Friday, February 13, 2009

More reasons a vegetarian diet is easier on the planet

Pop quiz. What's worse for the environment? Your diet or your driving? According to a New Scientist report, "our diets account for up to twice as many greenhouse emissions (8.1 tons) as driving (4.4 tons).

One way to green your diet is to, um, eat more greens.

Vegetarian vs. the Typical American Diet: A vegetarian diet saves 1.5 tons of CO2.

Farms are bad for the environment too, right? Yes. Pound360 (we're reluctant vegetarians) has heard this from friends before. "You think you're so smart, well, your food comes from a farm that ravages the environment, too." Yeah, but "Producing animal meat is incredibly inefficient. Only 5 to 25 per cent of the nutrients are converted into meat." Pound360 isn't sure how much of the calories from an acre of, say, broccoli, makes it to dinner plates. But we bet it's at least double what you get from animals.

Yeah, but I only eat free-range, grass-fed beef. Good for you. Good. "Grass-fed cows produce less milk and meat than their grain-fed counterparts… higher-quality feed like corn builds a more productive cow that yields more meat and milk and produces less methane."

Oh, well, I only eat organic. Great. "Organic poultry requires 10 per cent more energy than battery-farmed poultry… organically farmed salmon were responsible for up to 30 per cent more greenhouse emissions than conventionally farmed fish."

If you absolutely must eat meat, go for chicken…

Chicken vs. Pork vs. Beef: The cow loses. About a four pounds of grain are needed to make one pound of chicken. Twelve pounds of grain go into a pound of pork. And for a pound of beef you need 25 pounds of grain and 60 pounds of forage. Cows belch methane (a nasty greenhouse gas) and their manure releases nitrous oxide (another greenhouse gas).

(image by
computix via Flickr)

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About Me

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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.