, and every meat dish one skips is helpful!

    Comment by Darmok — 26 February 2008 @ 05:01 UTC


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