Burgers vs. The Climate
Salon magazine taps into the most important truth about climate change, which is that the single greatest change any human can make to help reduce greenhouse warming is to eat a lot less meat:
In their report, Goodland and Anhang note that when you account for feed production, deforestation and animal waste, the livestock industry produces between 18 percent and 51 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Add to this the fact that producing animal protein involves up to eight times more fossil fuel than what’s needed to produce an equivalent amount of non-animal protein, and you see that climate change isn’t intensified only by necessities like transportation and electricity. It is also driven in large part by subjective food preferences — more precisely, by American consumers’ unnecessary desire to eat, on average, 200 pounds of meat every year.
If you find it demoralizing that we are incinerating the planet and dooming future generations simply because too many of us like to eat cheeseburgers, here’s that good news I promised: In their report, Goodland and Anhang found that most of what we need to do to mitigate the climate crisis can be achieved “by replacing just one quarter of today’s least eco-friendly food products” — read: animal products — “with better alternatives.” That’s right; essentially, if every fourth time someone craved, say, beef, chicken or cow milk they instead opted for a veggie burger, a bean burrito or water, we have a chance to halt the emergency.
Here’s more from Goodland, who says that even the below video underestimates the massive contribution meat consumption makes to greenhouse warming. And the Daily Dish notes that others, like Mark Bittman and economist Tyler Cowen, are on board.
So it would be better to stop buying burgers than it would be to keep buying Priuses. Plus, you’ll be doing your heart a favor, too.