Utthita Parsvakonasana

Photo: Meat aisle, The Fresh Grocer, Wyncote, PA

The production of meat contributes greatly to the production of greenhouse gas emissions. Numerous studies cite meat production as being more detrimental to emissions than all forms of transportation combined, yet people seem to think that transportation is the bigger issue.¹ Mitigating global warming is often thought to only involve emissions from factories and cars, but recent analysis has shown that it will be impossible to keep temperature increases limited to 2 degrees Celsius or lower without decreasing meat and dairy consumption.² The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has even suggested that dietary change can lead to improved emissions levels.³

Meat production creates emissions both through the enteric fermentation of manure and land use change accompanying farming.Estimates put the contribution of animal agriculture anywhere between 10-25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture often results in deforestation and use of chemical fertilizers which result in such a large share of emissions being created.4 Furthermore, livestock are widely attributed to increases in acid rain production due to the high amount of ammonia emissions they produce, giving the practice the potential to further harm surrounding ecosystems.4

In the UK, a study modelling eating patterns predicts that a 50 percent reduction in meat consumption would lead to a 19 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.5 Such findings illustrate the immense benefits that could be obtained by simply switching to a plant based diet.

If you’d like to switch to a plant-based diet, here are a few resources with great info and tasty recipes:

Source information:
1. Our World – Eating Less Meat Essential to Curb Climate Change. Online at https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/eating-less-meat-essential-to-curb-climate-change-says-report
2. Chatham House – Livestock – Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector: Global Public Opinion on Meat and Dairy Consumption. Online at https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/livestock-climate-change-forgotten-sector-global-public-opinion-meat-and-dairy
3. The Guardian – IPCC: rapid carbon emission cuts vital to stop severe impact of climate change. Online at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/02/rapid-carbon-emission-cuts-severe-impact-climate-change-ipcc-report
4. United Nations Environment Programme – Growing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Due to Meat Production. Online at https://na.unep.net/geas/getuneppagewitharticleidscript.php?article_id=92
5. Scarborough P, Allender S, Clarke D, Wickramasinghe K,and Rayner M. (2012) Modelling the health impact of environmentally sustainable dietary scenarios in the UK. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
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