Did you know that animal agriculture and eating meat are linked to climate change? Now I’m not here to preach because I still eat a diet that contains meat and dairy but the main lesson here is moderation. Cutting down on meat and dairy are also proven to improve your health and reduce your carbon footprint.
It’s believed that if a widespread vegetarian diet was adopted it could cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly two-thirds. Although it is unlikely everyone would turn to a vegetarian diet, habits like adopting a meatless Monday mentality could help reduce one’s carbon footprint. Did you know that it takes approximately 1,700 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef whereas it only takes only 39 gallons of water to produce a pound of vegetables?
Even just eating locally helps reduce your carbon footprint. 13% of US greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food alone. It would also help to refrain buying any meat that comes from the Amazon due to deforestation. There’s a reason the Amazon is called the “Lungs of Earth” is because of its ability to absorb about 25% of the earth’s carbon dioxide emissions and it also producing oxygen in return. As of right now cattle ranching is the biggest cause of deforestation, accounting for nearly 80% of deforestation rates.
Now cutting down on meat and dairy won’t only help the earth but will also help YOU. There have been numerous health benefits found to eating a more plant based diet. Dr. Cohen-Lewe stated that eating a lot of red meat can increase your chances of colorectal cancer – a diet rich in vegetables can decrease the risk of cancer due to veggies being in high in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. A diet also high in veggies can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
There is so much more to be said for cutting meat out of your diet, even if it’s only once a week! If you want to educate yourself more on meat consumption and how it effects the environment and your health you can watch documentaries like What the Health, Forks over Knives, Cowspiracy and Rotten which all can be found on Netflix.