Why You Should Eat Less Meat To Save Our Planet

As part of human nature and survival people eat meat. Humans, as predators, hunt, kill, skin, and consume their prey. 

As humanity has evolved, arguably for the better, the environment and greenhouse gas emissions have consistently gotten worse. 

According to the United Nations we have approximately 12 years to prevent a major climate change crisis, I believe the most effective and attainable way for any person to achieve this is by eating less meat, red meat specifically. If humanity has evolved and changed for the better, why can’t we do it again for the sake of ourselves and the world we live in? 

By cutting down your consumption of meat you would not only limit your impact on greenhouse gas emissions, but also limit deforestation, and save water.

Beef production is incredibly harmful: requiring 160 times more land and releasing 11 times more greenhouse gasses than plant-based proteins such as chickpeas, almonds, and quinoa.  While producing 1 kilogram of beef, 36 kilograms of CO2 are released into the atmosphere. Putting this in perspective, if you ate 25 burgers that would be equivalent to roughly 1 ton of greenhouse gas emissions. Which is the same as 102 gallons of gasoline consumption. 

  This may not seem like a lot, but as a whole meat production makes up 14.8% of the anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions, and comes to a total of 7.1 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. 

Not only does beef consumption release an immense amount of greenhouse gas, but it also is a main contributor to deforestation. Agriculture contributes to 47% of deforestation worldwide, but even more so beef production makes up 39% of that 47%.

One of the highest concentrations of deforestation caused by the production of beef is the Amazon, which is home to millions of species who are now in risk of endangerment due to the beef industry. In Brazil alone, which contains the largest part of the Amazon, over half of the deforestation came from pasture in the last twenty years.

Three years ago becoming a vegetarian could have been hard for meat lovers, but today there are dozens of companies creating fake meat with the closest consistencies and tastes the market has ever seen. 

If fully giving up meat seems unattainable, reducing meat consumption by even small amounts would dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. If everyone in the United States gave up a quarter of the amount of meat they eat now, we would save about 82.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. 

Going fully vegetarian would only further diminish your impact on global warming, and although meat is a big part of many cultures, due greatly to the historical precedent of people living off of meat, today Americans eat less meat than they did in the 1970s and I believe we can do that again.

Especially when giving up meat would mean limiting greenhouse gas emissions, saving forests, and saving water.

This article appeared in the February edition of The East Vision.