Holy Cow

agriculture animal cattle close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Dear fellow tree huggers, bloggers, and socialites: Follow me on twitter @definearth if you would like to participate in a weekly eco-challenge! For my sustainability class we are being given weekly challenges to change our perspective on personal impact and to encourage discussion surrounding the environment. This week was #nomeatweek and it was a little challenging for me, but I have had some really good meals.

“…red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions.”

The Guardian: Giving up beef will reduce carbon.

Let me dig in a little more. As humans, we use a lot of energy. From the top, energy is consumed mainly for cars, planes, heating/cooling, lighting, gadgets, and food. The main thing that brings food to be number six on that list is red meat. Phew, at least I can still eat sausage. I love breakfast sandwiches. But why are innocent little cows so bad for the environment? It’s true that cows produce methane every time they burp. However, their impact on the environment extends farther than that. Think of all the effort that goes into raising cattle. The most environmentally conscious foods are those like corn that provide an individual with a high amount of calories for the least amount of energy to make. See my quote below from TheGuardian to clarify.

“…compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases.”

The Guardian: Giving up beef will reduce carbon.

Table 1, shown below, is from a free public document by the Pacific Institute called Driving vs. Walking: Cows, Climate Change, and Choice. The paper stemmed from a news station that claimed driving was better for the environment than walking. In fact, if a person was to eat only steak, it would be better for the environment if they were driven everywhere. If they were to burn calories walking, they would need to consume more meat that would only increase their energy demand on the environment. As you can see below, vegans can consume the same amount of calories as a non-vegan without the same CO2 emissions.

Table from Pacific Institute article Driving vs. Walking: Cows, Climate Change, and Choice.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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