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Eating Less Meat is Better for the World

Eating Less Meat is Better for the World

If you haven’t been following some of the reporting on meat consumption over the last several months, you may not find it to be amusing that Forbes, one of the leading conservative publications has published a long article on how reducing one’s meat consumption relates to helping the planet.

“Today, tens of billions more livestock are exhaling CO2 than in preindustrial days, while Earth’s photosynthetic capacity (its capacity to keep carbon out of the atmosphere by absorbing it in plant mass) has declined sharply as forest has been cleared. (Meanwhile, of course, we add more carbon to the air by burning fossil fuels, further overwhelming the carbon-absorption system.)”, wrote two researchers who have studied livestock agriculture and climate change.” (Source: Forbes)

The researchers also pointed out that livestock are a human invention. They did not exist in their current form and function in Nature many years ago, which means we can also make changes to how they exist now to avert disaster. If we don’t reduce our contributions to climate change, the impacts of our behavior have been predicted to be so damaging, it is hard for us to imagine at this point how destructive they could be. Livestock populations may double by 2050, if current demands continue. Similarly the human population is also growing and has been predicted to be over 9 billion by 2050.

This would make the amount of livestock-related emissions even more unacceptable than today’s perilous levels. It also means that an effective strategy must involve replacing livestock products with better alternatives, rather than substituting one meat product with another that has a somewhat lower carbon footprint.

Of course, such a brief overview of climate change’s complexity is oversimplifying the situation, but the fact that Forbes has published an article about reducing meat consumption at least somewhat suggests how the issue can transcend ideological positions. In short, we all need each other to participate in solutions and so do all the other species on the planet.

If you aren’t motivated much by concern for the Earth or other species because it seems too remote or disconnected, you may like to consider how reducing meat consumption can benefit your own health. For example, about one million Americans die from heart disease each year, and one contributing factor is food choices. Various research studies have pointed to a link between red meat consumption and heart disease.

Image Credit: Michael C. Berch

 

Related Links

Is Eating Red Meat Deadly?

Risks of Eating Red Meat

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, Make a Difference

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133 comments

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1:44AM PDT on Oct 21, 2012

Thank you for sharing :)

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Interesting article. Am tired of being lectured to by vegans believing that their truth is the Only Truth and the rest of us are monsters. If Nature had been vegan approved then she would have designed us to subsist solely on inorganic matter such as rocks instead of feeding on the death of other living organisms be it meat, veggies and other organic entities. Not much I can do about my DNA and yes there is choice but I have made mine.

I like meat and will continue to eat it along with eggs, honey, asparagus--sorry I cut the plant up and consumed it instead of letting it grow wild but at least left the roots for the next year.
Have eaten almonds and seeds which will never reproduce - sacrificing the lives of those potential plants to be. Spiders are nasty beasties for feeding on living insects.

Even if one is vegan, the land fill is chock full of unused lettuce, cabbage and other foods that were not eaten in time leaving greenhouse gases for more global warming. With GMOs grabbing up so much of the veggie and fruit farming industry there are chemicals and other detrimental ramifications for mankind. GMO seeds replacing heritage seeds leaving many tasteless tomatoes and apples... Unless one is lucky to obtain purely organic farmed veggies and fruits with no chemicals used--not every person has or can afford that option.

I try and balance my diet, some days with no meat as quinoa is tasty and there are many foods to be sampled instead of sticking with one type eve

4:49PM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

not surprising but for me meat has been hard to give up completely... I do love my bacon, steak and fish

10:59PM PDT on May 21, 2012

Isn't the "bottom line", eating less of EVERYTHING "better for the world"? With the exceptions of those cultures where starvation is the norm, then most of us eat too much of everything, period. Eating less soybeans and corn would benefit the environment as much as eating less meat in MANY ways. We don't need the sugar we consume, and look at the amount of land used to grow sugar cane and in my state, sugar BEETS.

6:03PM PDT on May 10, 2012

Hear, hear!!!

6:01PM PDT on May 10, 2012

Hear, hear!!!

5:36AM PDT on May 7, 2012

My apologies - I posted my comment in the wrong thread!

4:49AM PDT on May 7, 2012

An observational study is not science. First comes the question, which is a “hypothesis”, and to answer that question it must be tested by being applied to one of 2 or more identical groups. If there is a clear and obvious difference between the groups at the end of the trial, you have some clear evidence to support your theory - not proof, but good evidence.

In this “study”, nobody was put into a group, no diet was provided and tested. Nobody came into a clinic for examination and blood tests. Thousands of people filled out a food frequency questionnaire a few times over the course of 30 years or so, and since people are not likely to give an exact figure for how much meat they ate over the last month, it was estimated for them. If they were heavy, drank or smoked, it was assumed that they underestimated their meat intake: if they were very healthy, took vitamin supplements and reported healthy habits, it was assumed that they overestimated their meat intake on the questionnaire. The abstract for all the similar Harvard studies clearly state that the researchers “adjusted the estimates to more accurately reflect the subject’s lifestyle.”

If anyone is considering vegetarianism, they deserve nothing less than truthful information. These “studies” are doctored surveys, done with the sole purpose of manipulating people to become vegetarians. They are for animal rights, not your health.

1:46AM PDT on May 7, 2012

Wow! I didn't know you knew Polish!

1:40AM PDT on May 7, 2012

Prosze bardzo, Teresa. Chetnie :-)
Smacznego i pozdrawiam serdecznie.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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