Eat Less Meat to Fight Climate Change

Today Good magazine launched its 30-day Challenge for June which is to not eat meat for the month. Regardless of whether someone thinks it is wrong to kill and animal for human consumption, eating less meat is better for the environment. As Henning Steinfeld, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official, said, “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.”

An FAO report from a few years ago titled, Livestock’s Long Shadow states that the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, more than transportation. Livestock are responsible for nine percent of carbon emissions, according to the FAO report, 37 percent of methane (which has a warming affect 23 times greater than carbon), 65 percent of nitrous oxide and 64 percent of ammonia emissions (responsible for acid rain and acidification of ecosystems).

Livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,564 million tons of carbon a year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions, according to the Worldwatch Institute, which believes that 25,048 million tons of carbon from livestock have been undercounted or overlooked.

Livestock production has increased by 60 percent since 1961, according to the WI. The amount of poultry raised for human consumption globally almost quadrupled since 1961. Beef and pork consumption in the U.S. has tripled since 1970, and doubled in Asia. The FAO report projects that global meat production will more than double from 1999 levels by 2050.

If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 20 percent it would be equivalent to switching from a standard sedan to a hybrid, according to calculations by geophysicists Gidon Eshel and Pamela A. Martin.

“In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity,” said Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there.” Pachauri is a vegetarian.

“Urgent action is required to remedy the situation,” Steinfeld said.

Be someone who takes action: stop eating meat for a month, and sign the Care2 petition, Go Vegetarian!


Photo from maraker via flickr


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Anton K.
Past Member 5 years ago

To hell with climate change! I won't eat it at all because an innocent creature's life is worth more than what's yummy in my tummy.

Julie R.
Julie R5 years ago

Well Laura P if you like meat so much go out and kill it yourself, you wouldn't eat so much of it if you had to do it yourself, we don't think we are superior we just don't like eating decomposing meat but if you want to kill yourself go ahead it is one of the main causes of cancer I say don't treat poeple for cancer who like meat so much you are costing the goverment money treating you.

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak5 years ago

It does not have to be vegan for a month. Start with meatless meals ,occasionally, spaghetti, a salad, vegetable soup. Just one meal a week or a day will have a dramatic impact if everyone does it.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Noted. Thanks for the great article.

Janine Hofmann
Janine H6 years ago

Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Christine S.

If you reduce your meat consumption, especially beef, you will help save the lives of countless wolves and buffalo that are killed every year because the livestock ranchers demand their deaths.

Laura Portillo
Laura Portillo6 years ago

Im sorry, but this is one of the reasons why i hate vegetarians. they think they are so superior to everyone else cause they are "saving the planet" shut the hell up

clara H.
Clara Hamill6 years ago

At least the article is not one of those self righteous go vegan or your evil pieces. Nice I think someone finally realized scream and pushing your views don't work now if some of the commenter would do the same.