Looking for a way to cut your carbon footprint, but can’t give up your car? Avoid eating meat, but particularly beef.
According to Think Progress, studies show that beef is the worst when it comes to harming the environment. Cattle require 28 times more land, 11 times more water, and results in 5 times more greenhouse gas emissions than any other food livestock out there.
Think Progress reports that researchers found beef cattle, and dairy cattle, account for nearly 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock. 54 percent of that is from beef cattle, and 17 percent from dairy cattle. They say this is mostly because of sheer numbers, but also because of the methane and nitrous oxide they emit.
Of the other livestock raised for food, sheep account for nine percent of greenhouse gas emissions, buffalo made up seven percent, pigs made up five percent, and goats made up four percent. After doing the math, poultry appears to make up less than one percent.
Giving up beef is easier than giving up your car.
Demand for beef is on the rise, so even while countries make strides to be more efficient when it comes to raising livestock for food, they’re unable to get ahead of the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems associated with feeding everybody within their borders. Researchers expect the demand for beef to double by the year 2050.
However, if we stopped eating beef altogether, we’d save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide per person, per year, which is the equivalent of burning 61 gallons of gasoline, or the emissions created from burning 580 pounds of coal, according to The Seattle Times. In other words, one pound of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than burning one gallon of gasoline.
Giving up beef might be easier than giving up your car. Due to abysmal public transit in this country, many of us actually need our cars to get to and from work each day. However, despite all the burger joints, steak joints, and beef that’s available in grocery stores. You can still eat chicken, turkey, pork, eggs, and other meat, and still make a huge impact on the environment.
h/t Think Progress.
Featured photo: Photo: cc 2009, LWY via Wikimedia Commons.