Eco-Friendly Eating: You Don't Have to be Vegan

Eco-Friendly Eating: You Don't Have to be Vegan

We’ve all heard that cows cause global warming, but what are the facts behind that? Does brisket really impact the world that much?

Research shows that in fact, it does. For this to make sense though, it helps to remember the size of the cattle industry, which boasts 37.6 million beef and dairy cows in the U.S. alone. Globally, 33% of greenhouse gas emissions come from food production, and over half of the emissions coming from food production are from the meat industry. In other words, “The use of cows, pigs and other animals for food … is responsible for 57% of all food production emissions …. Beef alone accounts for a quarter of [these] emissions.”

The past century has seen the fastest rise of fossil fuels being produced by humans on record. This rise in fossil fuels is causing the earth to warm, generating a negative ripple effect through our ecosystems. With the meat industry tripling within the past fifty years, it's producing a substantial amount of greenhouse gases, it’s important to cut our meat consumption and encourage others to do the same.

Obviously, it’s not always a viable option to cut meat or animal products completely out of your diet, so what are some other options besides going completely vegan or vegetarian that would still greatly help the earth? Choose one or more options from the following list to try and let us know how it goes!

  1. Make half of your weekly meals vegetarian, or join in on "Meatless Mondays."

The point of this tip is to encourage you to reduce the amount of meat you consume every week. Maybe you take one day a week to consciously make your “vegetarian day.” For example, if everyone in the United States made one day of the week their “Meatless Monday” for one year, it “would be equivalent to taking over 1.6 million cars off the road for a year or recycling 2.7 million tons of waste instead of discarding it in landfills. This reduction is also greater than the … impact of … all current vegans.”

If you’re worried about finding vegetarian meals to cook, there are an infinite number of recipes at your fingertips! You could start by making a favorite meal minus the meat, or check out Pick Up Limes, Carleigh Bodrug, or Fit Green Mind as starting points.

  1. Eat vegetarian when you eat out.

Although some restaurants are obviously not the most sustainable, there are plenty working towards becoming more environmentally friendly by expanding their menus. Many have started carrying vegan and vegetarian options, including some in downtown York like Prince Street Café, Hamir’s Indian FusionArchetype Pizza, and World Grills. If you don’t live in York but are looking for vegan or vegetarian food, the app/website Happy Cow shows restaurants with vegetarian and vegan options.

  1. Only eat meat when you eat out.

Though completely contradictory to the previous point, this choice is another completely valid eco-friendly direction to take. If you decide to only eat meat when you eat out (assuming this is about once a week) the positive impact that will have on the environment is great! This alternative dietary lifestyle is akin to being a homebody vegetarian. Someone who doesn’t cook meat for themselves, but will eat it when out and about, visiting friends, on vacation, etc. Expanding on the stats from Meatless Mondays, if you went 6 days a week without meat for a year, it would be equivalent to taking over 9.6 million cars off the road for a year or recycling 16.2 million tons of waste.

  1. Just eat birds.

A silly, yet doable statement! Beef can produce 3 times more greenhouse gas emissions than chickens do annually. If you look at greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of food product, cows actually produces up to 10 times more greenhouse gases than chicken. These emissions come from the processing of beef including the food waste produced, and the amount of land/food it takes to care for the animals. By eating chicken, turkey, or poultry in general, you will be helping our earth, albeit in a seemingly small way. Even so, your change could cause a butterfly effect, influencing the people in your life to make the change as well. Our choices to reduce our personal carbon footprints indicate the changes we as consumers want big corporations to make.

There are so many more steps you can take to reduce meat consumption than the ones listed here! If these don’t work for you, come up with your own ways to reduce meat consumption and put them in the comment section below! If you're comfortable, you can even share about your lifestyle change with friends in non-invasive ways, like having them over for a homecooked vegetarian meal or cooking up some veggie burgers as an alternative option for gatherings this summer.

It’s a good thing to examine the different areas of impact our lives have on our planet. We really don’t have a second earth to turn to, so we need to try to reverse the damage consumerism has caused as best we can (one veggie burger at a time).


M, Monika. How Many Cows Are In The US: A State-By-State Head Count. World Animal Foundation.

M, Oliver. Meat accounts for nearly 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production, study finds. The Guardian.

What Is Climate Change? United Nations.

The Benefits of Meatless Monday. GRACE Communications Foundation.

Meat, Menus and Meatless Monday. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

R, Hannah. The carbon footprint of foods: are differences explained by the impacts of methane? Our World in Data.

Global Warming: How Does It Relate to Poultry? The University of Georgia.

R, Hannah, Pablo Rosado, and Max Roser. Meat and Dairy Production. Our World in Data.

Regresar al blog

Deja un comentario

Ten en cuenta que los comentarios deben aprobarse antes de que se publiquen.