The Environmental Impact of Meat

The Environmental Impact of Meat
“Heavy Meat”
Meat has more impact on the environment than vegetables or grains.
Eat less or no meat and more veggies.

Oh boy.
There we go.
Let’s shall dive in without any kind of introduction, as I don’t find the right words for it anyway.

We eat too much meat and dairy and this has become unsustainable for our environment.

Why do we eat so much?

Mainly two reasons.
1. We have never been so many humans on earth : 7 billions. That’s a lot. (So much I’m considering not having kids right now. There I said it. Not today’s debate though.)
2. As countries became richer, the place of meat and animal products in our diet raised.
More demand in meat resulted in so called factory farming, where the animal density is high and production of meat fast mainly due to growth hormones.

The Impact of meat production on the environment :

1. Land Use
In order to produce meat we use land. Lots of it. To be exact 30% of the world’s land is solely reserved for meat production, that’s about the size of Asia.
Whaaat? How? You might ask.
Well for one, livestock needs some space to stand and graze. But it also needs to be fed.
From all the arable lands on earth (so all lands specifically meant for crop production) 33% are just to feed the livestock.

2. Global Warming
– Carbon Dioxide, aka CO2
Aka the bad boy, the most known and most spoken of. Carbon Dioxide is produced when burning fuel. Feeding the animals, slaughtering them, processing the meat, but also the related transport of feed, animals and meat and finally the storing of meat needs energy.
Also… Giving up beef will reduce carbon footprint more than cars, yup.
– Methane
is a real problem here. Sorry what? What is methane anyway?
Weeeeelll animals poop (tadaaa) and they fart as well. (unicorns would too if they’d exist, it’d just look like a rainbow because unicorns are awesome, but I digress)
All that pooping and farting comes with a specific gaz : methane, which is created when digesting food.
All well and good you might say, but humans do as well. This is true enough but 1 cow produce 120 Kg of methane per year when a human only produces 0,12 Kg.
Methane traps heat 20 times better than Carbon Dioxyde CO2, thus placing meat production as the number one cause of global warming… (aaaand a huge round of applaaaauuuuse!! ahem…)
– Nitrus Oxide
The meat and animal production produce 65% of all Nitrus Oxide emissions on the world through manure and urine and although the fertilizers used in their feed.
That gaz traps heat 300 times better than CO2
Yes… no wonder the UN wishes the world to go vegan.

3. Water
Did you see Mad Max : Fury Road? Water there is scarce and thus power. This is already the case in some parts of the world, and if we don’t change a thing, that fiction might not be as fictional in a couple of years.
The US have suffered from water drought this year, meat production is not innocent in that matter.
To get an idea :
To produce 1 Kg of meat, you need 15.400 L of water
The production of 1 Kg of wheat or potatoes needs 1.000 L of water
Oh and while we’re at it… chocolate is pretty bad too, requiring a whooping 17.000L of water to produce just one Kg. Yikes, right?
The water we eat
Why care about your water footprint?

And I haven’t even touched pollution, ethics and health yet…
Did I forget something? Comment below and add to the discussion.

Conclusion : reduce your intake of meat (especially beef), eggs and dairy products.

For a starter, check out these vegan recipes :

Hooray for Veggies Burgers, Stéphanie Kilgast
Meat-out, a selection of vegan recipes

I actually have so much more to talk about vegetarianism, veganism and what not. I’m reading and watching so many different things right now regarding the most eco way to live while still enjoying life (and being healthy) and I wonder if and how to bring it to you.
So yeah this is just a baby step toward the twist in my work, following the twist that happened in my life.

Stay healthy
p.s.: une traduction en français? oui j’y songe, cette fois-ci elle a une importance.


Visual graphs :
Veganism and the Environment
Facts & Graphs about Food Production
Food Math

Read more
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN : Livestock a major threat to environment (2006)
FAO : Livestock’s Long Shadow
Stanford : Consequences of increased global meat consumption on the global environment — trade in virtual water, energy & nutrients
How Sustainable Agriculture Can Address the Environmental and Human Health Harms of Industrial Agriculture
The Guardian : We’re Eating too much Meat (2012) : Is the Livestock Industry Destroying the Planet?
BBC : The Methane Makers

How does eating meat harm the environment?
Meat and the Environment
Is Meat Sustainable?
10 Scary Facts About Meat and the Environment
How Does Meat in the Diet Take an Environmental Toll?

Food Waste
5 Ways Wasting Food Hurts the Environment (and 5 Ways You Can Fix It)

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