More than ever, people are choosing to go vegetarian or vegan, whether for health issues, personal preference, religious beliefs, or environmental sustainability.
For those that want to do their part in bettering the environment, is vegetarianism the reasonable answer, though?
Short answer: Not necessarily.
Short explanation: In the US, 42 percent of agricultural emissions come from animal agriculture, but two-thirds of those gases are emitted by ruminants: animals like cows who produce methane, a greenhouse gas over 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
So what’s both an effective and practical way to save the Earth? Reduce your meat intake; specifically beef and dairy products.
Here are 3 tips in altering your diet to contribute to a healthier planet and a healthier you:
- Meatless Mondays
Choosing to eat meatless just one day a week is a great place to start. People have been practicing this since World War II, but today it’s more relevant than ever. If everyone reduced their meat intake by 25%, we’d save about 82 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
- Try out an Impossible burger or other beef alternative
To put it in perspective, putting one serving of beef on the table produces 330 grams of carbon emissions, one serving of chicken produces 53 grams, or about 1/6 as much. Compare that to fish, which produces 40 grams, and you’re doing even better. Go all the way down to veggies at 14 grams and lentils at 2 grams per serving and you can start to see the real on-paper difference between what we eat and what we could be eating.
- Choose Dairy Free Milk
With so many dairy alternatives like almond, soy, coconut and rice, it’s easy and tasty to switch to a plant based option.
If going vegetarian or vegan works for you, better yet! But by even following just one of these simple solutions, you’re contributing to a more sustainable future for our planet.
By: Sarah Powell