The meat industry contributes more to global climate change than the transportation industry. The amount of methane produced by livestock, combined with our rapidly increasing consumption, exacerbates global warming. Not to mention the environmental degradation caused by livestock farming and the land destroyed for feed crops.
Knowing all this, why can’t I stop eating meat? Is it because it is so delicious? Or is it out of habit? Growing up one my family’s many nicknames for me was T-bone. Despite this, as an environmentalist, I do try to at least eat smart when it comes to meat.
Eating smart and sustainably when it comes to meat can be as simple as eating less meat, or eating the right kind of meat. Some basic suggestions:
- Eat locally raised meat (less transportation emissions)
- Eat smaller animals (fish and 2-legged animals have smaller impacts than 4-legged animals such as cows)
- Waste less (uneaten meat accounts for +20% of meat’s greenhouse gas emissions)
My favorite suggestion by far is Graham Hill’s weekday vegetarian argument. By eliminating meat during weekdays you cut 70% of your weekly meat intake. And you can still enjoy being a carnivore on the weekends. Check out his TED talk on why he is a weekday vegetarian here.
Also, the Environmental Working Group has a great guide on sustainable meat consumption. Learn the environmental and health impacts of your meat diet, as well as meat alternatives and solutions. Check out the “Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health” here.