Friday, September 12, 2008

Time Magazine: Vegetarian diet "the greenest lifestyle change you can make"

Following the UN's announcement this week that people ought to "give up meat for one day per week" to help fight climate change (the meat industry accounts for 18 percent o greenhouse gas emissions while transportation accounts for 13 percent), Time magazine pulled together some supporting facts and made some pretty bold statements.

The article blames rising demand for meat (pork consumption was up 900 percent in China this year) for everything from rising grain prices (which you may not care about, but
people around the world are dying because of) to the rise of heart disease in developing nations. To environmental degradation ("industrial feedlots… bleed antibiotics and other noxious chemicals") and, of course, climate change.

All of that combined led time to suggest switching to a vegetarian diet "is one of the greenest lifestyle changes you can make as an individual."

The biggest problem with rising meat consumption (global demand is currently at 280 million tons, but will double by 2050) is people wiping out forests, precious forests, to make way for grazing animals. It's madness. You're replacing forests (which pull CO2, a greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere) with animals that release powerful greenhouse gasses. Animal waste releases nitrous oxide (which has 296-times the global warming impact as CO2) and animals themselves (through burps and flatulence) release methane (which has 23-times the impact of CO2).

In Latin America alone, 70 percent of forests have been torched (which also
releases a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere) to make way for animal grazing.

Just as
a very provocative piece from the NY Times explained earlier this year, eating meat isn't evil. It's the way we go about doing it. "Unless you intend to hunt wild buffalo and boar, there's really no green way to get meat," said the Time piece.

Learn more about the connection between meat and lots of bad stuff.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.